A lot happened today. Let me start by saying I created this blog for one reason, and that was to help people. I wanted those who feel, or have ever felt, lost or stuck to realize they are not alone.
Sometimes life can truly get the best of us, bringing our minds to dark places where we feel like we can't escape. I myself have never been diagnosed with depression. But when my anxiety is at its worst, my mind will drift into those dark places and I am forced to climb my way out of it. Since I only feel this way from certain anxiety triggers, I cannot imagine what life is like for someone who suffers from major depression on a daily basis.
It was a typical Wednesday morning. My co-workers and I received a text message from another co-worker saying he was going to be late. For all intensive purposes, let's call this man John. As the morning went on, John still hadn't shown up for work.
I learned that John struggled with depression for a long time, even having been hospitalized for it at one point. After spending a week in the hospital, he returned to work some time after that. John told my other co-workers that he was feeling better. For the most part, everyone in the office believed it, and despite him seeming occasionally distant, I think everyone was optimistic about his recovery.
That Wednesday, John never showed up for work.
Thursday morning, my boss immediately called me into his office. I’ve only been working here for a month, but I’ve quickly come to learn my boss is a nice guy and would only do this for something serious. He told me to shut the door, and I knew by the look on his face that something bad had happened. Then, he came right out and said it. John had passed away.
A day before, on that typical Wednesday morning, John committed suicide. Right after he sent us that text message saying he was running late, he jumped off the overpass of a highway and died.
My heart sank. My eyes widened with disbelief. I had no words. I took a deep breath. My mind instantly flashed to John, who just a few days before, was telling me how he takes his two-year-old daughter out every Sunday morning for breakfast so his wife could sleep in for a few more hours. This was the man who, on the very first day I met him, was showing me pictures of going apple picking with his daughter, smiling from ear to ear as he described her.
On that Thursday, I had to attend a grief counseling session. I watched my co-workers fall apart, and all I could do was offer hugs and cookies from Starbucks. I felt useless and overcome by the emotions around me. Even more so, I could not imagine how his wife feels. My heart sincerely goes out to her and the rest of his friends and family.
Although I only knew John for a month, I was already really getting to know him as a person. I even made him laugh when I told him funny stories about my taste in metal music. I felt like he was great person, and so many others who truly knew him, agreed with me. This was even more apparent when the influx of people who found out he was gone came by our office in devastation. So much sadness in one room. I could only watch as these people cried so hard they struggled to breathe, hugging each other to try and ease the inconsolable pain.
If only John knew how much he was loved, and internalized that to make him stronger. If only he could see all the people here now who would give anything to talk to him just one more time.
I learned today that suicide can be closer to home than some of us may think. We can never truly know how much a person is suffering inside their own minds. I remember one day, John was asking me about my anxiety. If I had known he was suffering, I would have said so much more to try and bring some light into his life. I wish there was something, anything, I could have said that maybe would've crossed his mind before he made his final decision. I wish I could've reminded him of all the good life has to offer, even if sometimes it seems hard to find.
John's death is such a tragedy. I can't stop thinking about how his two-year-old daughter will never get the chance to know him. Sadly, she probably won't even remember him. I walk by his desolate office and feel a wave of sadness brush over me. John left this earth way too soon.
If you have ever experienced thoughts of suicide, please, please talk to someone and NEVER hesitate to call the suicide hotline. I cannot stress enough how important it is to express those feelings and thoughts and try to work through them.
Confide in a friend, a family member, a coach, a doctor, or a therapist. Find group therapy sessions in your area so you can communicate with those going through similar emotions. Try meditating, join a club, volunteer at an animal shelter, find something that gives you a sense of belonging, read self-help books, turn that energy into art or music, go on adventures, and just try to live this life to the fullest. Most importantly, be patient with yourself.
Life is a journey filled with ups and downs. Each of us experience low points - some of us just unfortunately stay stuck there for longer periods of time, feeling like we will never make it out on the other side. But you will. Each of us have millions of emotions, struggles, thoughts, and feelings - but we cannot let the darker ones take over. We need to remember to breathe. Remember our options and remember life will continue on. We can always make a change for ourselves no matter how difficult it may be, it'll be worth it.
Stay strong and never lose faith in yourself.