A Friend With Mental Illness Is Still A Friend

I was over at The Black Snob, and read a post in which she discusses living with bipolar disorder. The post was enlightening, especially because now she is able to manage the illness and live a productive life.

I read the post and felt an eerie sense of deja vu. I had a friend who suffered from mental illness. Well, she was not just a friend, she was my best friend in high school . We lost touch in our college years and reconnected maybe three years ago. She helped me tremendously with my book that I have yet to publish.


She had symptoms of the illness like insomnia, mania, hospitalizations. I tried to console her during our conversations but I did not have the knowledge or experience to understand. I would tell her positive things and pray with her. Then this fear started to develop in me. When I had not heard from her in a few weeks, I would call to make sure everything was okay.

I remember our last conversation, she said all of the right things but nothing was right about the things she said. The only way I can describe it is that it is like talking to someone who is in an aquarium. You can make out the words they are saying but they are coming from a place where a person should not be speaking from.

I would love to tell you that my friend learned to cope with the illness or found deliverance but sadly she did not. A got a message from her sister that she had passed away. The sister sent the message via FaceBook of all mediums. I was at work when the message that was forwarded to my email was received. I was so upset my manager told me that I could take the day off.

I often think back to that last conversation and I wonder what could have been said or done differently. The truth is, I knew something was fundamentally wrong but I did not know how to help. I just always let her know that I cared for her and was rooting for her success. I never guessed it would all lead to suicide.