Suicide is not a solution, it is an end before a solution can be found.

This sentence stood out in the article Depression: Understanding Thoughts of Suicide.

During the last four months, I’ve had fleeting thoughts of suicide. They last for seconds only, usually. There was only one recent occasion where the thought stayed with me for a couple of days. So when I read the following, I have to say that it is true, my view of the world narrowed so much that I almost forgot my reasons to live.

Being depressed causes us to narrow our view of the world around us to such an extent that reality becomes distorted. The negative in our lives is constantly reinforced and the positive around us is discounted as being irrelevant, or even non existent. Options to help solve our problems are rejected as having no merit, until it seems as if there is no possible solution.

When Barry died by suicide, I often wished that I could wind back the clock so that I could help him. I felt cheated that I wasn’t able to offer him other options. I felt that if I had been given that chance then he would still be alive today.

Today, I accept that my view on what could have changed the outcome of Barry’s life probably would have made no difference whatsoever. I know this because I am forced to watch my surviving son, Daniel, struggle through his grief for his younger brother. I can see that the options offered to him mean nothing. I can see the total confusion and devastation on his face. I know that the words I offer, the support I give, do not reach him as I thought they would. It’s not enough without that something inside to push him forward. So far, Daniel is just managing to grasp that something but it will be a long time before I can relax and push my own fears for him aside.

I now know that, given the opportunity, I don’t think I would have made a difference for Barry. I would have tried desperately to help him. I would have ensured he knew that I loved him, and that his family and friends loved him, but I believe he already knew that. I would have tried to make him see that there were plenty of options available to him, but I believe that he would have nodded his head and smiled, but ended his life anyway. I would have done anything for him, but I honestly do not believe that I could have saved him.

As Barry’s mother, this knowledge breaks my heart and it’s the one thing that will remain with me for a long time to come, perhaps the rest of my life. A parent cannot fix all things in life for their children. My father often said to me that we are parents for the first decade of a child’s life, after that we are there to support only. The child will make their own path in life no matter how hard we try to make them tread the best path. I always believed a decade was a bit low, that we are parents for a bit longer than that, but now I’m not so sure.

No matter how long we are parents, it’s important to remember that a child (of any age) has their own mind and a parent can only offer support and guidance. It doesn’t mean these things will be accepted.