A story from my son

I have hinted that something has not been right in our world for the past couple of weeks and I am hoping that the following story from my son will shed some light on this.
I asked my son to write this and he has willingly done so. He has asked that I edit it however I have edited it only to make it a little easier to read. These are his words and they are from the heart.

Just 3 weeks ago I sat on my Couch thinking of ending my life…. I was over it, not because I had a bad life, because I didn’t, but because my brain was telling me to… I fought it and fought it. My wife got home and we went to bed, where I lay awake until 3am. Just lying there.  The room black and my wife asleep.

I got up. I went to the kitchen and I was ready to end my life. I Had everything I needed right in front of me. I was upset. I don’t know why, but I was! I started to Sob and I found myself taking tablets to begin. Tablets to make it easier. Not a lot, but hoping they would calm my nerves…. But they didn’t…. I had a friend who I contacted from the USA and I said Goodbye to him, and he immediately clued in and stopped me, if it wasn’t for this Man, I wouldn’t be here today.

I went back to bed. The tablets I took knocked me out and I slept. After lying for only a few more hours, I got up, dressed roughly and forced myself to travel into the city for a meeting. I arrived, but all I could think about was hopelessness. I left straight after the meeting, un-characteristic to who I normally was. I was standing on the train platform thinking how easy it’d be to jump in front of a train…. I didn’t…. (Note from Sue: During this train trip my son was messaging me and telling me that he wanted to throw himself on the tracks. I kept the phone beside me for the next 24 hours).

On the train I argued with myself, over and over and over and over again! I was so upset, I would think of hurting or killing myself, then moments later would change my mind and realise how stupid I was, which would then barrel into these thoughts again. I received an email from a friend, also from the USA and also who I sent prior to then a goodbye email. He didn’t realise the situation and he was apologising for not getting back to me sooner…. He forced me to promise one step at a time… Over and Over again to promise to get to the station, then to get to the doctors etc…. Again, if it wasn’t for this Man, I wouldn’t be here today…

But I got to the doctors, and now I am here. Alive…. I wont go through what happened after that, but I will go through my thoughts of the past few days.

I have been listening to a book. ‘The Fault in our Stars’ By John Green. About a girls battle with Cancer and her lover who she meets in the book and there love for each other, but never forgetting that she is dying. I listened to the whole 7 hours long book very quickly. It goes on to say how her boyfriend’s cancer which was in remission comes back and then he dies.

Why has this book had such an impact on me. Why had this book created such a feeling in my heart. Because these characters had received a death sentence. A death sentence that, they could do nothing about. Regardless of how good there life was, there was no options for them, other than to possibly try and extend there life. This sounds sadistic for this to give me a positive feeling. I, (whilst arguably I still to this day say I didn’t), do have some sort of control over my life. To live or die, it is in my hands. Where these two lovers had nothing. They just had to live every day like it was there last, right up until the day it… well…was there last.

My thoughts pondering the book make me sad, I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to stay engrossed in there lives, however sad, because for a moment there sad lives made me feel good. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t just sit there and stay in there life, no matter how much I wanted to.  I have to live my own. Some people have a choice to live or die, whether you choose to live or die is in your hands and right where it needs to be. And am I mentally stable to a point where I am my old self? No! Far from it! However, I am learning to FIGHT this sickness. It can only kill me if I let it. I am my own person and I daily remind myself of that. It can control my moods and emotions (for now) but it can not kill me, unless I let it.

Please, PLEASE look for signs in people… Find things that may be uncharacteristic of a person.
Like I said above, there are 2 pivotal people who saved my life because they read the signs. Take time to remind people they are loved and that they are cared for… Take time to confront people if you need to. To ask them if they are thinking of hurting themselves. Research and find out the many signs that can give it away. You too could be a life saver…. You too could be someones hero…

 

This was difficult for me to read. I lived most of this with my son from the day following his attempted overdose until his eventual admission to a psychiatric hospital and the days following. I watched the effect of the medications given to him by the staff of the hospital upon his body and saw the results of the side effects (including psychosis and self harm). I spent days with a son that I did not recognise but I knew that he was still in there under that fog.
Now he is home.
He is doing his best each day to look forward to the rest of his life. A life that includes his beautiful wife and coming child.
In the past 24 hours I  had a conversation with him in which I heard him laugh as he talked about his wife’s ultrasound and seeing his baby. My heart was gladdened.

I know he is finding all this hard because he wants to be the ‘old’ him once again and get better. When I was discussing this with my oldest daughter the other day her reply was “Mum, you aren’t better. I’m not better. I’m sure that (the GG) isn’t better. What we have learned is how to live a new kind of normal and one day he will realise that also.”
And she is right.
Our new normal includes looking for the beauty in the every day and being grateful for the blessings in our lives. It includes eating well and looking after ourselves. But most of all our new ‘normal’ includes being aware of and responding to those we love in a whole new way.

On the day that Robin Williams ended his life, my son called me from the hospital and told me. He (and others in the unit) were incredibly shocked and saddened that someone who appeared to have it all together (unlike them they believed) committed suicide. I haven’t written about Robin Williams’ death because quite frankly it hit a little close to home.
If any good has come from this tragic event it is that people are now talking openly about depression and suicide.
It is my hope that this letter from my son will also help others to look for the warning signs in their loved ones.

Blessings to you all.

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63 thoughts on “A story from my son

  1. this is very powerful, and it must have been beyond challenging for all of you. i’m happy your son was helped in time, and the beauty in life felt by him again. hugs )

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    1. He is feeling the beauty once more however he is far from well right now. The difference between then and now is that he now knows just how large his support network is and that he can contact any number of people at any time of the night or day. That is a blessing. 🙂 Thanks for the hugs.

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  2. I feel for you Sue, my brother-in-law was successful in ending his own life 5 years ago. The anniversary was actually the day after Robin Williams ended his, so that was a very difficult time for all of us. We had to hear all about over and over again all day. Hopefully your son can get the (on going) help that he needs, unfortunately Max’s depression was so bad he couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and he did what he thought was best for everyone and ended the suffering.

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    1. Judy, I am so terribly sorry to hear of your loss. I understand exactly how Max felt that the world would be better off without him. Depression lies to the mind in that way and it truly is tragic that it does so.
      My son is getting help. It is an evolving process. However now that we are aware exactly what is going on with him many of us are now more vigilant than before.

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    1. You know my daughter also struggles with depression however she has emerged stronger for her struggles. Like you, it is my son that worries me. I think it is a blessing (if you can call depression a blessing) that many in our family have suffered before this. It means that we can understand exactly how he feels and support him.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue, my prayers and thoughts for you and especially your sons and his wife and coming child. My uncle committed suicide and the shock and pain, so many years later are still with everyone.
    There are no easy answers , as you know, but I will keep you all in my prayers. “One day at a time”, all we can ask at times.
    Blessings, Susan x

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    1. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts Susan. They are much appreciated. I believe there are many, many families out there who have been touched by suicide in some way. It is tragic.

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  4. Such a powerful and honest message, one we all need to read. Thank you for the strength to share it. I send my warmest thoughts to you, your son, and your family.

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    1. Thank you Cindi.
      I believe the more people talk about depression, the less the stigma attached to it will be. It’s such a shame that people are able to talk about other diseases quite openly but when someone mentions mental illness, it becomes a taboo subject.

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  5. OMG Sue my thoughts are with you, your family and especially your son. Thanks for sharing such a personal time in the hopes of making people aware. I am now AWARE and will not take lightly if I feel something is amiss with someone. All my warmest heartfelt wishes and hopes for a great future go to your son and his family.

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  6. It’s a tough task ahead for all of you Suz. To be honest here and from experience I don’t think depression/anxiety can be totally cured. It’s how the person handles their thoughts and feelings after treatment. It’s the positive self talk, the taking charge of your feelings, communicating with others about those feelings (hard for men) trying to feel good about life and your place in it. I know from experience that you can make an attempt and not be aware of what you’re doing, that’s scary. It keeps the whole family on their toes Suz and for quite a while no one is going to sleep easy. There’s a fine balance between being concerned about a person’s mental health and constantly asking them if they’re okay. I guess the whole thing’s like a tightrope walk.
    Laurie.

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    1. Thanks Laurie.
      I know exactly what you mean by never really being cured. That is what my daughter meant when she said that we learn to live a new kind of normal.
      My son speaks about the times he has self harmed (and the suicide attempt) as him not being able to control what his body does whilst his mind is screaming at him to stop. I agree it is quite scary.
      Thanks for your words and encouragement.

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    1. Thank you.
      I guess it must be courageous but we really wanted to share this as a way of letting people know what goes on in the mind of someone suffering depression and thinking of suicide. It is difficult.
      I know from personal experience that it can be overcome but it will be a long road.
      Thank you for your good wishes and blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing this and allowing us to witness the struggle. I was speaking with a friend yesterday who told me she had planned her suicide a few years ago. She spoke of a San Francisco police officer who visits people who survived their jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. He said that in all but one case, the initial thought as they step from the railing is “I don’t want to die.”

    Strength and safety to you and your son.

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    1. Many who attempt suicide (I have even planned mine out) do so in the mistaken belief that they are doing the best thing for their families. It is a tragedy that the mind can do this.
      I have read of this police officer before. He sounds quite a remarkable man.
      I thank you for your kind thoughts and wishes.

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    1. Thank you Stephen. It was difficult to write and many tears were shed however if even one person can help another through what we have written then this post has been worth it.

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  8. Thank you–to your son–for sharing your fight with us. Sometimes, I think some of the strongest people are those who suffer from mental illness. While depression overwhelms some and they see no other option, there are those of us who will fight no matter what. It takes strength to reach out to a friend, and have that friend recognize your struggle. I have always felt as if I wanted a cure. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered there is no cure. Just as you said, Sue, life becomes a new normal. We have to be a bit more vigilant with our health–physically and mentally. Life can be well lived with joy and managed depression. Best wishes to your family.

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    1. Thank you April. I will make sure that my son reads these comments. I know that you know exactly how he is feeling and what it is to live a life with a mental illness. You are such a strong woman April and he could have no better example than you to follow. ❤

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  9. Suz, I hope that you and your son are granted the strength to make it through this journey and each day. I agree with you about Robin Williams ~ I hope that the collective consciousness does not push it under the rug and realizes the extent of depression’s long tentacles to 350 million people around the world. Each person is a part of a large group but so alone in the worst moments imaginable. You and your son are brave and thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you my dear. Your comments are very much appreciated.
      I believe that my son will grow stronger although he still has a long way to go. He has a purpose in this life and in time he will find that purpose and go on to make a difference in the lives of others.

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    1. Yes, being a mother is difficult. I think it becomes more difficult when the children grow up and become adults. lol However we will get through this. Thank you for lovely words and the virtual hugs.

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      1. You are welcome. A little support goes a long way. We all need some from time to time however you did deflate my balloon by telling me parenting is worse when kids are adults. Geez….so,etching to look forward to 😉

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        1. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that to you.
          However I have found that it is far easier to parent a toddler than an adult some days. 🙂 I hope your teens grow to adulthood and never give you a moment’s worry.

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  10. Sue, My thoughts and prayers have been with you all since day 1, his courage in writing this down I am sure will be a great help to many people himself included. Family are very important and no matter how old our children are as mothers we are always there for them. Thank you for going to be with him and his 2 sisters as well, it is at times like this that we need the support of those who loves us dearly. I am confident that with God’s help he will become stronger every day and his lovely wife by his side. Love you all. Beryl.

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Beryl. And thank you also for being there for him as well as he goes through all this. As you know he still has a long way to go but the sooner we get him back here with us the easier it will become for him. Much love to you also.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your family’s struggle at this time. I am in a psych. hospital now having being admitted two weeks ago. I was trying to get my doctor to discharge me this weekend as I have planned my end for this coming Wednesday.
    Reading your post broke down the facade I was trying to keep up, not too sucussfully though. I cried and cried when I saw my psch. yesterday morning, I told him I had read your post and admitted full details of my plan. He did know that I was having thoughts and making plans but not the details. He is a wonderful doctor and picks up the slightest comment or facial expression.
    So I am staying here for at least another week. I usually have around four admissions per year, it has been along seventeen years. I am still here but as to why that is another journey.
    My thoughts are with all of your family

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    1. Thank you Katie for letting us know this. It must be a very confusing time for you right now but I am so very pleased that you were honest with your psych and able to get some help.
      Struggling with depression and any form of mental illness is hard but we are survivors. All of us. You, me, my son, the rest of my family. We just need to realise that we are here for a reason and adjust our lives to live our ‘new kind of normal’. Because we are normal. We are real and living human beings just like everyone else but we have our brains wired a little differently.
      Katie, you are precious and you are loved. Please know that and take the time to tell yourself each day.
      And don’t hesitate to drop me a line on my blog at any time. Just as your thoughts are with our family, my thoughts are with you and yours.
      Blessings to you. Be strong. Be safe. ❤

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      1. The only way out is up…. And trying not to fall on your way up there…

        What you may find is people you never dreamt of in your wildest dreams coming out of the shadows and opening up to you. Also people offering assistance… It’s crazy…

        The love of those close to you, that you felt was surreal becomes real!

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  12. Somehow, we must find a way to dispel depression’s invisibility and shame, even to the point of near-death or worse. So commonly, like your son, people think lethal thoughts, plan, struggle, all while others watch, oblivious. It seems we depressed are some talented chamelions. If only it didn’t seem so necessary to bear these burdens alone, to hide them so. If others on average were more receptive and comfortable, if these topics were more out in the open and commonplace, perhaps more of us would save ourselves by reaching out. Folks must learn to talk about such things comfortably, all of us, as depression is so common as to enter everyone’s lives directly or indirectly. We can save lives with little effort, really, a few words, a little support, keeping someone safe until someone else takes over. Not so much, to make such a huge difference. Until our cultures change, our values, many, far too many, will suffer alone, and many more die every day. Your post helps in this regard, and you should be proud of it.

    Also, I wish your son well. I’ve been depressed and suicidal more than once, and for some years now life has been rather good, really. It got better because I and others worked on it a bit, and because I survived the bad times. I’ve seen many, many people recover quite nicely from severe depression: no cures, not yet, but folks see lots of good years.

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    1. I believe that those of us who suffer depression are extremely skilled actors (or chameleons as you said). I too wish for a day when depression can be discussed openly and honestly and treated as the insidious mental condition that it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Every day is a new day and every new day is a win. We have no choice but to fight to see each day as an improvement on the last and the kind of day that ‘normal’ people see rather than the tinged around the edges kind of day we see.
    I hope your son recovers Sue and enjoys his new baby.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  14. A very heavy writing Sue, it bought home to me the need I have to keep an eye on one of my children, he has bipolar and suffers from highs and lows.
    Your son is fortunate in a number of aspects, his friend overseas and a caring mother.
    I wish your family much happiness and may you all find contentment.
    Regards
    Ian

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    1. I am sorry to hear about your son. One of the initial thoughts was that my son may be bipolar. They are treating him with bipolar drugs. However, I don’t think they have given him a definitive diagnosis yet. It is a day by day thing.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

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      1. They have changed my drugs recently to be more BIPOLAR related, to see if things improve, if they do a little its a successful diagnosis or Bipolar. They are attempting this now. :-S
        Good Luck with you Son and thank you for your thoughts

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