On 21st September 2017 my beautiful, loving and loyal son took his own life. Jordan’s downfall was that he could not admit or accept his addiction. He would not ask for help or discuss his problems or how he really felt. He blamed others for everything. It shocked the whole family, leaving us all heartbroken and devastated, especially me – his mum.
Jordan had a very good upbringing within a loving family unit – mum, dad, sister – and we were all very close. He was kind, loving, friendly, smiley and was a well-mannered young man. Up to the end of his life, he lived beside me at our farm.
In his early years Jordan had a few major health issues. At the age of 20 months he had an accident whilst riding a quad bike. It turned over and landed on his head causing swelling of the brain. He was attached to a life support machine for three days and, luckily, he survived without any permanent damage.
He suffered severe febrile convulsions but grew out of these by the age of four. Asthma also plagued his formative years and he was prescribed nebulisers eight times a day; again, this ceased when he was about four years old.
Jordan loved fishing with his dad, and they enjoyed visiting many different locations around the world – Spain, Southern Ireland, Caribbean. He was very proud of the fact that he was the youngest boy to tag a sailfish.
He enjoyed a skiing trip with school, and we spent quality time together as mum and son on various skiing holidays.
His education was at a private boy’s school where he excelled academically and enjoyed the sport of rugby. He left school with 11 GCSE O’levels to pursue a course in stone masonry at college.
He was quick to leave college and joined his dad in a stone reclamation business. His dad thought it important that Jordan learn all the facets of the trade with a view to it being a potential business for him.
Jordan also worked alongside his dad in his demolition business, collecting all the non-ferrous metals for him. He loved the demolition business – I don’t think he ever enjoyed doing stone.
From leaving school, Jordan had quite a turbulent relationship with his dad due to his bad behaviour. My husband was an amazing judge of character but even he would say that he couldn’t work Jordan out.
During one period, Jordan’s behaviour became so bad that his dad provided him with his own house, took his car off him and stopped his allowance to try and make him appreciate what he actually had. After less than a year Jordan seemed much better and his attitude had changed. However, it’s since come to light that Jordan’s moods, angry outbursts and the awful things that he would say to us, without any remorse, was down to cannabis and possible steroid use.
In his 20’s, Jordan and I travelled extensively together – Spain, The Ice Hotel and a Detox Cycling Trip, to name but a few.
Jordan loved diving and qualified as a Dive Master. He was diving in the last months of his life and visited Australia, the Maldives, Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas and Egypt.
He also continued with his education, passing exams in asbestos, demolition and transport management. Jordan found exams easy when it was something that he was interested in or when he put his mind to something; he was extremely capable.
Jordan continued to run his stone business to the very end – he wouldn’t give in even though he said that he hated it. I was always trying to encourage him to finish with it and move on.
After Jordan passed, I found anabolic steroids, testosterone and injectable steroids in his home. I knew that he had dabbled with substances on many occasions in the past and had warned him of the dangers of doing so. In fact, Jordan had quit smoking cannabis three months before he took his own life.
Jordan was a beautiful soul inside and out. He was intelligent, successful in his own right and extremely kind natured. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see these qualities in himself and always wanted more. Jordan would repeatedly say “nothing in life makes me happy, only the ‘happy backy’!”
My son suffered from depression for a long time due to the loss of his dad when he was 21. At the time, Jordan didn’t have a good circle of friends and in later years family found it difficult to maintain strong, healthy relationships with him due to his emotional state and constant mood swings. I also believe that Jordan’s bad diet, his reliance on energy drinks and the isolation created by hours on computer games had a detrimental impact on his wellbeing.
Jordan was 14 when his dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This had a major impact on Jordan at such a young age as he loved his dad and he was his hero. At 13, Jordan had already discovered cannabis, although we were unaware of this at the time. Over the years, Jordan became addicted to cannabis and was probably also self-medicating to block out the loss of his dad. For many years he smoked cannabis all day, a strong type called ‘skunk’, most likely sprayed with other drugs or chemicals.
I struggled for years with Jordan as I knew that he wasn’t happy in his life. It got to a stage where I honestly didn’t know what to do or where to turn to for the relevant help. I felt so alone, spending hours on the internet ‘googling’ his symptoms, reading books and talking to people. It was diﬃcult to understand Jordan’s extreme mood swings, anger and nastiness – this was not really the Jordan that I knew. He would become fixated about the same thing or experience, whether in the past or present which he knew couldn’t be changed. Jordan couldn’t move forward from this mindset due to his emotional state.
Ultimately, Jordan would not accept help or seek medical intervention as he did not want to admit that he may have developed problems with his brain; he did not want the stigma of any ‘mental health’ label attached to him or his medical records.
There’s an established link between cannabis/steroids and ‘mental illness’, as they call it. Smoking cannabis and taking steroids can lead to psychosis, depression and schizophrenia. Use of cannabis is also associated with an increase in suicidal ideation (thinking about or having an unusual preoccupation with suicide) and anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure in normal pleasurable activities). A study in New Zealand revealed that young people who had used cannabis three times or more by the age of 18 were more likely to have a depressive disorder by the age of 26.
I blame cannabis and steroids for Jordan’s deterioration in his emotional/mental health and his eventual suicide. There were probably other underlying factors/causes to add to his condition but cannabis and steroids, in my opinion, were the main cause.
Jordan would never admit that he had a problem with cannabis dependence or addiction. Any reference made to him about brain imbalance or having a mental health problem were vehemently rejected. He would often say to me “stop trying to fix me”.
Jordan and I were very close, and I would talk to him for hours, often when he was sad and down. Jordan needed help and as hard as it is to say…. Jordan would not accept or recognise that he had a brain imbalance or addiction. Hence, he was not prepared to help himself to change with the support/help of his family because, to Jordan, there was nothing to change.
Towards the end of his life, he isolated himself more and more, saying hurtful things to the ones that loved and cared for him most. Jordan got to a stage where he no longer wanted a life with addiction, but he found life without it miserable. He lacked support and more importantly UNDERSTANDING from his friends and family. Unfortunately, a lot of his friends were drug users too.
Jordan was only 27 years old when he ended his life. I wish that he had ‘put his hands up’ and accepted that he needed help. The stigma associated with mental/emotional health, depression and his unclear mind, controlled by addiction, prevented him from doing so.