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Does this look like someone who would kill himself?

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We think we can tell. From the outside. The truth is, teenagers are masters at hiding their depression. And their thoughts of suicide.

Nobody was funnier and more engaging. Charles always looked like he was having the time of his life. Yet inside, was another story. Inside he was eaten up with thoughts of suicide from middle school on.

I know because I have some of his rap lyrics that I call his rap diaries. They tell me things I didn’t know before. Sobering but a gift. It gives me insight. And not just insight about how Charles felt but I feel like a lot of it represents how others have felt, too. That’s why others loved his words so much because they expressed how he felt.

There are times these songs hail me as the best mom ever and other times he is angry with me. Or his Dad. We were not perfect. In the book I have finished (for now anyway) I didn’t edit his music nor did I take songs out that made me look bad. It’s all in there. Because the portrait has to include the things we did right and that we did wrong. And as a co-author, Charles needed to have his side presented, too.

Mostly, his songs revealed his darkness, self loathing and shame for having become addicted. And then some show an uncanny amount of self awareness.

One thing’s for sure. I didn’t see it coming. The suicide I mean. Because from the outside, Charles looked like he loved life.

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Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

2 thoughts on “Does this look like someone who would kill himself?”

  1. My son also, like yours, was funny and very talented. He killed himself in April this year (2020). No one would have thought he would ever do this. He is 33 and he has two little children, aged 9 and 11. I found him, in his garage. It was the worst moment of my life and I cannot even function normally on a daily basis now. I have PTSD and have not been back to work since that night. The night that changed my life forever. The night that my life fell apart and I no longer wanted to live. I’ve kept alive for my other children, two adult boys, my grandchildren, my mum and my sister. It’s a burden I carry every day, staying alive. I don’t want to be here, but I can’t put any of my loved ones through this torture again. I am so sorry for your loss and I’m glad you have been able to put your grief to some good, by helping others.
    At the moment I can’t face each waking day with any motivation at all. I need to go back to work for financial reasons, to keep a roof over our heads. I’m the only working person in my household. My youngest son lives with me. He’s 26 and has MH, substance abuse including cocaine and alcohol. For years I’ve been trying to keep him alive. My son that died, was perfect. He didn’t drink, take drugs, he had a good job and took his responsibilities seriously. He played guitar, had a great sense of humour. Then he died of a broken heart. He couldn’t live without his girlfriend, who left him during lockdown. Alone, depressed and during a time when everyone was supposed to stay home and not socialise with anyone, not even your own family. My boy did not want to die. He wanted his pain to stop. My life is ruined, his children’s lives are ruined, his brother’s lives are ruined, his nan’s life is ruined. He would never have wanted any of this, to hurt us like this. He could have got through it. Please, anyone out there who is thinking of ending your life, please, please don’t. You matter to someone and this way out, is not the way to end your pain, you just pass it to the people that love you, unconditionally. My son should not be dead. My life and that of our family should not be ruined. Talk to someone, anyone…but please choose life xx

    1. Karen. April is not long ago. The hurt and grief is so raw right now for you. I have been in that place. And it’s not unusual for a parent who has lost a child to suicide to want to die also. I hope you find some help for you. You need the support. My friend Gray says, “For the first two years I lived because I felt obligated to live.” And a year after her son’s suicide, my friend Christine said, “It’s been a year since my son’s suicide and I no longer want to die.” It is a difficult road. Please, please don’t do this alone. Find support. In fact, many support groups are virtual. I owned a company and also had to go back to work after one week. It was so brutal. If you let me know your city and state, I’ll come back and list the ones that are available in your area. I also co-host one and we’d love to have you.

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