“Friend, there will never be a friend
As dear to me as You
There will be another closer than a brother
Friend, always worth the wait
Faithful as the day You say we are friend” Israel Houghton
I am writing this missing a dear friend of mine. She was actually my very best friend in high school. We were one of the few African Americans in the International Baccalaureate program at my high school. She was a sanctified church girl like me. She was very smart and funny. We got along great.
We made different decisions for college and are paths diverged. We kept in touch for a few years but like most high school buddies we lost contact.
A few years ago, we found each other again thanks to social media. She was finishing her Master’s in publishing and I was finishing my first novel. We sent each other our projects and exchanged insight.
I am speaking of my friend in past tense because she passed away. Actually, she committed suicide a few years back.
I thought I had dealt with this until recently. A family member was distraught because she was afraid her friend had committed suicide. Her friend posted a cryptic message on a social media website. I was able to talk to her, calmly instruct her to call the police and give them as much detail as possible. The next day when I called to check on the situation, I was informed the police got to her in time and she was taken for treatment.
It would have been easy to ignore the little girl’s cry for help as an attention-seeking move but something in me could not let it rest. I am glad I was there for my family member and I was glad that my family member was there for her friend. I am glad that the police responded with urgency and care. I am glad she does not have to feel what I felt.
Death is hard. It is unfathomable that someone can be present, full of promise and dreams and with one desperate action be gone forever.
My friend did not cry for help. She left a note, according to her sister who contacted me months after it happened. I remember our last conversation. I asked to pray with her and we prayed. She was so distant. She did not even sound like her true self.
I write all of this to say that the pain, discouragement, and mental health issues that people deal with are real and not trivial. If you are placed in the path of someone suffering, please do not discount their pain. Reach out. Make the effort. Do not let Satan win. Fight for the life God has given them. Fight for the friend God has given you.
If you know of someone in crisis, here are some numbers to give them:
Need help? Text “CTL” to 741741.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
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.
I have never been a sad-faced depressed gal around V-Day but this one was bit difficult. I got up early to catch the morning service. I got in my car even drove around the block but the fog was so heavy I could barely see in front of me. So, I grab breakfast and headed home.
Took a nap and tried again at eleven o'clock. I sat in service without really feeling I was there. Maybe I should have gone to The Potter's House.
Anyway, I think I am still reeling from news that my friend from high school died. This is the same friend who was helping me with my book. Well, she took her own life. I found this out via a direct message on Facebook. This is the same friend who I reconnected with maybe a year and a half-ago. According to her sister, whom the message came from, she was battling depression.
It's weird because right around the time she must have done this. I spoked to her on the phone and she sounded distant, really distant. I just told her that I was checking in on her and hoped she was okay. She said, thanks for checking in on me. That was really it.
I did not know who to tell because my mom was still getting over the loss of her two friends from last year. I did not want to keep being the bearer of bad news.
I, finally told my mom. Who just said, "Baby, I know how you feel." She also told me that it is good to talk to people and not carry around things inside.
Initially, I was hurt, then confused and then slightly angry at her and myself. Why did I not pick up on something deeper when I spoke to her? Then I felt the Lord give me peace. I don't know how to explain it. It's odd when we fight for life and someone else gives up. I am not judging her, just sorry it happened.
I feel better writing about it – freer.
I am grateful that my family is alive and safe. I am grateful for the friends I do have. I am grateful for the knowledge of God through Christ. It has helped me in many difficult times, such as now.