I want to tell my story, which may seem serious to some people but I’m aware that others have gone through much more difficult times. Throughout my life I’ve been living with a close family member who has had very serious depression. It was my Dad – my hero.
Ever since I was little, I can remember him going in and out of hospital and getting medication pumped in and out of him. We visited several specialists, and we knew that depression is an illness. People who haven’t dealt with it might say it is something that one chooses. They might think it is a choice to mope around in bed all day, to feel like pouring your heart out all of the time, and even to feel like you are a burden on your family. But I don’t think anyone would choose to do this. Depression is not a choice.
Depression is something that shouldn’t be ignored, something that the person cannot help, just like any other serious illness. Depression can even lead to feeling as though there is no other way out. Why isn’t depression being dealt with?
Okay… so you’re thinking, what does she know, right? Well, after going through all of the treatment options, my Dad seemed to be okay for a while. I was having fun with him and when these precious moments of him feeling high instead of low happened, I enjoyed them.
We took a short holiday to Cork during the summer holidays, and two weeks into my second year at school (a stressful enough time to say the least), my Dad took his own life.
After several attempts before that and several close-to-losing-him experiences, I couldn’t believe it was happening. I thought that he would arrive home any second and say: “I’ve made a mistake, help me!” But this time it just wasn’t meant to be.
I woke up to my mam screaming to my older brothers that dad had left a note and he was gone. I couldn’t believe it. The police and my brothers searched for him the remainder of the morning. He was found and it wasn’t a happy “I’ve made a mistake, help me” moment.
The attempt had turned into something, which made me lose the most important man in my life. It is important to remember that a person who wants to take their own life is not just doing it for attention or anything of the sort. They need to be helped, however there is not enough professional support or treatment for people with depression. It angers me to think that I’ve lost my dad, and that he could have thought he was a burden.
When dealing with the grief of suicide, you will feel guilty but you need to remember that the person loved you; no matter how much you think it’s your fault. I’ve questioned many times whether I had ever done anything that resulted in the suicide. But with the help of my family members, who are all older than me, I’ve learned that no matter how many times I question, I wont get an answer, no matter how hard it is to accept.
How many times have I sat in class and wanted to run out of the classroom and cry? If your friends don’t seem to understand, you need to explain the illness to them. I’m lucky enough to have my best friend, who knew my dad and all about the illness, but at times it can be hard. All you need to know is that, in my opinion, one of the hardest forms of grief is suicide bereavement. It leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I urge anyone who is feeling low to surround yourself with positive things and people.
It’s hard for me to share what happened to me, but I’m doing my Leaving Cert now. Of course it still knocks at the back of my mind but my experience has taught me that life is very precious and you must make the most of it. Hopefully my story will inspire someone to get help, to deal with losing someone to suicide, or just to share your story!