On 23rd September 1986 my beautiful little boy was born 7 lbs 10 oz dark brown hair, he was my life I doted on everything he did. He was a good baby and happy when he was snuggled up close to me. He had a hernia operation when he was one-year-old, and again when he was eight years old, he took it in his stride and even coming back from the theatre he was standing up on the trolley and they said that they had never had that before, but that’s my boy.
Always friendly and outgoing he made friends easily and enjoyed people’s company, of all ages, even from a very early age he wanted to help people he always wanted to go to the shop on his own and I would stand on the street and watch him walk to the shop and back. He always seemed very grown for his age, growing up he always wanted to wear trousers and shirt and sometimes he even wore a tie. He had ideas and plans of being a businessman ideas of owning places, chains of places and working hard.
At his junior school he took part in the school play and that was the beginning of his amateur dramatics, he joined the Studio Players and they were like his second family, he loved going and really blossomed, he took singing lessons and soon started playing lead parts, it would melt my heart as it would any mother when I saw him performing, I could see he was in his element.
He had a weekend job when he was about 13 years old, as I said he was always grown-up and very independent, always popular, everyone used to say to me he’s a lovely lad. He struggled with his food being a vegetarian and some days he wouldn’t eat anything, he used to say he had forgotten to eat or he couldn’t remember if he’d ate and then other days he would be eating non-stop.
My son has always been a bubbly person always singing and dancing around, outgoing lots of energy and after his diagnosis he was so upset not knowing who he was, was he really a bubbly outgoing person or was that the bipolar. When his medication started to work, would his personality change? Would people still like him or want to be around him? Would he be able to hold down a job? Would he get the help and support needed? Would he be able to live a ‘normal’ life? One day at a time!
Although we have always been very close he keeps things from me because he doesn’t want to upset me. When he was worried about his health he confided in his auntie, yes I would have been upset but he is my baby no matter what. It doesn’t matter how old he is whether he is good or bad I want to be there for him, I do understand that he doesn’t want to worry me but I’m his mum for ever.
He got good grades at school and after leaving was soon the manager at a well-known stationery store. After that he started his own events company, and ran this still struggling with depression. While running his company part-time he decided to take a job to make ends meet at a well-known superstore. He started with the company as a security guard. He gradually worked his way up into managerial position, which eventually took him out of the area. Still young and suffering with depression taking what people call happy pills he didn’t feel that these pills were helping him, so we started doing some research into his symptoms and he came across all kinds of illnesses, he went back to his doctor and listened to what he had to say and they decided to send him to see the psychiatrist and do some more tests then he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. This meant that now his medication would be changed, medication to control manic episodes medication to control depressive episodes it sounds easy enough, no not at all.
Just under two years ago (2013) my son had a manic episode he came to stay with me just after New Year he came over to see his new niece she was born on the day he travelled home. He was talking a hundred miles an hour, which is always a tell-tale sign, manic episode. I went to the doctors with him and he was given so many drugs it knocked him out, he didn’t know what day it was or how long he had been here he just kept saying I need to go to work but he had strict orders from his doctor not to even contact work. I liaised with work and kept them informed of his progress, his workplace were great. I would make sure he took his medication and take a tray up at breakfast with coffee and drinks for the day and with breakfast and snacks for the day because I knew that he would be too drugged up to get up. I made sure he took his medication and checked if he needed anything before I went to work. It upset me to know I had to leave him. I would sometimes ring him in the daytime to see if he was okay but he didn’t answer his phone because he was too out of it. The crisis team would call round every day to make sure he was safe and taking his medication but sometimes he could hardly drag himself out of bed. As soon as I got home from work I would go upstairs to see how it was, and very often the day had just passed by and he didn’t even know. I made him what ever he wanted for his dinner just to make sure that he’d eat something. I sometimes had to help him up and down the stairs because he was so unsteady. Every time I went into his room I had to explain what was happening, I had to explain how long he had been here. Every time I went into his room I stayed strong for him, and when I went into my room I cried, it broke my heart, I couldn’t believe that my strong, loving, kind, caring, hard working and ambitious boy was going through this, why him? Why has he got this? He doesn’t deserve this, I wish it was me and not him.
I tried to get him out of the house I took him to get his medication from the chemist and took him to see his new niece at the hospital she was premature so was in hospital for a week or more. I took photos of him (above) holding her I showed him the photographs later and he couldn’t remember he said when was that? He couldn’t remember anything he had done or anything anyone had said. After a while he was sent for daycare his first day was terrible he came home in bits he felt like he was being treated like child and felt very patronised he cried a lot and he didn’t want to go back he said he needed a drink and although the doctor had told him not to drink I gave him a small glass of wine to calm him down. When he went for daycare he was picked up in a taxi and then dropped off after every session, it was painful watching him waiting for is transport, he would wait outside pacing fast up and down the drive. I could see in getting more and more distressed the later they were.
I cared for my son for three months altogether before he returned to work and yes he is still working and yes he is still climbing that ladder and still putting other people before himself AND STILL BATTLING WITH BIPOLAR. He is the strongest and the bravest person I know, MY SON.
I’m sure that by now you will have worked out that this piece was written by my beautiful Mum. The piece itself was actually written a couple of years ago but not shared until now and is referencing my breakdown in 2013. The time in which I also met Jamie.
Every kind word written by my Mum is also owed to her through the fabulous upbringing that she gave me, through her nurture and through her constant love.
Like most little boys, my only real aim in life is to make her feel proud of the man that I’ve become.
My mum gives an abundance of support daily to help me get through. I would struggle to get by without her and nor would I want to. My mum and my friend. Love you xxx