This morning, I read this Vice article written by a woman whose best friend is suicidal. It was interesting to see another person’s perspective of interacting with someone with a severe mental illness and how she was coping with it. If I had to write an article like this about Ed, I’m not even sure where I’d begin. Would I begin it with his first suicide attempt when I was 11? Would I isolate it to his downward spiral from 2012 to 2013 when he started exhibiting schizoaffective disorder, and how I knew he was nearing his end, so I kept telling him I loved him and cared about him and that I needed him to be strong and believe in himself because I believed in him in every single phone conversation and e-mail up until that dreaded day he went missing? I don’t know.
What’s it like to be friends with someone who is suicidal, or to have a sibling who is suicidal and then commits suicide? I know what that’s like. No one really cares about your experience as the friend or the sibling. They just tell you that everyone has to carry their own load, that he has to figure things out for himself and stop leaning on you. No one wants to help you. They think you are pathetic for wanting to help. And they certainly don’t want to help him. So you are powerless, and you feel even more powerless as the days go on because you can tell the end is near. They think he’s crazy or not worth the time or effort, or they criticize him and make him seem that all his failures are his own fault… That is, until they receive the news that he is no longer living, that he is dead, and that he is dead by his own choice, or hand, or jump. Then they come back to you and say senseless, moronic things like, “If only I had known it was this serious, then…” Then what? Then you wouldn’t have done shit. You wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. Go ahead and cry your stupid tears. I don’t care that you are crying. You will cry at the funeral, feel bad for the next few days, at most a few weeks, and then move on with your life. The past has then passed, and you have forgotten. It’s easy for an outsider.
It’s really hard to have faith in human beings when you know how stupid they can be in times like this. How do you teach empathy to people who are just not open to it?