Joe smilingOn March 4, 2011, my son Joe, chose to end his life. It was his 23rd birthday. The last time I saw him I had sung happy birthday, told him I loved him and given him a big hug. A little over an hour later I went looking for him to find out what flavor of birthday cake he wanted me to make. I found him down behind the barn, a gunshot to his head. My life has never been the same. His death prompted me to learn more about our food in America and what I was feeding my family.  You see, Joe had suffered from constant diarrhea for over 5 months.

What is the Connection?

He came to me after Thanksgiving and asked me why his bowel problem wasn’t clearing up. I found out then that this had been going on for over a month already. I asked him about any new foods, perhaps he had a food intolerance or allergy. I cleaned out the refrigerator and cupboards of any expired or out-dated foods. There were some and they were tossed out.  I washed the dishes by hand for several weeks and in the meantime my husband cleaned the dishwasher from the hard water deposits.  The hand washing didn’t work so I went back to the dishwasher.  Nothing worked.

His problem persisted. So after Christmas he went to see the doctor who tested him and said he was negative for any bacterial, viral or parasite based digestive diseases and diagnosed him with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).  The doctor recommended a prescription for IBS. My son declined the pills.  He didn’t think that was the answer and neither did I. It merely treated the symptoms but did nothing to get to the root of the problem.  In March my son was gone.

I didn’t make the connection in time to make a difference for my son. But after spending the past five years researching, I’ve come to the conclusion that gut/mind connection is much more influential in my son’s death than the medical community understands. I’ve also wondered how doctor’s can determine a psychological disease without any pathological reports to guide them. Shouldn’t we be looking for a physiological reason the psychological imbalance is there? When I learned more about MTHFR, I began to understand the connection.

Suicide Affects More than One Life

I found my son’s body lying in the snow. My first call to 911 was for help, I didn’t realize he was dead.  I was in shock. I picked up his glasses and the lens I found lying on the ground and put them in my pocket. He couldn’t see without them. I lay next to him in the snow and held him, telling him that help was on it’s way. Only minutes later did I realize he wasn’t breathing. The reality of what had happened sank in and the world forever changed.  For me. For my husband and for my daughter. Friends and other family members were moved to lose someone they loved. I’m sure we all had our own grief to deal with, but I suffered from PTSD. It was a week before I remembered hearing the gunshot, I even remember the exact time.  Now I’ll never forget it.  I’ve come to hate hunting season and the sound of gunfire. Even the sound of fireworks can trigger the memories.

The shock was horrific. My body felt numb all over yet every nerve felt so sensitive. Any touch, sound, smell or visual stimulus was to much. I could only listen to classical music for many months following his death. I didn’t want to eat, I felt nausea at the smell of food. I barely watched tv. I cried for what seemed like forever. I was angry….at him…at God.  I was a rollercoaster of emotions and rawness.  Somehow I managed to go on. The first four or five months were a blur. Until the day in August when I discovered a lump in my breast. The surrealness left and reality came crashing down into my world again.

Please, Don’t Do It…You DO Matter

If you, or a loved one, has suicidal thoughts, please call 911 (in the US) to get help or visit the Suicide Prevention website or call  1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.