For Some, Its NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Part Two

Earlier my good friend TransportJockey posted about his experience and thoughts about suicide and depression. This is a touchy topic over the holidays. Studies have proven that people struggle more with this during the holidays. Is it due to holiday stress, or family? Is it due to the crowds of people or the lack of sunshine? Does it matter?

I, like TransportJockey, am an advocate on seeking help. I want others to understand this problem. People who do not know me personally do not get it, don’t get why I care, don’t get why I understand it when they cannot seem to get it. That ends today with me explaining it as best as I can to you…

When I was seventeen years old my best friend hung himself. We hadn’t spoken in a few days because I was out of town for an EMT competition for my state. I had forgotten my phone charger at home, and was unreachable for awhile. On the bus ride home another kid from my school approached me to tell me the news. I was in shock. I didn’t understand it. That night when my phone charged I found something nearly more painful. Voicemails from him. Six of them. He was crying, asking for help. He sought help and I wasn’t there to help him. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how I could’ve saved his life.

Days later I picked our mutual friend up from his home. We wore black and were going to the funeral home for the viewing. Nothing was more awkward, realizing that we were the only ones there that actually knew him. His dad pushed us to the front of the line and embraced us, warm tears streaming down both of our faces. He explained that after months of being bullied and hurt by others at school, he had enough.

I asked his dad if there was anything I could do. I talked with his mom. Their words have never left my mind. “He wanted it this way. He is finally out of pain. He isn’t hurting anymore.” As true as it is, I cant help wondering what could’ve happened if he didn’t do it. Nothing is more painful than realizing that right now he could be married, with a baby, with a job, and memories past high school.

____

With my job I deal with psych patients. I do lots of 1:1’s, sitting next to the patients bedside while they sleep off an overdose, or while they fight the soft restraints that have them bound to a bed. They do it for many reasons. Someone they loved left them, their life is a mess, drugs, accidental ODs, there are so many different reasons. With work it is easy to become desensitized to it, but for me, I refuse to. I remember every patient that I’ve had to sit with. I remember all their stories. I remember their pain. It’s not easy to carry that on my shoulders, but I feel it makes me a better person.

I will never forget the patient that changed my life. I had been struggling with depression myself for a long time now. Being assigned to this patient seemed like a hassle, he seemed legitimately crazy. He had “psychosis” and made claims everyone thought was insane. After a few hours, something amazing happened. Just when the patient and I had enough, when he was doing everything he could to commit suicide (in front of me, having me literally fight him to stop him), and I was trying my best to try to calm this poor man down, a miracle happened.

His friends came. They had a guitar and they sat on the furnace in his hospital room. They laughed, they joked, they proved to us that we were wrong, he didn’t have “psychosis”, he was telling the truth. I will never forget the song they played to him that caused us all to smile…

The patient made it through, and made it out of the dark. Last I heard he is touring with a band and is very happy. People went to help him, and he made it through.

______

My husbands good friend (his brother, for lack of a better term) committed suicide a few months ago now. Nothing is more depressing than having to deal with that again, so close to home. People tell you not to place blame, but when it comes to people who have good hearts, who are trying their best, people that are legitimately amazing people taking their lives, there is blame to place. The blame isn’t with his friends or family. The blame runs deeper than that.

Nothing is more painful than having to relive it all. Walking through the cemetery that my friend is buried in, visiting the funeral home all over again, seeing the tears from parents. Nothing is more painful than having to explain it all to others… to try to explain to them what their loved one has been feeling.

The only reason I know is because I’ve been there. I’ve been the person feeling lost and hopeless. The only reason I am still here today is thanks to my husband and my mother in law. They don’t get it, but have supported me through it.

People struggle with depression, its not uncommon. In my normal day of seeing patients 9 out of 10 patients have it. The difference is how people deal with it.  Some choose to medicate, to medicate with drugs, alcohol, antidepressants, with food. Medicating makes the pain go away, even for a little while. Some choose to self inflict pain upon themselves, to cut. People cut because the physical pain hurts more than the emotional pain, it makes you feel something other than the emotional pain youve been struggling with. Some people realize that feeling the way they do has been going on for too long, and they have had enough pain for one lifetime. They’ve tried other methods, with no success… they want to be out of pain. Sometimes people love too much, and their hearts cannot hold it anymore. I’ve never known anyone who struggled with suicide and depression that wasn’t a wonderful person. Sometimes their hearts are just too full, and the world is just too dark.

I’m not saying that suicide is okay. I’m not saying that it is acceptable by any means. But to those that are dealing with the loss of someone, you have to understand their side of it- you have to understand their pain and misery. And for those suffering with depression, you need to realize why people do what they do.

If you see anyone struggling with depression, you need to take action before it gets worse. There is no better time than the present to take action. There is no better time to try to save a life than now. And nothing, nothing in the world feels better than knowing you saved a life by doing the smallest of things.

My husband said it best. “I’m so glad I can hold you in my arms. I am so glad I can feel you. I am so glad you are still here. Please, don’t ever be the person in the casket. Please let me help you.”

If you have depression or have attempted suicide, seek help. There are so many people you know that can help you out. If you know someone who is struggling with this you need to take action, whether they ask for your help or not. Just do it.

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