“What you lose will come back to you”
I am very proud of Jake for being so open and honest during his 10 months of crisis. Jake fought hard to live and he could not have been more open and honest about what was happening to him.
Jake’s story is both tragic yet heart warming. You might wonder how these two words could appear in the same sentence. I hope that what I share on this site will go some way towards making sense of this. How can you fight so hard for something and lose? I really don’t know… and perhaps never will.
There is a light that never goes out
I lost my beautiful, warm, intelligent, quirky and creative son Jake to suicide on 23rd August 2015. Jake was my only child and like any 23 year old had masses of potential and his whole life ahead of him. Jake was studying Contemporary Photography and was passionate about a career in this field. He had amazing friends and girlfriends, was confident, articulate and much loved and adored by everyone who knew and met him.
Jake’s issues began about 10 months before he died. His behaviour changed drastically and to cut a long story short Jake more than likely had Bi-Polar and he was also self-medicating using Benzodiazepines purchased over the internet (very dangerous). Jake was very open and honest with both myself and medical professionals about how he was feeling and what he was doing. He was desperate for help and could not have shouted any louder. Jake was denied a mental health assessment due to his substance misuse and this is where things spiralled out of control. Between us we banged on doors, wrote letters, attended appointments and many times of crisis in A&E. He was in a no win situation and I weighed just under 7 stone before Jake died due to the stress and trauma of trying to get the help he needed and dealing with his challenging behaviour.
In the weeks after Jake’s death there was a Serious Incident Report carried out followed by an Inquest. The Coroner saw everything that I did and much more. The Coroner ordered a further investigation into a ‘missing letter’ and she also issued a Regulation 28 to Prevent Further Deaths. Jake’s case was published on the Chief Coroners Website which broke my heart. Basically you can google his suicide.
What keeps me going? My husband, family and the amazing support from everyone that I know, Jake’s friends and their parents and more than anything the relationship that I had with Jake, the love and the memories that we shared.
In a strange way I feel privileged to have gone on that journey with Jake. I could compare it to caring for someone with a physical illness who is on end of life care (I don’t expect everyone to understand or appreciate this). Suicidal thoughts are real, apparently you can go through stages that last about 90 days. When I read about this Jake’s behaviour and escalation of self-harm methods ticked every box.
I have kept busy following up the responses to the Regulation 28 and have left no stone unturned. If Jake had not been so vocal and shared his thoughts and appointments and his mail with me then I would not have known the half of it and there would not have been a Reg. 28 and certain changes would not have been implemented across GMW. I am very proud of Jake and how he fought so hard to stay alive. I try not to dwell on how Jake died, but hanging just sits on your shoulder, it never really goes away.
Grief is exhausting and hard work. I am learning to let go of some things and to embrace the changes that could make a difference to someone else.
What Drives Me?
Missed Opportunities & Lessons Learned
How many times do we have to keep hearing these two phrases after Investigations and Inquests? When I received a copy of the Regulation 28 issued by the Coroner (recommendations to prevent further deaths) after Jake’s inquest Dec 2015, I was absolutely stunned to read ‘This has happened before and lessons have not been learned’. I will continue to follow up the recommendations and changes to ensure that others get the support that they are entitled to. These changes are all that I have.
Looking for Support?
Jake was quite obsessed with this quote. It’s a good job I did not bury him in his jimjams.
Get In Touch
Sometimes having someone else to talk to can be an enormous help at such a difficult time. So please feel free to drop me a line using the form below and I promise to get back to you.