Three years ago today that I took the note Willie wrote me to our family doctor. I sat in his office and showed him the note and asked for help. I cried and said I was scared and had no idea what to do. The note Willie had written me explained in simple words how he felt; his fears, his worry that he was sick, mentally. His desire to die. More than anything else though, his note asked for help. Not in a “it was a cry for help” sort of way but in actual words. He literally asked for help because he didn’t know what to do and he was scared of his own thoughts and what was in his mind.
Today, three years ago, I took that note to our family doctor. The doctor who had known Willie since he was 4 years old. Three years ago today Willie was too embarrassed and scared to go himself but asked me to go and see what we could do to get him help.
Three years ago today I sat in that office and was lectured for 20 minutes on my parenting and how divorce affects children. That note that must have been so hard for Willie t write – that note was tossed on the desk by his doctor with the remarks that he was “bluffing” and “grand=standing” and that I should “call him on it”. That if he really was serious about wanting help then he would call the suicide help line himself.
Three years ago today I left that office with a promise to have his name put on the waitlist for a psychiatrist, 12-18 months wait list. I also left with more anger and fear and sheer rage than I have ever felt in my life.
Three years ago today I walked back into my home and I was met by Willie asking me how he was going to be made better..what help he could get. The eagerness in his eyes tore me up inside as I fought to control my frustration at what I had just encountered. And I had no answer but to say that I would get him help…and I never told him what his doctor said and how he was dismissed by the “system” that should have helped him that day. Why? Because at that point, he had hope and even then, I knew that he needed that more than anything else.
Hope that slowly dwindled as the weeks and months went by and he was let down time and again. As he saw that, time and again, it was waiting lists and assurances that were never realized.
It all started with that one appointment three years ago today. And it ended the way he, more than anyone else, never wanted it to.