Friday, December 20th, 2013
My morning Facebook check made me shaky and teary today. My friends in the young adult novel writing community were mourning the unconfirmed death of the talented author Ned Vizzini. He was the prodigy who wrote the bestselling YA novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story that also became a movie. His other teen books include Be More Chill, The Other Normals, Teen Angst… Nah and House of Secrets. I looked forward to his humorous essays in the New York Times, and I was happy to hear he had a seemingly great career writing for TV.
The rumor is now confirmed. Ned Vizzini is dead at 32 of an apparent suicide after jumping off the roof of his parents’ Brooklyn home. He was 32 and survived by his brother, wife and son.
I didn’t know him personally, but our paths crossed at young adult panels back when I was a hyperactive Scholastic author. I thought he was wicked funny, and honestly, I was totally jealous of him. He was a super talented overnight success. He was totally deserving. I just wish I had a little more of what he had.
Today I feel sad. I have dealt with depression and anxiety for years. I understand its depths and suffering. But I have never been so far down that dark hole that I attempted suicide. I just wish Ned–and others–could find peace in another way. I hope today his suffering has ended. I hope others do not judge him. My thoughts are with him and his family.
Here’s a haunting quote from the touching book, It’s Kind of a Funny Story:
“Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”
and one more to leave you with:
“Things to do today:
1) Breathe in.
2) Breathe out.”
Rest in sweet peace, Ned Vizzinni.
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Be More Chill, death, House of Secrets, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzinni, suicide, Teen Angst... Nah, The Other Normals | Categories:
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Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and one mom has written a memoir in the hopes that her story will save someone else’s child or loved one. Her son, Tim Schenke, committed suicide at age 18 in 2008 when he stepped in front of a moving train. The boy suffered from depression but was highly functioning at school as a student and an athlete. Of course, his mother, Lisa Schenke, wishes she had noticed more and done more. That’s why she wrote Without Tim. She’s spent years healing from her devastation and giving advice to other parents. Sadly, her son was one in 10 kids who committed suicide in Southern Monmouth County, New Jersey, in a four year period. The area reeled from sadness. This is her story.
Through writing and reaching out, Lisa has slowly started to pick up the pieces of her life. She had to–she has other children to love and protect. Here’s what she has to say about her new book, Without Tim.
KK: September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day (and September is Suicide Prevention Month). How are you bringing awareness and changing families by sharing your son’s story?
LS: I am truly grateful that suicide prevention is getting more and more attention each year. The takeaway message from the awareness campaign is: Suicide IS preventable. I feel that the idea of a particular day/month continues to raise awareness and that is very important because it spreads information about the warning signs and treatment options, and helps decrease the stigma surrounding suicide.
KK: Is there a checklist you would like to share with parents on the signs of mental health issues in their children? What do you now know about the important “TO DOs” about depressed children?
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LS: As a mom and parent, I would recommend trying to stay as positive as possible — i.e. continue to reinforce that everything will be ok, that you are there for them, that things will get better. Sometimes when I was under stress, I don’t think I stayed as positive as I would have liked to be. It’s hard. Try to help your child understand that it’s ok to have fears and insecurities and that there is a way to get to a better place. Try to remain calm and patient; something I wish I would have been better at. (more…)