We were sitting outside a milk tea cafe. She got up from her seat and told me to go with her inside, so I did. I always go with her. She’s my best friend after all. As we lined up in the counter, she asked me if I noticed anything different about her. I said I didn’t. I suck at that, you see. You could grow a full beard and I wouldn’t even look twice. I knew something was up though by the way she behaved so I started to look at her more closely as she ordered her drink. Nothing. When she was done, she turned to me and said, “I got diagnosed with clinical depression. I’m taking antidepressants and painkillers so I’m a bit groggy now.” When we last saw each other, she told me she’d been feeling unhappy and she didn’t know why, so the news wasn’t a big shock to me. This, however, was:
“Oh, and I also tried to kill myself last Thursday.”
We were already near our table when she told me that. And when I heard it, all I said was “Oh. Okay.”
This girl has been my friend for over 10 years now, and it feels like she’s been my best friend for much longer than that. She casually tells me that she tried to commit suicide and all I could come up with was “Oh. Okay.” I didn’t break down and cry and beg her not to do it again. I didn’t grab her by the shoulders and force some sense into her. I didn’t even get mad at her for not telling me about it sooner, for not thinking of calling me while she was in her bathroom cutting herself.
What do you do when your best friend tells you she tried to kill herself? What do you do when the word suicide is associated with the person you love literally more than life itself? Tell me.
Because seconds after she said that, she was laughing her ass off because of an unfunny joke made by another friend and I was just looking at her the whole time and, I’m telling you, I felt nothing. I was staring at her, not feeling anything. And that moment right there, when I replay the whole scene over and over and over and over again, is what kills me.
Do you know what else kills me? Throughout high school and college, she’s always had people stabbing her both in the back and in the front. Girls would hate her because their boyfriends would flirt with her. Guys would hate her because she’d befriend them but not date them. Even I fought with her at one point. She’s been called every nasty name you could possibly think of. But she never let any of that pull her down. Whenever she found out a friend turned out to be an enemy, she wouldn’t cry or feel sorry for herself. She’d give her the finger and simply walk away. The more people hated her, the more she loved herself to make up for the love she lost.
And now, she’s tried to kill herself because she’s depressed and she doesn’t know why. She’s overcome the worst kind of bullying, she’s endured being labeled as the school slut in high school and she’s exceeded the limitations and discrimination set on her by the people around her. After going through and defeating all that shit, she tries to kill herself and she doesn’t know why. She doesn’t fucking know why! How can you make someone feel better when she herself doesn’t even know why she’s depressed in the first place? That kills me. That kills me because I can’t fight ghosts. She doesn’t know, so I don’t know.
But the biggest reason why I feel like there’s a million knives piercing my heart, why I find it extremely difficult to breathe properly, why my chest is honest to God literally physically in pain right now is the complete understanding and realization of this one simple fact: I almost lost my best friend.
My best friend is suicidal.
Not for long. I’ll make sure of it. Not for fucking long.
You don’t give up on the people you love. But you can only hope that they won’t give up on you.