Dear Eldest son
You are so considerate to your parents. In the last few years we have learnt so much through your decisions. I can now boast knowledge of the Mental Health Act and different categories of sectioning at both adolescent and adult classifications. I can describe what the inside of non secure and secure psychiatric units are like and the patients within. I have met many mental health workers, doctors,consultants, support workers.
I have travelled to Surrey and many parts of Essex to visit you in hospitals and placements. I have met you and heard about how it isn’t your fault and they are out to get you. I have received demands for money because you have none left. I have seen you grow dependent on a number of substances that do not enhance your life chances. I know the location of police custody suites.
I have searched and found you while making yourself homeless out of choice, I have learnt many things. In fact this statement is unfair. Your mum and I have learnt these things together. Sometimes she has learnt of them before me through phone calls while I have been at work and held onto the information so that I don’t “crack” if I hear the news during the working day.
Today a new gift, we are allowed to be on your visitor list to see you in prison. We can send money so you can have tobacco, extra food… We can learn about a new form of accommodation, another part of town to visit.
We have had a conversation – we have two essential choices…
a) cut our losses and cut all ties with you
b) hang on in there, at a distance, but wait hoping that one day that the son we love despite all of the above reappears on the other side.
We choose (b), but just to let you know,it hurts (a lot). It doesn’t help with our mental health, our spirit, it backs us into a corner, but you know what your mum and I have outlets and like this post we will let off steam because we have to. We are not unique, there must be other parents who have gone through this too, they have our sympathy too.
So,as you lie, sit, stand in your latest accommodation take some consideration for your own future. Our advice falls on unhearing ears,we can only hope that sooner rather than later you will emerge again.