When I started to write this journal or blog about my life following my son's suicide I anticipated being able to look back at it a year or two down the line and see some change. Not so. The pain and sadness is the same, the guilt perhaps more than it was then but I blame that partly on the shock that sets in for the longest time. When I talk of guilt, it isn't only in my own failures but at that time I should have been advocating far more. Let me tell you a little story though of the consequence of one of my attempts. I may have told this in an earlier blog. Michael had requested a Health Canada assessment. He knew he was in trouble, and as a federal employee, had been assured that the government helps take care of their own. Total fabrication. The government will ensure you get seen by someone....however, the accuracy of that diagnosis can be (and in Michael's case) WAS wrong. I requested a review but naturally the review board felt all proper procedures has been followed. I hadn't questioned that. I had questioned how they could come up with an incorrect diagnosis, totally disregarding reports by his own doctor who had know him his whole life....and this after 2 one hour visit. At any rate...that isn't what I wanted to tell you. I felt I had to tell this doctor how far off the mark she had been and had she identified Michael's illness he might possibly have found some help and maybe, just maybe might be alive. And I think I probably crossed the line by suggesting I hoped she liked herself because I certainly didn't. She immediately phoned my doctor to find out if she was safe....perhaps she did recognize the possibility of moody dysregulation after all.
Perhaps I shouldn't say that I've not made progress. I will now advocate on behalf of all who suffer for depression and other mood dysregulations. I will talk about my own battle with the mood demons, with self harming attempts, with risky choice making. I can forgive my mother for things that happened in our lives that we didn't understand.
Yesterday I was able to take some of my sons things which have been pack in trunks in the garage and rent a nice storage unit and move them there. I will do the same with his books and this is in preparation for selling this place. This is the house Michael hung himself in. Every time I walk in the front door I see that picture in my mind. I don't think we (my husband and I) can start to move forward by staying here. Each time we hear a neighbour running up the stairs we imagine the Michael is going to walk into our bedroom, much as he did the last three months of his life.
But the tears and the loneliness and the grief remain. I loved my son. He was really not much more than a boy when he first moved out...just 20....he didn't move far...but for a young man with borderline with bipolar tendencies or vice versa he moved to an atmosphere ideal for fostering good healthy emotional problems. Although he moved home a couple of times over the next 11 years, each time he was less strong, more emotionally beaten, less confident, more afraid of abandonment.
Borderline, bipolar and many other illnesses creep up on you. You find your behaviour changing...your ability to cope with certain things less than ideal and your reaction to circumstances sometimes (often) inappropriate. It then takes a true friend, a true love to say...I will be here for you. I will not leave you. I will help you through this hell because I KNOW this is not you. This is a reaction in your brain. I still know the beauty of the soul within.
Some will say this is a fairy tale. Well maybe it is. Maybe we are too damned self involved...we care so much about us. Reach out to someone this week. My son took himself away on the 25th of February 2010. Please do something kind for someone in his memory or the memory of someone you care about. Thank you.