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Zero Suicides campaign: Bakersfield mother opens up about son who took his own life

A memorial to Nagi Almansoob is seen in Alice Castillo's living room in Bakersfield, Calif. Her son, Almansoob, recently took his own life. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Alice Castillo's living room has been transformed into a memorial for her son, Nagi Ali Almansoob, and her daughter, Serenity Castillo.

Serenity Castillo died in a car crash in 2015 when she was 20 years old.

Three weeks ago, Almansoob committed suicide. He was 25 years old.

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"His last two months, he was amazing," said Castillo.

Castillo said she prayed for her son and his well being for years. After her daughter's death, Almansoob lost himself in drugs to numb the pain of the tragic loss. He was homeless and living on the streets for more than a year until he got help.

"He had completed rehab back in November of 2016," Castillo said. "He had gotten clean of meth and spice, which he used for about a year and a half when my daughter passed in 2015."

Castillo, who is a drug counselor, said it was challenging to see her son suffer from addiction. He was sober for 10 months, but he still struggled with anxiety and depression.

A few days before he died, they went to see a doctor and he was prescribed several medications for his illness.

"He said, 'I'm not like those people, but I am like those people, but I don't want to be like those people,'" said Castillo about the conversation she and her son had in the lobby of the doctor's office. "He always had a hard time accepting that he had a mental illness."

Castillo found Almansoob's journal after he died, and in it he wrote about his feelings days before he took his own life.

"I would love to have a conversation with someone but I am so caught up in my mind, I would probably just ruin the conversation," wrote Almansoob. "So much of the wrong things have been on my mind, things that I wouldn't wish upon no man. I've forgotten who I was, I think that is the reason why I am alone in this terrible mind of mine."

One thing that still haunts Castillo is not asking her son if he was suicidal.

"That's the big swift kick I give myself. Why didn't I just ask that question?" said Castillo. "I don't have an answer.I didn't see anything different. He was eating, he was making his coffee, but that just tells me how hard he was fighting to maintain his regular routine."

Despite this tragic loss, Castillo is looking forward and is grateful for the moments she shared with her son.

"I prayed for my son to be sober, to have his life right, to be with us," said Castillo. "I got to see all of those things before he left, and I didn't realize that was an answered prayer until today."

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