Marie Osmond is performing at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. I was fortunate to have seen her and her brother Donny perform late last year. Marie and Donny work well together and their personality and kindness seem to come across to the audience.
I was very sad to hear that Marie Osmond’s son who was 18 had committed suicide. Marie’s son was suffering from long term depression. Whether a child is adopted or not – depression can occur. When a child is depressed it will feel longer then it does for any adult, when that depression is over a few years that will seem like a life-time to a child. Time has a different frame-work for the young. The 18 year old will not have a resource of possible ‘good times’ to build upon as an older adult will have. The more resources and ‘good times’ we can build into our memories the better.
Depression does happen in children too and can have organic origins. Not all brains produce all the right amounts of the right chemicals. It is a myth that depression only occurs in the old. The young have it too and suffer from it too. Just because they are a child their pain is not a small child’s pain. The pain of depression for them can be great.
It is very common for people who have decided to kill themselves to suddenly be ‘happy’. The decision itself makes them happy and they often go about their normal activities before carrying out their planned ending. Often those who are left alive feel the guilt. They feel they should have seen the signs, they should have known about it. The truth is that it is difficult to know.
Sometimes it is reasons of abuse, events that have occurred in their lives or just some organic reason they were born with but most important is to try and work and keep trying for the child. 18 is a young age and although technically an adult in some countries is still a child in many aspects of their behaviour. It is advisable for both the child and the parent to have Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help them both in this difficult time to work things out. CBT works on the principle that it is our thoughts which seem to determine so much of our focus and our attentional bias. It will still be a battle but one that is advisable to try. Marie Osmond’s son had been to rehab and rehab would have worked with him on his thoughts and approach to life. A depressed person will focus on the negative very naturally and will need help in directing their thoughts. It is still a hard battle. A child does not have as many good past experiences to help them in their thoughts as an adult would and therefore the line is tricky. Death is so much more attractive to a child. Children often really believe they will be coming back. Marie Osmond’s son most likely believed as many who are very depressed and suicidal – that he was only alleviating the pain he felt. He most likely did not realise it was permanent. Many people feel they can come back again when they are in the midst of wanting to kill themselves.
I am deeply sorry for her loss and wish her all the strength and courage to help her and her family in this tough time. I was once told children are not ours; they are a gift from god and are on loan. Every time you look at your child or someone else’s child look at the gift of the moment.