Christmas. A season known as a time of joy with family and friends.
But when my son was 15, Christmas became a time of sadness and despair for our family, enveloping us in a cloak of darkness.
My son had become disconnected from life, and from all those who loved him. He had become a prisoner to his dark thoughts, confining him to his bed. He battled between suicidal thoughts and life.
My son had become disconnected from life, and from all those who loved him.
Watching this as a mother, I couldn’t understand how my son wanted to choose the uncertainty of death over the certainty of life. My son, who had always confided in me, was now silent. The light in his eyes were snuffed out. He showed no emotion, was robotic in his actions and didn’t engage.
His life was put on hold, and with that, all our lives were put on hold.
My son, who had always confided in me, was now silent.
Depression is all consuming – you eat it, sleep it, breathe it. There’s no escape.
As a mother, I was thrown into a battle to save my son. I knocked on doors which opened too slowly, so then I banged on those doors until he got the help he needed. I learnt the meaning of tough love. Home should have been a refuge, but it held too many dangers and I couldn’t keep him safe, so hospital became his home.
I was thrown into a battle to save my son.
I felt lost, and grieved for the son I once knew.
When I contacted YoungMinds, they knew how I felt. They knew what to say, how to help and how to support me. I am indebted to that voice on the end of the phone, the stranger who spoke to me as a friend.
Ten years on, my son is now happily married. The big black dog still occasionally visits him, trying to coax him down into the tunnel and far away from life. He has insight into his emotions, has coping strategies, and knows that he is very loved. Love guides him to keep walking the path of life.
I am indebted to that voice on the end of the phone.
If any mother out there is experiencing a similar situation, my advice would be, play the mother’s card of unconditional love. It's not your fault, and you cannot control how your child is feeling, but you can have hope that love will win the war over depression.
We now embrace Christmas. It’s a time for us to reflect and celebrate life. And above all, the best present I can have is to tell my son I love him, and to hear him say ‘I love you mum’.
More information and advice
Where to get help
If you need further advice on supporting your child with their mental health, take a look at the services below that can help. For information about CAMHS and how to access support, read our parents' guide to CAMHS.
Provides information about local counselling and advice services for young people aged 11-25.
Put in your location and what you need help with into their 'Find help' search, and see what services are available in your area.
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