Who’d have thought my child’s worst enemy was in his own head?


Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

I protected my child from cars in the street. I worried when he got sick and ran a high fever. I feared he’d die in a car accident, get childhood cancer or be abducted.

I worried about a drug overdose, a drowning or even a shooting.

It never occurred to me that my child’s worst enemy was in his own head. That his brain would betray him like it did. Tell him he was worthless and convince him he’d be better off dead.

I just couldn’t imagine it, fathom it or wrap my head around it. Until I had to.

I never expected that blonde headed bundle of toddler energy and fun to grow up and suffer from depression. Then addiction. As a teen, he was so funny, engaging and charming. So loved.

We saw changes in middle school. I tried to figure out what it was and how to help him. We worked tirelessly on it in a system that is both frustrating and fractured. His sleep disorder kept getting worse and as a result the mental illness got worse. As did his drug use once he got to high school.

It’s so hard to completely change how you think of your child from what you’ve always known him to be.

Sitting in that police car the day we found out he died, Randy asks, “How did he die?” I’m thinking it’s a crazy question– absolutely sure it’s an overdose. When the policeman said, “He killed himself,” I didn’t process the information as quickly as my husband did. I stared and it took me a few seconds to understand. It’s like it didn’t penetrate my head and when it did, my world collapsed. The shock and grief hitting me like a dagger to the heart.

Why didn’t suicide occur to me? Never once did it dawn on me that he’d do what he did. I had had thoughts about possible suicide many years prior. But after seeing his reaction to a friend who attempted, I thought we were safe from it. He truly detested it. Was angry even.

There’s not a lot of discussion about suicide and the opiate epidemic despite the number of recovering addicts that will tell you they wanted to end their lives when using or withdrawing.

Charles suffered from depression. He was addicted to heroin. I know now that those two are an ideal combination for a suicide.

Funny how my own brain deceived me and didn’t allow me to even consider what is now obvious.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

4 thoughts on “Who’d have thought my child’s worst enemy was in his own head?”

  1. I was shocked yesterday by how many of my “friends” flat out refused, some angrily, to “talk about school shootings,” like they were just more bad politics. I guess it’s because to most, it’s an unimaginable horror which couldn’t possibly include forethought or predictability. Yet there are predictors and telltales to every future behavior; it’s just that, like you said, Anne Moss, we’re too lazy to see it for what it is and treat or deal with it before it blows up in our faces. Thank you for your post. I shared it; it gives hope to those with the strength to look at it.

  2. Thank you Anne.
    I look forward to your posts everyday. I guess because, as you know, people get tired of hearing that you miss your child. So, you don’t talk about it as much. And, when you are feeling sad, you hide it so you don’t bother anyone.
    Not so here. Here you talk daily about your son, advocate for addicts, and for the illness that lead them to die, whether by suicide or overdose.
    I was telling my mother about your blog and she commented on how much a person must despise themselves and their choices to end their own life. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized if Daniel had not died by overdose, he very well could have ended his own life. I know he was in agony- he was a writer too and you could hear it in his writing. That brought a whole different perspective to me.
    My daughter-in-law wrote a song right after Daniel died, “Peace Finally” by Rebekah Brunson Rafferty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m19ROx8wYWc. I find comfort in knowing Daniel has peace, finally. I hope you find some comfort in knowing Charles has as well.
    Keep up the fight Anne!

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