I lost my mother suddenly when I was twelve years old in a tragic car accident. In the 80s, there was no understanding of the effect a trauma could have on a child, so there was no professional help. We tried to get back to normal as quickly as possible. Myself and my seven siblings carried the pain of that around for many years.
I went into secondary school a few months after the accident and the transition was very difficult. I went through the motions. I knew something wasn’t right but having no understanding of depression at the time, I didn’t have a name for it.
I went to live in Belgium at the age of 23 and tried to distance myself from all the pain I felt growing up. Everything caught up with me eventually when my younger brother Adrian died from suicide in 2007. He was 27 – two years younger than me.
I moved home from Belgium to be closer to my family and things got very bad for me. I spent days in bed or not leaving the house. I lost interest in everything around me. I had thoughts of suicide but I didn’t want what happened when Adrian died to happen again, in terms of the pain it caused to our family. I didn’t want my experience to mirror his.
Eventually, my sister Angela gave me the number for Pieta House. I plucked up the courage to ring them. I was booked in for an appointment to be assessed almost immediately. Walking up the driveway to Pieta House, and being greeted at the front door felt like walking into someone’s warm home. I was met by Joan Freeman, who was the founder of Pieta. She put me at ease and helped me to talk openly about what was going on in my head. I knew I was in the right place. The holistic approach was what I needed – they addressed my fears, my state of mind. I could say anything and I felt I was never judged. It gave me the tools to address any suicidal thoughts that might cross my mind. I definitely had a healthier outlook on life after that. I'm very grateful for all the help I received from everyone in Pieta House and especially the counselling from Lena who was so warm and empathetic.
Thank you Pieta.