April Showers Bring More Than May Flowers — Suicides Grow As Well

Spring is a time to come along side family and friends struggling with depression

bernie fox

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Photo by Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash

There was a steady warm rain the other night. Any remnants of snow are gone. It is a lovely early spring here in southern Ontario.

I was out in the garden today, designing and digging the new flower bed for native Ontario species. Plants that are especially good for attracting butterflies and other pollinators. It’s rejuvenating; just thinking about growing a dining spot for butterflies brings a feeling of hope.

It was on a very similar early spring day that my son took his life 15 years ago. We were aware that he had had suicidal thoughts several years prior. Our angst had faded somewhat over time, with the normalizing of his lifestyle, as upsetting as it was.

Zac had recently turned 18 and hadn’t spent a lot of time at home over the winter. When he wasn’t happy with our house rules, he would couch surf or crash at a friend’s. He had come home, taking up residence on the living room couch, initially almost non-responsive in his depression.

Easter was coming soon. Spring was here! He could start rollerblading again. Zac got great pleasure in that. Rollerblading was the one thing at which he would acknowledge he excelled. In most other aspects, Zac suffered from very low self-esteem.

On the last morning of his life, I did not have any concerns about him having thoughts of suicide. That day hadn’t started as one of our better days, but it wasn’t that uncommon. We argued that morning.

He left the house. Later, Zac came to my woodworking shop. He asked me to buy him cigarettes as the convenience store refused him being under age 19. I went and got them, somewhat begrudgingly, I’m sure. Little did I know what was soon to transpire.

Some weeks earlier, his psychiatrist’s receptionist had told me as Zac had turned 18, the doctor-patient relationship was now confidential, and the doctor could not speak with me. I did advise reception that Zac was inconsistent in taking an anti-depressant known to cause increased suicidal thoughts.

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bernie fox

a semi-retired mental health crisis counsellor, and believer, in recovery, doing a pretty good job at not being a grouchy old man.