Formerly House with No Steps and The Tipping Foundation

Raising awareness of mental illness – a mother’s story

Christine is courageously sharing her story of her son to raise awareness of depression and mental illness.

Christine works in our Disability Support Services team in Qld, and has kindly and courageously shared her story to help raise awareness of depression and mental illness.

Warning: This post deals with issues of self-harm, depression, and suicide, and may be distressing for some readers.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental illness, please contact your general practitioner, Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

15th March 2015, started as a great day. My hubby and I went on our yearly memorial ride with our Ulysses branch for a fallen mate. I was so excited as I was taking my husband to see my home town for our holidays. I was so excited.

It was a beautiful day for a ride, but silly hubby dropped the bike and I hurt my knee. The hurt continued on for the day’s ride. God, my knee was killing me by the end of the day. Off to the hospital we went and I ended up with a knee brace on by the end of the day. Great start to my holidays I thought.

I just got into bed that night and was about to doze off when my oldest son Andrew’s partner, Michael, called, “Christine you need to come over now. Something has happened to Andrew and it’s not looking good”. Those words I will never forget for the rest of my life.

I got there quickly as I could hear the panic in Michael’s voice. I knew it was serious but I don’t know up to what extent. It was 12:18am the 16th March 2015. I walked into my son’s home and was confronted with Ambulance staff trying to revive my son, my first born, my beautiful blue eyed boy. It was confronting, and my second born son Luke was with me. It was the hardest night of my life. I had been here before you see, when my boys’ father died back in 1992. How could this be happening again? It can’t be, how, why me?

Luke was standing there looking shocked at what we were watching but he wouldn’t leave his mum’s side. Michael was in shock and did not comprehend what was going on around him. He had found his partner on the floor with no life signs at all. I, as we mums do, went into protective mode to try and comfort my son’s partner and my son Luke. Not taking into consideration my own pain at that time. I, at that time felt numb!

My son died that night. He couldn’t be revived. My son, you see, had died at his own hand taking over the counter medication, Ibuprofen/Codeine. He suffered with severe depression but would not seek the help or support he needed even after surgery back in January to repair a ruptured stomach from abuse of the over the counter medication.

I begged him to get help. You see, he was too proud, too private and kept his feelings to himself. Many guys are like this but it does not need to be at all. My Andrew was too ashamed to tell anyone he was feeling down, feeling hopeless, like life means nothing and no one cared. In fact we do care and we want to be there to help and support.

Please guys, if you are feeling overwhelmed, sad, like life is all just to much, please get some help, pick up that phone and make that start! Talk to a mate, your partner, a work colleague, your mum, dad, sibling. That first move is always the hardest but don’t be too proud, we do care, its ok to say you’re struggling.

I, myself, have had depression and know how hopeless life can make you feel at times. You just want nothing to do with the outside world and just want everyone to go away. Everyone feels sad or down sometimes, especially during tough times. Feeling sad or upset is a normal reaction to difficult situations. But, if you have these feelings intensely for long periods of time and are having trouble with normal activities, you may be experiencing depression.

If you need help or know of anyone who does, find help or support.

I wish my Andrew had, you see, he is now at rest and in no more pain. But his pain has shifted to me and again, I am left to pick up the pieces. Just like I was with their dad all those years ago.

If my words do nothing but support just one person by picking up that phone, by talking to someone, then I am thankful I could make a difference.

Never did make that trip back home but I will get my hubby to see where I grew up and the place I raised my children … RIP my Son, love is for eternity.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental illness, please contact your general practitioner, Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.