26th March 2017
Andrew was just 16 when he started to experience mental health problems. Dealing with a mental health problem is never easy, but at such a young age it can be particularly confusing and difficult to cope with. And unfortunately, it’s not uncommon – in fact, half of all adults who are mentally ill experienced the onset of their mental health problems by the age of 15.
Luckily, Andrew had his mum to support him. So for him, Mother’s Day is an opportunity to thank his mum for everything she’s done over the last ten years.
‘My mum’ - by Andrew McIntyre
When I was roughly 16 years old my mum first noticed that something didn’t seem ‘normal’ with me. I remember talking to her, and deciding it was best to go see a GP to talk about what was later diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder.
This was the first of many steps my mum would take to look after me.
I remember the day I was admitted to hospital for four weeks. Being given this news, and coming out of the appointment to see my mum and my aunt crying left me feeling particularly sad.
I knew that I was the reason she was so upset. My mum and I have always had a very close relationship, so knowing that I was making her cry was upsetting for me, even if the thought of going into hospital was rather numb.
On my really dark days when I lay in bed not eating, she would bring me up cooked meals and a glass of cold Ribena just to make sure that I had something to eat if I wanted it.
My mum would sometimes sleep beside me if I couldn’t sleep or was feeling sad.
My mum would write me these lovely notes telling me how brave I was, how great I was – some of which I still have in my drawers and will always keep.
My mum would sacrifice her social life. She didn’t want to leave me alone without her in case I needed her and she wasn’t there.
My mum would come to every doctor’s appointment with me, and when I wasn’t speaking she would speak my thoughts for me. She would fight my corner when the doctors thought that there was nothing wrong with me or that I was a hopeless case.
My mum never gave up on me, even when I wanted to end my life.
This brought my mum and I closer together, and it feels strange if it goes more than a couple of days without hearing her voice, to know how she is doing. I know for a 26-year-old man this is very unusual, but that’s just how it is.
I would like to thank my mum for everything that she did for me.
Thank you for all the things I have mentioned, and countless other things I am sure she did behind the curtains. I wish I could go back to those dark days just to tell my mum how much I appreciate everything she did for me, because I know that I didn’t understand how lucky I was.
So Mum, you always said that any Mum would act the same way for their child. Let me tell you that no Mum is as incredible as you are to your four children. Thank you for being my mother during that tough time we all endured, but thank you as well for being my friend.
If you, or someone you care about, is experiencing a mental health problem, visit our mental health problems page.
Andrew volunteers with SAMH’s Lunch and Learn project – a free, one hour information session which aims to tackle stigma and discrimination of mental health in the workplace. To book a Lunch and Learn at your workplace, email firstname.lastname@example.org