CHICAGO (CBS) — What should you do if you suspect your teenager might be thinking about suicide? One Lake Forest mother ended up doing the right thing and her daughter is alive and happy now.
Chicago’s North Shore suburbs are beautiful and affluent. But there are secrets here: teenage suicides. Within the past year there were four in Lake Forest alone.
Alexis Fritkin of Lake Forest narrowly escaped being another.
She says she remembers when she was considering taking her own life. “Yeah, that was the time I was most fearful,” she says.
Fearful of what?
“Myself,” was her answer.
It all began with an anxiety attack when she was 15. A doctor then prescribed a dozen different drugs, all at once.
Her mother, Kimberly Fritkin, ticked off the drugs: “Two different ADD medications, Valium, medications for anxiety, to sleep. She was on 3 different anti- depressants at the same time.”
She says Alexis then descended into a suicidal state.
“I would sleep with her. She would be curled up into a ball, crying, begging me to help her take the pain away,” Kimberly says. “What do you do as a parent when you can’t help your own child?”
“I was fearful of my own life,” Alexis says. “I was going to bed scared of myself because I didn’t know what I would do when I was blacked out or in a rage.”
Her mother was finally able to help her daughter by getting help from a parent support group that helps parents understand teen depression. She got her daughter off all those drugs.
“When I was so close to taking my own life, that’s when I thought about my family. And if it weren’t for my Mom, I would not be here today,” Alexis says. “I feel like it made me a stronger person because now I’m able to take my experiences and help others.”
Experts say that if you suspect your teen may be severely depressed or may try to harm themselves, don’t be afraid to ask about it. It should be a genuine, loving gesture. And don’t feel embarrassed to seek the advice of a psychiatrist, psychologist, your family clergyman or a teen treatment facility.
This may be a life and death matter.
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