When it all goes dark

Mum to DJ and Velcro

I was asked to be a part of this amazing little group of mums to offer up my experiences, advice and support to other parents following a similar journey.  I’ve watched this little idea of itmustbemum start to grow quickly and have felt quite nervous as to when and what my first piece should be about.

I’ve tried to be logical and sensible and have thought what’s most useful for others to read… but truthfully I’m not really a natural writer and I tend to speak from the heart more than my brain!

So there’s only one place I can start.  It’s a sad story I’m afraid…. devastating in fact.  However it’s the moment everything that had already happened started to be heard and everything since has changed our lives. 

Twenty four hours previously DJ had been admitted to hospital.  He was 12 and  diagnosed with autism / Asperger’s and ADHD and he had taken a overdose of antidepressants.  Logically believing they’d make him very happy or maybe just make everything stop.

We were told to take him home and keep a close eye 24/7..  As you know parents of children with ASD don’t need to sleep, eat or pee…… He had no support, no social worker, no school placement. A CAMHS appointment would be sent, possibly weeks away.

DJ wasn’t managing.  His mood was very low, his emotions in turmoil.  He couldn’t sleep and he was in despair.  He believed his recent school placement breakdown was just the final piece of his life falling apart.  He believed he would never manage life if he couldn’t even go to school.

Through the day he escalated and in anger and confusion started to destroy our home.  We called for the siblings to be taken to Nan’s house and somehow tried to support DJ.

Later in desperation he started to pull all the cupboards contents out desperately looking for more tablets (which had been hidden).  A few minutes later, calmly as if nothing had happened, he asked my husband to make him a pizza as I nursed my 10 week old baby.

We took our eyes of him for a moment…. as my husband walked back in to DJ he realised he had found another packet of medication in the cupboard and started popping them out.  Hubby began to remove them and DJ quickly escalated… he became frantic, desperately trying to find the tablets from the floor, within moments he was in total crisis….

DJ ran to the kitchen and within a second had removed a fork and placed it in the toaster…. he intended to electrocute himself.  Hubby had to struggle with DJ and hold him on the floor…. my husband looked at me through tears and I through tears nodded…  we knew clearer than ever our son was desperately unwell.

I called an ambulance and the police as hubby struggled to hold DJ down…. the wait was endless, the whole time the police women talking to me trying to reassure us as she could hear DJ in the background.  The police arrived. It took four adults to hold DJ down, they handcuffed him to protect him, they were kind and caring but clearly the situation was awful.

On the radio the police officer reported a young boy having an “episode”…..

The noise DJ made is something that haunts me still.  He did not sound like my child.  He sounded like a wounded animal crying out in pain.  It was truly heartbreaking and even today I can’t get those sounds out of my head.  

The ambulance arrived and two paramedics. They had to place my young child on a restrictive stretcher to transport him safety to A+E.  On arrival the nurses told us our local hospital had no resources for a child having an “episode”.  No safe room.  No safe spaces anywhere.

The only choice was a side room. The staff tried to contain DJ in this room but he was desperate to continue with his suicide and pulled cords from the wall. hit his head on equipment. Held his breath. Smashed himself around the room constantly.

Finally security guards and staff removed everything from the room. Everything.  My beautiful darling son lay on the floor with his teddy bear sobbing.

DJ told CAMHS the room had gone dark in his head and there were no doors left to leave.  Dying was the only way to make it end.  

We were then told DJ would be sectioned to a adolescent mental health unit unless we could convince him somehow to agree to go.  The doctors sedated him and we used tactics I’m not proud of to convince him to agree to go.  I’m still so grateful he wasn’t sectioned.

Hours later a ambulance arrived to transport him two hours away to the nearest available bed.

As I stood at the door before he left, seeing him broken and empty I looked down at my new born baby and back to DJ again and asked myself where the hell did it all go wrong….  I questioned every moment of his life, every decision I had ever made, every thing I was….. I wanted him to be a baby again, to hold him at my breast and give him my comfort and love, just to go back to when It was so easy to make it all alright. 

Now two years on I can answer a lot of those questions and I see my son now placed in a setting where the staff truly understand him and support him and he is growing stronger all the time.  He won’t ever “get over” this period of his life… it’s part of him now. He should never had to have ever faced the challenges he has at just 12 years old.  The journey should have and could have been different…. I’ll tell you about that another time.

DJ

My son.

My heart.

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10 thoughts on “When it all goes dark

  1. I’ve had those moments of looking at my life as a parent and wondering how I’d managed to bugger it up so spectacularly. Not for the same reasons as you though, and I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for you to go through all of that (and DJ too, of course), and with such a new baby too. You’re an inspiration to the rest of us, so thank you very much for sharing your story.

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  2. Wow, so many times I have thought I’m the only one with a child like this, you have given me goosebumps and made me blub like a baby.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful child with us.

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    1. Goodness me we are all crying over this you are not alone at all. In the next few days Peter’s story will be shared too. We are all so please that our posts are helping people to feel less isolated and more empowered to help their children. Thank you for taking the time to comment. DJ’s mum has been blown away with the response to her brave step to write something.xx

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  3. You made me cry. Your story resonating with my own girl at 12 and witnessing her breakdown, so close and yet so unreachable, no mother should ever have to go through this.The sounds of the primal scream haunting forever. I desperately want to hear how he is now and whether he is on medication. Do you think the meds had a negative part to play? We have just started them after a long long fight to remain off in fear of what you have described. Love to you. xx

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  4. Sorry to have made you cry. You are far from alone.
    DJ and Velcro’s mum is planning an update soon but life is getting in the way a bit at the moment.
    Thank you for taking the time to ask.

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  5. Oh my goodness. Every SEN parent’s nightmare. I wonder sometimes if this lies around the corner for us, when my son is a little older, as he frequently threatens suicide (aged 8) but has never yet made a committed effort to carry it through… **HUGS** I am so glad to hear that things are improving for DJ! Stay strong!

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