I remember where I was standing the day that I got the call. A grossly uncommon occurrence, my phone was ringing, the caller ID displaying my friend’s husband. In the twelve years they’ve been married, I can count on two fingers the times he’s phoned me. This being one of them.
My friend was in the hospital. She’d swallowed a half-bottle of pills, drank a bottle of wine, slit her wrists and laid down in the bath tub to wait to die.
It was July 1st, Canada Day (three years ago). There were fireworks going off in the background as I heard him explaining to me what had happened. And, as sad as it sounds, this was my first time hearing that she even suffered from depression. She’d never told me and I had never asked.
I hopped on the plane 24 hours later and went to see her. With guilt in my gut and sadness in my heart, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
She spent almost three months in the hospital. Seeing her there, barely there, heavily medicated, being watched like a hawk to ensure she didn’t try to hurt herself again, that was hard on me. And if it was hard on me, I can’t imagine how hard it was on her.
Over the next three months, during the periods of time in which she got access to her phone, I learned the extent to which she’d been suffering. I also learned the extent to which she was still suffering as the doctors mixed and matched medications to help her feel better, and the side effects they came with.
If you don’t ask, you just never know. The problem with never asking is that you don’t think about it. And you need to think about it. It’s not pleasant. It’s not happy, but it needs to be talked about.
I carry around a lot of guilt over not knowing how much my friend was suffering. And the stupid thing is, I know it’s not about me. It’s really not. It’s about her. I owed it to her to check on her. I owed it to her to be an ear for her to talk to. And I wasn’t there.
Let’s talk about it.
When I ask you what’s wrong, I want you to be truthful with me. No matter how awful, no matter how dark, I want to know.
Being able to take those deep, dark, depressing thoughts from the far corners of your brain and let them out into the universe, it helps. I’m not saying that it solves everything, but it definitely helps. And people who are suffering, they need peace… no matter how small of a dose it comes in.
If you know me, you know that I’m the type of person (now) who’ll ask how you’re doing… one, two, three… maybe even four times. That’s on purpose. I want to know how you’re doing. There’s no motive behind it. I just want the truth. Life ain’t always pretty… and it need not be painted that way. I want the people in my life to know that I’m the person you don’t always have to be happy towards.
Sometimes you just need to have an angry phone call where all that you talk about is the things that suck, depress you or piss you off.
Sometimes, you really just need someone to listen.
I want to be that person who people know will listen. I want more people to be that person who people know will listen to them. I want more people to be that person that you know will listen to you.
The way I see it, we could all do a little better with ourselves and others if we just listened.
Let’s talk about it. Let’s talk with the people we love about everything. Not jut the positives, but all of the negatives. Because peace of mind is important, no matter how small the dose.