My son started using Marijuana at age 13. He took his own life age 30 in Dec, 2021.
He struggled with addiction, and with many interventions from his parents, he attended rehab in South Africa for a year, and a sober living house for 18 months. Many said, it is only marijuana, he cannot be addicted to that. But he was addicted as he was unable to give it up entirely, despite the adverse consequences.
He was very intelligent, charming, spoke several languages, worked and lived in Germany, South Africa and the UK. He worked in Sky-Diving, bars and short term hospitality scenarios. He had friends all over the world, and was a very privileged young man. A rule breaker and a person who was afraid of nothing.
He wanted so badly to stop smoking marijuana, and tried, again and again. Nearly 4 years ago, he told me that he was suicidal, because ‘he had done something bad’ and no one was talking to him. This led to more stories of paranoia, which we eventually realised were not normal.
He was hospitalised 3 times, first with psychosis, then the third time, with Cannabis Induced Psychosis, and was medicated with anti-psychotic meds. On leaving that hospital, we made him homeless, and he spent 6 months clean, in a homeless shelter, where he started working full time, volunteering and seemed to be recovering.
During the last weeks of his life, he became psychotic again, because he had relapsed, and was smoking marijuana plants. He claimed that he ‘had done something terrible’ and that ‘everyone was trying to hurt him, or ruin his reputation’. He had changed his name, shut down all social media, removed himself from all friends, colleagues and families, and was totally isolated, except a bit with me, his mother.
He sent me a text on the day of his death, and the police and I rescued him, from his apartment. On attending A&E, he asked to leave to smoke a cigarette, and despite a manhunt for a vulnerable person, he was found later that day, having jumped under a train.
I only wish I had understood about the psychosis, much earlier, but given the state of our mental health services, and his absolute refusal to have any medication, therapy, support, mentors, etc, because they were all trying to kill him, I had accepted a year ago, that he would commit suicide.
What a thing to say, that there was nothing I could do. He was an adult, and despite his incapacity to understand that he was very ill indeed, we still could not force him, for longer than a few weeks, into hospital. I wonder whether if we had understood earlier, if we could have helped. I do not know.
It is so, so sad, that our beautiful children, are losing their minds and their lives, and there is little we can do, unless the person is willing.