Tragic Anthony strove for an ‘unattainable perfection’
DID you stop and wave as you said goodbye To the imperfect world that was in your eye
DID you feel relief as you bolted the door Your pain and suffering would be no more
DID you stop inside and look around At all the memories that you found
DID you play the pool, to always win To not be the best would be a sin
DID you find the world an uphill race Each day a battle you could not face
DID you come to a crossroads on your road And took a direction that shed your load
DID you wonder at all how much we’d cry When you bolted the door without saying goodbye
A poem from a grieving father to the son he lost - so many questions on why he took his own life, all of them unanswered...
Tall and dark, with movie-star looks, Anthony Doonan just couldn’t see what other people saw. Dr Harry Barry told his father Oliver it was probably body dysmorphia, a disorder where you can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not even noticeable.
“If we had known at the time what he was going through, perhaps we could have helped even more, but men just don’t like to talk about it,” explains his father, glancing occasionally at his son’s smiling face from a framed photo. “Even from a very young age he put himself under so much pressure to be perfect; when him and his brothers Ronan (now 35) and Cormac (now 29), would be tidying their rooms, he would spend ages meticulously folding his clothes, and as he got older, all of this was an unattainable perfection he could never have lived up to.”
In the weeks before he took his own life, Oliver and his wife Anne noticed a change in Anthony, becoming more agitated and upset at his own perceived lack of success in life.
“He was on medication, but that is not enough – it needs to have the support of counselling, and he just didn’t want to talk about it to anyone, and there were times even stepping outside the door was the hardest thing for him to do.”
In his poem, Oliver asks so many questions about the day Anthony chose to take his own life.
“He has planned it well, writing three letters, locking himself in the ‘pool shed’, as we called it, a place he used to go to relax, so I will always wonder why he took his life there, maybe he felt safe there, or comfortable. We will never know.” If you would like to talk to someone, call SOSAD on 041 9848754.