Sometimes when you’re at the end of your rope, hope is all you have left. That was kind of how I felt last night. I have a dear friend who is in a very dark place right now, and I honestly thought that last night she would end her life. I don’t think she’s out of the woods; I don’t even know if she’s feeling any better at all, I just know that I hope for her continued survival. She was a great friend and comfort to me at Menninger, and she struck me as a very strong young woman. I hope that she can find the strength to go on.
Talking about this situation, and how it has affected me, has been a great relief here at the step-down. Even though it is a dark and horrible topic, a number of us have experience with suicide, whether thinking about it or trying to commit it. Being able to talk about it in a room full of people who understand, and who sympathize, and who may be helped by the discussion, is at least a little comforting. I have tried not to reveal any confidences, but still tried to explain how I am feeling to others here.
I wrote much earlier about the feeling of powerlessness. As much as I want to help her – as much as I would be willing to do to help her – there is only so much I can do from so far away. I can only hope that giving her someone to talk to, someone who understands that dark, hellish place, someone who cares deeply and will never give up hope in her does something for her. I can’t be a therapist, or prescribe medication, or even give her a hug. I can just be a voice of a friend holding out a hand, begging her to take it.
It is things like this that make me realize how important a support network really is. I don’t know if I am helping her – I can only hope that I am – but I know that the people around me at the step-down are certainly helping me. The staff here are constantly asking me if there is anything they can do, or if I need to talk to anyone. My fellow peers here in the program have offered their support and empathy , and try to keep me busy and feeling good so I don’t let this bring me down. Without their help, I don’t think I would be holding up as well as I am, and so I owe them a great deal.
I wonder if my friend would be doing any better if she had such a support system nearby. I am almost certain she would be at least a bit better if the people around her who were supposed to be helping her were actually doing so. I know that having other people around who have some idea of what I’m going through – by virtue of having gone through something similar themselves – has been enormously helpful to me, and seeing how much this support network helps makes me think that staying around here might be a better move than returning to St. Louis. I wish that my friend was able to find a support network, or a support group, to help her with what she is going through; the physical presence of a friendly face is much more comforting (to me) than an online one.
Hope is one of those things that I found really difficult to have in the depths of my depression. I know my friend is having the same problem; her hope is all but gone. But I still have hope, hope that she will find some way out of that black hole. Hope that she will see how strong she really is, and that all the great things that I, and others, see in her are real and true.Hope that someone who has a genuine interest in helping her will come to her, or those who should be helping actually start to. I know it is a long road, and I can’t imagine how hard that is for someone so young. I hope that she can find a way to realize her potential, and not feel guilty that she isn’t working fast or hard enough. I hope that one day she’ll be able to look back at this point and see how far she’s come. I hope she knows that people really care about her.
Dum spiro, spero.