Baylin’s gift to help others

Baylin Hoskins.

Baylin Hoskins.

Baylin’s Gift is a charity committed to educating young people and their support networks on depression, anxiety, gender/sexual identification and suicide awareness. It aims to educate and build resilience. The foundation promotes diversity and acceptance. It was started following the suicide of Baylin in April, 2016. His story is told by his mother, Hayley Hoskins, president of Baylin’s Gift, Kempsey.

BAYLIN was born the eldest of twin boys on May 31, 1997.

He was always the easy child, until about 15. He always had it together. Was never any drama. How wrong I was.

At 16 he told me he was bisexual. But said don’t worry Mum I will still get married and have kids. Like that bothered me. We were absolutely ok with his revelation.

More than anything we just want our children to be happy and safe.

Once he came out he lost a lot of friends, especially the boys, as all of a sudden he must have been hitting on them or something. Such ignorance is truly astounding.

This began, I think, his descent into severe depression. He struggled terribly with his identity.

I know there were a few boys at his school who made his life  miserable.

He had no self confidence. Felt very unworthy. Very isolated. Very different.

He simply wanted to fit in and be liked.

He was now well into his depression. He struggled to go to school.

We were very concerned as he had changed dramatically with us at home. He barely spoke. He had been seeing a psychologist for quite a while and was on medications, but seemed to be just getting worse.

The day before his 17th birthday he woke to find out his uncle had taken his own life, leaving a wife and four devastated children. This sent him spiraling downwards.

He did not cope with this loss and I have since found out he blamed himself for not visiting his uncle.

Only a couple of weeks later he would be hospitalised in Lismore as he could not promise us he would stay safe.

He was in such a world of pain. I was terrified for this boy I didn’t recognise.

He was in Year 11, and his grades went downhill.

His love of learning dulled and panic attacks arrived.

Year 12 proved to be the defining moment for Baylin.

Three months out from the HSC, the boy who studied ‘til 3am every day, who had an absolute vision, closed his school books and never opened them again.

I never understood why, until after he left us. But I think that was the moment he knew where his life was going to take him.

The rest of Year 12 was spent going to parties, drinking, hanging out with people who were not his friends before. I was concerned, but was happy he stopped putting all the pressure on himself to do well at school. And he did seem more relaxed about his life. Again how wrong I was.

When it came time to head to university, he struggled.

I watched him pack his bag. He sat on the floor with tears streaming down his face. I’d never seen such desolation on his face. But he’d dreamed of this since he was little.

He couldn’t have not gone. Because that would have meant he’d failed. And that was not an option in his mind. I simply thought he was sad because he was leaving his family and friends. Again I got it wrong.

The pressure once he got to Newcastle overwhelmed him. The new things they were expected to do and had not been taught to do at high school, all contributed.

The couple of times he came home were a series of parties, lots of drinking, so much so I even sat Baylin down on his last visit and told him I was really worried about it. He just rolled his eyes at me. He physically couldn’t leave the house without first having a couple of drinks.

This last visit we barely saw him. I believe he was saying goodbye to all his friends. I don’t think he spent anytime with us because he just couldn’t face us knowing what he was going to do.

At this visit his dog died. He couldn’t even look at him, or say goodbye.

There were just so many signs I look back on now. How could I not have known he was back in that dark place.

That was the last time we were to see our boy. It was less than three weeks later, that the police came knocking on my door. The day our world would forever be changed. And the day we became a different family, an incomplete family.

The Baylin’s Gift Foundation was started almost immediately, simply because we cannot let him go.

The choice you make when you lose someone to suicide is to either fall apart or focus on something more positive. It can be as simple as taking Beyond Blue leaflets to markets to hand out. Gender or sexual identification, depression, anxiety are not going away. They must be talked about. They must be normalised. So our children grow up with acceptance of themselves and others.

It’s a very simple concept.

This story Baylin’s gift to help others first appeared on The Land.