I have to talk about something serious today. I know that I don’t often do this, and I apologise if it’s not what you came here looking for. You might not want to read this if you have issues with suicide or depression. I don’t know, we all deal with things in different ways, and I feel like I need to write about it in this fairly anonymous space.
Today a friend told me that she was missing a funeral. She hadn’t gone because she had lectures, and instead had spent a lot of money on sending flowers to her friend’s family. I was sad for her, until she told me that he had committed suicide. Then I was crying. I tried not to cry in front of her, because I knew that wouldn’t help. She was very close to her friend, and he died. And she couldn’t be there for him, and she couldn’t even go to his funeral. Do you know how guilty she must feel? Well I don’t. But I do understand some of that guilt.
I didn’t want to say any of this to her, because I knew that it would make me cry, and I KNOW that I can’t possibly understand what she’s going through right now. I don’t want to make it feel as though I’m trying to make it into a competition, or trying to make her pain seem like it’s less important. I know that can happen sometimes.
When I was twelve my best friend cut herself. Repeatedly. She told me that she wanted to die. I don’t really remember very much of that whole year of my life because my brain, rather sensibly, has blocked it from my memory. I don’t WANT to remember. Because I can still remember some parts, and that’s enough for me to be happy that I can’t remember the rest. I remember cleaning and bandaging my friends wrists, and trying to tie the knots tight enough so that she wouldn’t be able to remove them herself and cut again. I remember when she told me that she used a pencil sharpener blade to cut herself with. I remember her telling me that I was too good for her and that I should just let her die. I remember lending her my jumper in P.E. so that nobody would see the bandages. Most of all though, I remember how guilty I felt.
It all happened in the summer holidays before we went back to school, that’s when she started cutting herself, and she told me about a week in to the school term. We hadn’t seen each other all summer, because I hadn’t organised anything. I thought that it was my fault that she had cut herself. She assured me that it wasn’t. But how could it not have been? Obviously she hadn’t cut herself because of anything I had done, but what if she had done it because of something I hadn’t done? And even after you consider all of that, had I organised to meet up, I would have seen. I would have stopped it before it started, or I would have at the very least noticed it earlier.
Of course, looking back on it now, there was nothing that I could have done. And I KNOW that it wasn’t my fault. But I struggled with it for a very long time. Knowing a thing, and accepting it are two very different things. And now it’s all a bit compounded by the fact that we haven’t really spoken in a year. Guilt compounded eh? No, I don’t feel guilty for her cutting herself anymore. It wasn’t my fault, and I helped her. I got her to the point where she felt ready to talk to a nurse about it. I got her to that point, not on my own, I had the help of another friend too, but we got her there together. And I don’t feel guilty anymore. Not about that. I feel guilty about the fact that we haven’t spoken for a year. I feel guilty about the fact that I don’t let people get too close to me because I’m afraid of losing control. And I feel guilty that I can’t help my friend who’s going through this right now.
I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know how to make her feel better. Even though I’ve been through it, and still am in some ways, I can’t help her, and that makes me feel guilty and it makes me feel like shit.
She’s right there, in the flat downstairs and I know that she needs to be able to talk to someone about this, but I can’t do it. I don’t know if I should tell her this, or if I should let her talk to her friends and her family. Even if I do tell her, I won’t be able to help her. Because I can’t let people get close. And even without that stupid thing, I wouldn’t be able to help her anyway, because she’s her and I’m me, and her friend is dead, and mine is still alive.