THE mother of a young Fermanagh man who tried to end his own life for the third time at the weekend fears her son won't stop doing it until he is dead.
The 21-year-old who suffers from bipolar disease and has a history of drug abuse was rushed to Enniskillen's South West Acute Hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning and placed on a life-support machine after he consumed a cocktail of alcohol and tablets, including: Propranolol (used for treating anxiety), Depakote (for seizures), Fluoxetine (an anti-depressant), Diazepam (valium) and Olanzapine (for bipolar disease).
Fortunately he pulled through but the effects of what happened at the weekend linger on.
"I am not asking for help, I am begging for help. I don't know what to do, I don't want to have to bury my son," said his distraught mother in a frank interview with The Impartial Reporter.
The mother who feels "powerless and scared" was enjoying a holiday in Co. Antrim and had no knowledge of what was happening until her daughter phoned to break the news.
"She was sobbing her wee heart out, I dropped the phone and ran to the car. All I wanted was to wave a magic wand and be right by his side but I had to make the three hour journey home first. What goes through your mind? It is indescribable; I didn't know if he was going to be alive when I got home. I wanted to know why -- why did he do it? A thousand questions go through your mind," she said.
Walking down the corridors of the hospital, knowing her son was in a serious condition was difficult for this mother but nothing, she says, prepared her for seeing him on the life-support machine.
"It was terrible; he looked like a wee baby lying on the bed. He was covered in tubes and wires and looked so helpless and vulnerable. I just wanted to take him in my arms and make everything alright but I knew I couldn't. Even now I know I can't, I can't make everything alright again".
She took her son in her arms and told him she loved him. "I said to him: What are you trying to do to your oul mummy? He didn't respond to me. He was unconscious. We were told at the hospital that he had taken an awful lot of tablets and was very lucky to be alive." When he was moved down to the medical ward his mother tried to talk to him.
"I rubbed his face, he tried to open his eyes, and I asked him why he had done it and do you know what he said to me? 'Because I wanted to die mummy, I'm sorry, I love you'. How does any mother feel hearing that? You want to blame somebody. Maybe I shouldn't have been away but when I spoke to him the day before he was in high spirits. I reminded him about his wee nephew, I said, do you not want to see him growing up? Do you want to leave him behind? I wanted to give him a reason not to do it again." She is at a loss as to why her son feels this way but believes his bipolar is "bringing him down".
And after he was discharged a day later she has questioned the support available to patients and their families in Fermanagh.
"Am I getting enough support? Is my son getting enough support? Absolutely not. Every time you lift the paper some young lad or girl has taken their own life. I can see why: they are not getting the support they need. I spoke to his GP and she said it was an absolutely disgrace that he was discharged a day later and asked him if I was making a formal complaint - I am." She claimed when her son was discharged his speech was still slurred and he was shaky on his feet.
"He should have been sectioned to give me time to put something in place to care for him when he got home. I asked a member of staff: who trains me to deal with this? I have no experience of working with people who are mentally ill. She told me to speak to my doctor - that was the help I got.
"I am worried that my son is going to do the same again; I am walking about keeping him by my side 24/7. I shouldn't have to do this but if it keeps my son alive I will do it. Do I sit with him when he's asleep? Does he sleep in my bedroom? He has tried it three times so of course he is going to try it again and that scares me," she said.
This mother contacted The Impartial Reporter in the hope that sharing her story would not only raise awareness of the issue but come as some sort of comfort to anyone in Fermanagh that has experienced something similar. If you need someone to talk to then speak out. Lifeline can be contacted on 0808 808 8000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls are free from all landlines and mobile phones. Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90. Alternatively, you can log on to www.help4kids.co.uk, www.heads-away-just-say.com, www.heademotionalwellbeing.com or www.mindingyourhead.info.