Please be aware this is not an easy read. If you are feeling vulnerable skip this post please.
For those who haven’t guessed already I manage depression. I also manage suicidal thoughts. The usual point of view for me is as the patient.
This week I’ve been the carer. The friend waiting and praying.
I’ve had a taste of what it feels like to watch someone you love struggle to fight their demons.
And it is shit. It hurts.
I’ve cuddled my friend’s four year old son and coaxed words out of him.
“Are you feeling sad?”,
“Can you tell me why you feel sad?”.
Thinking of my four year old son as he whispered…
“I miss Mummy”.
I’ve replied to texts where it is so clear depression is making my friend unable to SEE the world the way it really is.
“I’m so sorry Nat, I know you think I’m a failure”.
“I understand if you don’t want to be my friend anymore”.
Oh how this hurt to read.
Because I have been there. I KNOW those feelings intimately. The bullshit whispers in your ears
“worthless”, “burden”, “better off without you”.
I KNOW the feeling of believing those words are true and not being able to see any other perspective.
Curiously, the hardest thing has been listening to people who have never experienced mental illness or suicidal thoughts talk. Phrases like…
“Just think of your family”
“You have so much to be grateful for”
Made me feel physically sick to hear.
Do they not realise she IS thinking of her family?
Do they not realise when you are suicidal generally you BELIEVE you are doing your loved ones a favour by going away (even if it is utter bullshit).
That’s how I felt. That if I died my husband would be free to find someone better. That my kids would have a new Mum that was able to give them what they deserve. In my warped view I was helping my family by getting rid of a burden. Me.
When my friend asked for help and went to the emergency room my response was…
“I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! Thank you!”
For some reason I got strange looks for saying this!!
When someone scrapes the courage together to drag themselves into the doctor and admit they want to die it is courageous.
It shows they love you.
It shows they are considering you.
It shows they are trying.
It shows they want to get better.
It shows they are willing to swallow their pride for you.
It shows they are giving you a chance to help them save themselves.
Take a whole minute to think and you’ll realise they could have said nothing.
Be grateful they gave you this chance and grab it with both hands.
It has taken my own experience to understand that when someone says…
“I am sorry, you must think I’m such a failure”
They aren’t fishing for compliments or attention.
They need a reminder that their view of the world is skewed by their illness.
It doesn’t take much to say…
“No. That is what your depression thinks. That is not what I think. You have nothing to apologise for. Nothing you can do or say will EVER make me see you as a failure. I love you”.
I just want my friend to be ok.