New Ross man feels he was over medicated for years following death of his father
THE loss of a parent is traumatic for everyone and in New Ross man Michael Malone's case it was the start of a long, tortured journey from which he is only beginning to come to terms with, years later.
Michael is on 13 different forms of medication each day which are helping him cope, but his life was a living nightmare of paranoia and crippling depression for years while on different medications.
Michael lived in Yorkswhire in England for six years, working as a chef. While there he lived a very sociable life and was president of the Rippen Conservative Club.
He returned home having split up with his partner to find his father Michael Snr in very poor health.
Michael said: 'I watched my father die and that set something off in my head. He was there in the hospital for 17 days, wasting away. It was so difficult to watch him deteriorate so much.'
Michael moved to his grandmother's house and lived on his own with his dog he'd brought from England.
After his father's death he started suffering from mood swings. On one occasion while walking home with his mother Myra from the graveyard he had a big row with her.
Myra said: 'He was shouting abuse at me. I thought he was after taking something.'
Later that week when Myra went to call on him she saw that he had taken all the family photographs off the wall in his house and had dumped all his crystal glassware.
Michael said: 'I was suffering from paranoia and I thought everyone was looking at me. There were voices in my head telling me what to do.'
He was advised to attend Maryville - a day centre which helps people from suffering from mental health problems - in New Ross.
'When I got there I roared crying for three or four hours. They put me on different medications and I went home and stayed indoors for a couple of weeks. I was paranoid and I couldn't sleep. I started taking all the wood and the tiles off the floor looking for my father.'
Michael said his father was always there for him and was proud to have a son who is gay.
'I had the loveliest parents ever.'
Myra said her son was prescribed too much medication. 'They just doled it out without getting to the root of the problem. He changed so much. When he was speaking to me he would be spaced out.'
Michael said: 'I thought I was the Messiah. Then, last year I got kicked in the ankles when I was in town and I reacted and I ended up being sectioned.'
Myra said people were egging her son on on Facebook and he got caught up in a volatile situation in New Ross.
He attended the acute ward at the Department of Psychiatry at University Hospital Waterford where he got great help.
'Last year I had so much anxiety and paranoia. I kept going to doctors and I was on too many tablets. I prayed. I begged. I cried and I went to the church. Old women would come over to console me as I was sobbing. When my mother went on holidays it all got too much. I texted Mammay to say that I was taking another sleeping tablet.'
Michael was already after taking numerous tablets and wrote a suicide note. 'I couldn't take it any more. I was waiting until my Mam was back on Irish soil rather than having her fly back from London with that grief.'
Michael was readmitted to the Department of Psychiatry unit at University Hospital in Waterford and after getting help there was sent to a respite centre in Enniscorthy.
Myra said the place was like a hotel.
'He was after attempting suicide and they sent him off with a note to a place where he could come and go as he pleased.'
Michael said he was treated like a child at the centre where he spent four days.
When he returned to New Ross he suffered from agoraphobia and his suicidal thoughts returned. He was re-admitted to Waterford hospital and put on new medication.
'I had the curtains pulled around me in my bed all the time. They told me to do art but I didn't want to do anything except lie in bed.
'I was so tired of the noise of bins and doors closing. I couldn't sleep and every night they flashed a light in my eyeballs to see if I was asleep, but I wasn't.'
He said the dinner ladies were his greatest support at the hospital.
'They knew you by name and they always gave me extra gravy and trifle.'
After he was checked out of the hospital and returned home to his mother's house Michael started to notice an improvement.
'The tablets started working. They make you get up and go and I have a brilliant sleep on them. I started getting dressed and going to the shop.'
Michael said everyone sees him as a joker and loud.
'Loud people are the saddest people in the world. Rita Rochford Cahill is my guardian angel. I know her from our schoolgoing days and she is always there for me like my mother.'
Michael hopes to return to work and following in his father's footsteps he is volunteering with the New Ross River Search & Rescue.
He is on the council housing list and hopes to find a place to live near his mother.
'I would love to be in a house of my own which I would paint and to have my own garden to look after.'
He has accepted his father's death and talks to him every night when he says his prayers.
'I wouldn't be anywhere without my mother. She is my rock,' Michael said.