Today I lost a good friend to suicide. I wish I wasn’t writing this post about suicide, but I am.
I met a lot of people over my lifetime and to be honest I’m not the best at making friends. I tend to keep people at arm’s length. That’s why this death has hit me very hard. We have been friends for over ten years and have always been there for each other. He was there for me a lot when I was first diagnosed with MS.
My heart aches at the thought that he didn’t reach out to me in the last few weeks to tell me about whatever was going on in his life. I don’t know what he was thinking, or what (if anything) triggered his need to take such drastic action.
When I was first diagnosed with MS I got very depressed and did contemplate suicide. I remember driving to Dunedin one day and all I could think about was what my future might bring. In my mind I imagined my son and wife standing beside my bed and I was in a virtual coma, unable to respond or even to tell them how much I loved them. On that day I know I was close to steering into the path of an oncoming truck.
My friend and I caught up a few days later and over a couple of beers we talked, well I talked and he just listened. I will miss his ability to listen.
But I had no idea of his pain. I still don’t. In some ways I am grateful that he is no longer experiencing his emotional pain. The hard bit is that those he has left behind are now in pain.
Depression is a horrific disease and the worst bit is most people are too afraid of the stigma associated with it too ever speak out. Like all invisible diseases it exists but is not easily understood by others.
Ironically I read on the MS website for New Zealand yesterday that suicide is the number one killer of men with MS.
Please, please, please if you are struggling with depression or pain reach out to someone. It could be family, a friend, a co-worker or your Dr. I don’t care who it is – I don’t want to write a post like this about you.
Yes, this is a brutally honest post and some people may find it hard to read. Many a tear has flowed down my cheeks as I have written it.
Tonight after my son is in bed I will sit on my deck with a glass of whiskey and raise a toast to a good friend who I will miss dearly.