When I look at my grown up son today, I can barely recollect that black week when he first became stressed and then seriously ill.
My husband had been complaining of pains in his chest, which was diagnosed as indigestion apparently, and my mother-in-law had telephoned to say that she was feeling unwell, and that she wanted to speak to my husband. I passed on the message to him, but he felt unable to take the call. The next morning, we had a call to say that she was now in hospital, having taken several painkillers. My husband left home early the next morning to drive 200 miles to visit her, and then my sons went off to school.
Another phone call, “Your son is unwell, please come and take him home!”
I arrived at school to find my younger son in a distressed state, so I brought him home immediately. Not knowing what to do, and having no friends close by, I just watched his gradual decline mentally, from teenager to toddler in five days.
If I had known then, what I know now, I should have called a doctor, or done something constructive. I just could not believe what I was seeing.
He wanted to run away, to bathe with his bedclothes, to smash his way through the back of the wardrobe, as in the story of Narnia, and much more. I took him out once and he had no inhibitions at all, having been quite shy previously. In the department store, he seemed fascinated by toys meant for very young children. I was at my wit’s end.
On the fifth day, and after very little sleep, as I was constantly watching and waiting for the next disaster to occur, I eventually ‘phoned a friend and asked for advice, which was to get him to Accident and Emergency, as it was called at the time.
In the waiting room, he was on his knees, examining the electric sockets. Eventually, the hospital staff agreed to a consultation with a psychiatrist, who recommended that he be taken into hospital for the night. Apparently, taking him to Accident and Emergency was not the recommended solution, according to hospital staff, but I am glad my friend thought of it. This was the start our long and eventful journey through the mental health system.