My son went to his school counsellor this week, luckily to the same one he’d spoken to a few years ago, and told her he was having strong suicidal thought, had equipment and a plan.
Hence the phone call that interrupted my Introduction to Counselling.
I was sort of pleased that it had got so bad he talked to a grown up and sad that it had got this bad. It’s been a couple of weeks since he had gone out with a rope and I had just been getting on with life, as seemingly had 3son.
The counsellor phoned up the GP and made an emergency appointment for later the same day. I went home and phoned up CAMHS to see if I could jump start negotiations. 3son finished with them just over three months ago and their queue jumping invitation expired a week ago. However mentioning suicide and rope got me into Tier 3 rather than Tier 2, a bit like levelling up a really horrendous computer game (Skallagrigg anyone?) as well as a strong insistence that they couldn’t do anything without an official referral from the GP.
So we went to see the GP. 3son was at his best at being non-communicative, saying that therapy sucked and he just wanted pills because all his friends had them and feel so much better. She was good at saying he needed to change his mindset just a little bit and be a bit more open to change, whether via therapy or pills otherwise neither would work and she wouldn’t be interested in prescribing him anything without some willingness on his part. He was as negative as he could be but considering he’d been talking about suicide that’s hardly surprising. The GP said she’d make the referral and that was it.
The next day I got a phone call from the different duty clinician at CAMHS who said they’d hope to send out an appointment soon and that it should be within 3-4 weeks. It’s a good thing he’s not desperate really, and again unsurprising he doesn’t really trust CAMHS or anyone else. He said he would go and see his school counsellor.
Everybody talked about keeping him safe in the meantime and having a safety plan. This consists of knowing you can go to A&E if you’re inconsiderately feeling suicidal outside of office hours and the possibility of talking to someone, anyone instead of committing suicide. We also talked about the fact that he has hidden the rope and I don’t know where. It might not even be in the house. I was also advised to remove all sharp implements and knives from the house and watch the medicine. I can’t say I felt that any of this was helpful for either of us.
I have to say I felt numb the whole afternoon. This feels like a process that we have to keep going through, that may get better or may get worse but other than being there for him there’s really fuck all I can do. I am patient, supportive and all those things and he has told the counsellor that I’m quite reasonable and he can talk to me; he just chooses not to.
Part of me wishes he would try and do something, fail, and at least be hospitalised and have a little more urgency in clinicians debating what to do with him. I feel that once again the burden is with me as it always has been. The power is with 3son. He spoke and we all jumped through hoops and yet he’s sitting there playing video games as if nothing happened. I’m the one feeling lost and not being able to focus.
I am feeling tired of it. I’m still fighting for funding for my autistic 2son of which more another time. That’s not going to be an easy one. Now he’s turned 18 they’re trying to chuck him on the scrap heap, although that isn’t quite the phrase they use. I’ve been fighting for him with the odd week off for quite a while and now that he is settled, happy, making progress at school and still with his girlfriend I would like to just be happy for him and stop worrying about him for five minutes. But I can’t. 1son and 4son are in good places and I’m just really grateful for that.
I’m angry. I really am at having to deal with 3son’s shit when he doesn’t want to. I have to hold myself in so tight when he does want to talk, to not give him a big slap and ask him what he’s planning to do to sort his shit out. I let go of all the fear and anger is left. I didn’t sign up for all this. No one ever does.
I have a mad weekend planned for January. Really mad. The maddest thing I’ve ever done and I’m wondering if I can still do it. As a responsible adult the idea of leaving the two of them alone for a few days is unnerving at the best of times but under these circumstances is it folly? If he wants to kill himself he will. But I would never forgive myself if I wasn’t around at the time. But I could equally be out at the theatre for the evening and not taking calls so what’s the difference?
I’m fed up and think it’s about time life gave me a break.
P.S. There’s a really fascinating discussion on reddit about this image, entitled “One of the most powerful image I’ve ever seen” offering perspectives on suicide.