Risky behavior – signs of suicide & assuming

Assuming your teen will react to common situations the same way you did when you were growing up

I would fish through my seventeen year old son’s truck when he didn’t know it and look for any evidence of party paraphernalia. I did find a couple beer cans in the bed of his truck- of which his dad, Tim, gave a stern talking to him about. I also found rolling papers and a hand size round contraption that I realized was a grinding device for marijuana. What was worse, I found an almost empty bottle of cough syrup with codeine.

In the weeks before finding that bottle of cough syrup, I received a call from Toby’s girlfriend. She was upset. I had just made it to visit our daughter, two hours away, and we were at a restaurant just getting ready to eat when the call came in. There was a lot of confusion during our conversation but at the root of the matter, she was trying to tell me but not in so many words, that Toby almost died. At least that’s what all the kids at the party thought. I didn’t find out a lot more about the incident until after Toby had passed. What it boiled down to was Toby had drank some “Lean.” I still don’t know exactly what was in the concoction but I faintly remember someone telling me he (and some friends) had looked it up on some social media site. He drank it and began to shake; he was having a seizure. The party stopped and everyone stared at him. Some of his friends led him to the couch and gave him a drink of water. On the phone that night I was going crazy but didn’t know what to do. His girlfriend didn’t make all the details clear and when I talked to Tim, he didn’t feel the need to go find him in the wee hours of the night, not even knowing where he was. We assumed he was okay enough and would sleep it off.

Toby made it through that close call and denied it was him that had the seizure, saying it was another kid. What could I do? I believed it was him but I only had to assume he wouldn’t do this again.

Risky behavior is a sign of suicide. (Lying is also considered a risky behavior.)  *Resources

Don’t assume your kid wouldn’t do something like this.

Don’t assume what your kids listen to and watch (and play on screen) doesn’t affect them.

Don’t assume peer pressure isn’t a thing anymore.

Assuming alcohol & marijuana use is no big deal

As far as partying goes, Tim and I both assumed Toby would be like we were back when we were teens. He would do it for a while, get past it and move on with life. It didn’t make us feel any better about going through it at the time but we just assumed everything would turn out okay.

Increased use of alcohol or drugs is a sign of suicide. *Resources

There is little doubt that antidepressants can lead to a craving for and increased consumption of alcohol. *Resources

Take drug and alcohol abuse seriously for each individual.

Assuming your teen will be acceptable of you sharing personal information with others

It was weeks before Toby’s last day when he was upset with me. I had shared some personal information about him with his girlfriend’s mom. Mistake number one. Her mom told her and she told Toby. When he confronted me, I told him that it was out of concern and that is how I solve problems, by talking about them. I meant what I said, I was very, very concerned about Toby. He was seventeen and having more and more problems come up. My attempt to stay on top of his problems backfired. He told me he would never tell me anything again. I didn’t really stop to consider that my son would react in the way he did. I must have assumed her mom wouldn’t tell and then assumed that Toby would be kosher with my sharing.

Take a person’s confidence seriously. Be trustworthy in keeping their word to yourself. If what they’re telling you is something that needs more people to help with (such as the person being suicidal), talk it out with the person. Let them know that you need to bring another person into this situation. Decide together. It is necessary to be open with your loved one, to build trust.

Assuming things at the doctor’s office. Very bad.

Toby had told me he was having E.D. – erectile dysfunction. The first thing I did was assume Toby had something seriously wrong with him, like cancer or something. Wrong move to assume a diagnosis. I took him to a general doctor we had never been to before. When the doctor said, “Let’s try Prozac,” I was stunned. Toby told him he wasn’t depressed. Since I had dealt with depression most of my life, I assumed Toby must have been. So, we assumed the doctor knew what he was talking about and assumed this new pill would help. Tim assumed Toby must be like me (depressed) even though he never showed it. He assumed this because a doctor said so. I also subconsciously assumed a doctor’s advice was the Only solution. I was persuaded to allow Toby to take the pill the doctor insisted was the solution to our problem. I was propelled in my train of thought by the doctor to solidify the idea that this drug was needed. I didn’t think of any other option (because my inquiry about St. John’s Wort was shot down by the doctor) (I did try this St. John’s Wort, and liked it because it worked! >not to be taken with certain other drugs<) as we left the office and headed to the pharmacy.

Also, and this is a hard one, assuming your child is telling the truth. Tim and I talked about how Toby may have wanted a prescription for Adderall and just said he had E.D. to get it. At the last doctor visit, he complained of not being able to focus; he wanted to go off the antidepressant. The doctor told him to stay on it for 6 more weeks, to the end of school and then he could quit it. The doctor then said to come back when we were ready to be evaluated for a drug for focus, such as Adderall. He also said we could try a less addicting drug if we thought Toby had an addictive nature. See *Resources for the Netflix documentary “Take Your Pills” and Havocscope- “Adderall use by college students” to learn more about the epidemic.

Having trouble focusing can also be a side effect of an antidepressant. *Resources

Lying qualifies as a risk-taking behavior.


Do not assume you can just stop taking an antidepressant cold turkey!

Tapering over months is recommended. Our doctor told us nothing about tapering and when Toby was missing doses, it was the cause of his death.

See this extremely important resource on antidepressant withdrawal:  https://www.letstalkwithdrawal.com/

Taking a loved one’s life for granted, when it could mean life or death, is an assumption you don’t want to make. Pay attention to all those prescription medication warnings.

Assuming someone is strong and a drug couldn’t possibly affect them in a harmful way, is being ignorant of natural bodily function and reaction.

Assuming prescription drugs are safe is negligence

of informing yourself of all risks associated with the drug.

Assuming prescription medications are not drugs is incorrect- the terms legal and illegal do not change the fact that they are all drugs. All drugs have “side” effects (Toby’s doctor stated this to us). All synthetic drugs are toxic at a certain level… Check out these *Resources. Moreover, this space is meant to focus on the psychotropic class of drugs, specifically antidepressants. All psychotropic drugs are neurotoxic. Originally called neuroleptics (antipsychotic drugs designation) because that infers that they are neurotoxic; brain disabling and can’t possibly cure anyone of a disorder. *Resources

Even Kid Rock, popular musician, as shocking and blunt as his language is, included the reference to America’s psychotropic drugging problem in his newest release, “We The People,” with the lyrics take your pills, now a whole generation’s mentally ill.

Assuming an antidepressant will balance your chemicals or are safe to take ‘off label’ is wrong. (prescribing for erectile dysfunction is ‘off label’) See:* Side Effect: Suicide *Resouces

This proved to be the worst assumption of our lives because that pill is what led to our son’s death.

Assuming God gave us these “medications” (antidepressants) is wrong.

An arguable statement but I go farther to say it is my belief that God does not intend for us to take something that causes thoughts of suicide (if even only One person- each life is from God) (which it happens to a Lot of people) And that Satan is all for a person to take it because it makes it much easier for him to work in that person’s mind.. After arguing with the doctor about whether Toby should take the Prozac or not, he gave me the usual pitch. He said, “I see you have ‘Women of Faith’ on your jacket. Don’t you believe God gave us doctors and medicines?” He eventually talked me into allowing Toby to take the drug.

In Billy Graham’s sermon – “The Devil and Demons- Dallas Tx 1971 – at minutes 5:24-5:33 he states, “..the demon of drugs. There’s a relationship between sorcery and witchcraft and drugs, according to the Bible.” On the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website, this answer is given in response to a question about marijuana-  it is never His will for us to abuse them (drugs) or allow them to be controlled by anything that alters our judgment or places us (and others) in danger. This is my interpretation (I’m sure the Billy Graham Association would not make a statement like this about antidepressants).   www.billygraham.org-It is never Gods will for us to use mind altering substances

Revelation 18:23  The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. Sorcery here in the Bible is pharmakeia, where we get the word pharmacy.

Assuming doctors “do no harm” as stated in the Hippocratic Oath: The “do no harm” isn’t even in the oath, per this Harvard article. *Resources  Antidepressants remain highly overprescribed (pharmaceutical companies public relations campaigns have been used to push antidepressants into the market) despite concerns about the efficacy and safety of long-term use. *Resources  Also, there is no such thing as an antidepressant according to UCLA Professor David Cohen, PhD *Resources

I am not against doctors or all medicines. I am focusing on what happened to our son, who died because of the antidepressant he was taking. I am presenting what I have learned since then as a reference for others to be aware of.

Don’t assume you need a synthetic chemical to get through a period of depression. A recent Cochrane review found no antidepressant had a clinically significant effect compared with placebo, leading the authors to question ‘whether they should be used at all,’ especially considering some antidepressants increased suicide risk compared with placebo in this population.” *Resources We are going to have times of depression. Hopefully you will explore all the different options other than a synthetic chemical toxin to combat it.

Assuming your child will “get over it”

Toby’s last day he told me about the fight he was in, over his girlfriend. Four things here:

1- He was tearful. This was unusual for him. I assumed he would get over their relationship issue/break up. Mood swings are a sign of suicide. They are also a sign of an antidepressant side effect.

2- He was telling me about his break up and I didn’t think at the time but this was a time to be watching for signs of suicide because of the antidepressant he was taking. Although the doctor didn’t emphasize it, he did talk to us about this very situation as being one to pay attention to because of being on the drug. As the situation was unfolding, I assumed Toby would be like his dad and I were when we were younger and go on to date other people. I thought, “Toby is such a good looking boy, he’ll have lots of girlfriends.” (But, I really hoped he would end up back with this girl). The pill never crossed my mind, until it was too late. Turmoil over a recent loss of a relationship is a trigger for thoughts of suicide and a sign. Thoughts of suicide are also a sign of a side effect of an antidepressant.

3- Toby was telling me about the fight. This was also out of character for him. He said he wanted to fight again; he was so mad. Hearing he wanted to fight again (I didn’t want that and gave him advice on what he needed to be focusing on instead) subconsciously told me “future-with him in it.” I wasn’t thinking anything at all about suicide at the time.  Agitation, showing rage or seeking revenge, extreme mood swings, and aggression are all signs of suicide and side effects of antidepressants. *Resources

4- Anxiety or agitation, feeling emotionally uneasy, dysphoria – feeling bad or depressed, difficulty sitting still; feeling the need to keep moving eg. pacing back and forth, difficulty sleeping, strange and unusual impulses, often of an aggressive nature- are all signs of akathisia (see: Side Effect: Suicide)

Assuming your (physically bigger than you) teen is mature

Fully grown.. a man… a woman. There are many times now, with our pre-teen, that I have to take a deep breath and tell myself, “Her brain is not fully developed yet”… (haha) but, it’s actually true. This article states the brain is not fully developed even well into the 40’s! *Resources

Furthermore, the brains of children and young adults are still growing, and all psychiatric drugs are neurotoxins that interfere with the normal maturation of the brain. We have no drugs to improve the functioning of the brain, only ways to harm it. -from Dr. Peter R. Breggin, author of the bestselling books, Toxic Psychiatry and Talking back to Prozac and reformer at breggin.com *Resources

Don’t assume your teen Won’t tell you anything

-if you ask personal questions of them. It’s always best to start having deep conversations with your child while they’re young (age appropriate of course but I assume you know that). It won’t be as awkward as starting when they’re already in their teens. Whenever you make time for heart to hearts, doing your best to stay calm and neutral, to keep the lines of communication flowing, is best.

You might assume they won’t tell the real truth of what is on their mind or what they’ve been up to. Keep trying; be available, and don’t assume they’re too old (or too young) to start making intimate conversations comfortable.

I will say, one thing you might go ahead and DO assume, is, if your child is on an antidepressant or other black box labeled drug, assume among the long list of “side” effects stated in the drug’s labeling, that, at least one of them will happen to your child. If your child has a negative effect that’s listed on the labeling, assume it is the drug. Read: Worst Pills, Best Pills: A Consumer’s Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Death or Illness (paperback) Watch that carefully, it is on the label because it has happened to other people.

For me, all these things I assumed, came natural. I let life go by at high speed; not giving pause where pause was needed. In all my assuming, I didn’t give attention to what was really important because I was subconsciously assuming everything was fine. I had no air of worry. I didn’t slow down to think, ponder, ask, inquire, investigate, or focus on the opposite of what I was assuming. What if he doesn’t “get over it” like I had? What if his tears meant more than what I thought? What if his pacing was more than just being upset? I didn’t study the side effects of the antidepressant he was taking because I knew I wouldn’t like it and we had made a decision to trust the doctor and trust the pill. In the end, I didn’t ask myself, What if he’s having a side effect of the pill?

My assuming was very costly. In reality, assuming was easier and quicker than taking the time and effort to ask the hard questions. There was no reason to think of suicide. That wasn’t even on my radar. There had never been a hint of that thought in our lives. As I was bee-bopping along in life with my family, there was no reason for me to think of suicide. Why would I want to think of something negative like that? My son was the apple of my eye and I would have done anything to save him. I didn’t intentionally disregard his plight or neglect him of aid(what I now know was a medical emergency). He didn’t tell me his thoughts of ending his life and maybe he didn’t make the decision until the very last minute? Hind sight is 20/20. It’s just the most cold hard reality. This is a call, really, to invest in a deeper relationship with your child. Learn from my grim mistakes and take the time.

Assuming we have time to “get right” with Jesus

“I will when I’m older and ready to slow down.”

One of the worst feelings in the world is to wonder about a loved one’s soul that has died. If you, yourself, have the thought enter your mind, “I wonder if I should read the Bible and see who this Jesus is?” do yourself a favor and say yes. Assuming you have time to reconcile your soul with God is never a good idea. Once you’re dead, it’s too late. No one can pray you into heaven then. You have to confess Jesus as Lord of your life while you’re here. Don’t wait. Assuming you are a good person and don’t need to go to church, read the Bible, or confess in front of people that Jesus is Lord (and live for God), is a wrong assumption.

When is it appropriate to assume something? Is assuming things ever appropriate?

Even if you’re wise about everything there is to be wise about, don’t assume everything will go as you plan…

And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again. Deut. 17:13

E-mail me with anything else I could have mentioned here, any comments or questions you have. Your input can help brighten the sometimes dark parenting path we are all forging. E-mail Not Happy 

Don’t assume, know the Truth – God can work through anything!

And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free John 8:32

I am not a doctor. This post is not to be taken as medical advice.

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash


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