By Heidi Pratt
A week and a half ago on Thursday 16th February my beautiful daughter Catherine attempted suicide. She wrote blogs on here so I thought that it might be suitable for me to write one about her and her battle with mental illness from the parent’s perspective.
Over 2 years ago now I got a phone call from my daughter’s school saying that she had taken an overdose and was en-route to hospital. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. As a parent I was broken, doubting myself to all measures. How could I not realise how much pain my daughter was in? Had I failed as a mother? The answer to all of this is no. But I didn’t know that then. When I got to the hospital she was in the resus room and when the doctor came to speak to me I broke down in tears. It was at that point that I was told to ‘man up’. I completely understand why though; at that point in my daughter’s life she needed my support and she needed me to be strong so at the time it was the best advice that I could have been given.
This advice actually caused me to put up an emotional wall in front of her so that she couldn’t see how much she was hurting me except that just made everything worse. She thought that I was happy about her illness, about the fact she wanted to die. She couldn’t have been more wrong. The issue is that as the parent of a mentally ill child you have to get the balance between letting them see that you are sad but not enough to make them feel guilty for their actions and illness.
Two years later and she is still here hanging on to a thread. Right now she is lying in intensive care after trying to take her life. I have already been told that she will probably have lifelong consequences this time and that some of her brain has died. When she wakes up she will have to relearn to walk and talk. This was not the path I wanted for my daughter but I fully believe that she can still do whatever she wants when she grows up. She might just have to fight a little harder.
Right now, my emotions are numb. My baby is fighting for her life. She needs 24/7 support and I have just had a phone call to say that her doctors are considering turning off life support. I stand by what I said earlier in my post. She can still do what she wants to do when she grows up. I will not allow them to turn off her life support. How could a mother give her consent to taking away the machine that is keeping her daughter alive? I have to hold on to hope. There is no other way through this. I love you Catherine.