With the recent news of actor/comedian Robin Williams taking his life, like many others, I too was saddened by the tragic ending of this celebrity’s life. The death of Mr. Williams via suicide took me back to March 2012 when a close friend went missing after having sent out an email where he declared his intentions to end his life.
I will not mention my dear friend’s name but he and I met in 2007 at El Camino College and we immediately clicked. Our conversations ranged from sports to politics to religion and everything in between. He soon became part of my close circle of friends, as I became one of his closer firends. So when we received that horrible email, a sense of panic and urgency overwhelmed me and everyone else who volunteered in the task of tracking down our friend.
Fortunately, with the help of many, many individuals who care deeply about this mutual friend, we were able to track him down within 24 hours. He was lucky enough to have been picked up by EMTs and admitted to an emergency room’s psych ward where he began the long and difficult road to recovery.
Walking into the dim room of that ER and seeing my friend sitting in a hospital robe, on a chair, was one of the best feelings in the world. For a few minutes we just sat there, hugging, weeping and mainly giving thanks that things did not unfold as he had planned.
Realizing that a close friend is depressed to the point of contemplating suicide is frightening and heartbreaking. It inspires one to help but creates a sense of hopelessness because we don’t know how to make things better. In our limited capacity but with all of our heart, all we did was listen to our friend.
We asked what was wrong and how he felt; we offered our company and unconditional love to help him get through such a difficult time. As he bounced from one counselor to the next; from one mental health clinic to another, we tagged along to keep him company.
It was a difficult process that took a physical, emotional and to a certain extent financial toll on everyone involved. While the fear of losing a friend through such tragic means kept us on edge, the idea that a person surrounded by so many people that love them could still feel lonely and in despair was tragic.
I for one could not wrap my head around how alone and hopeless my friend felt during the days and hours leading up to his attempted suicide. It sends chills down my spine to even imagine the degree of emotional misery and anguish that my friend went through before those saintly EMTs rescued him.
I am happy that today my friend is doing a lot better. He is working again and has found some stability along with the support that he needs to keep depression from overwhelming him.
It does scare me to know that he suffers from this mental condition that puts him at risk; however, knowing that he is working through this gives me hope that he will be alright.
I hope and pray to never go through something like this again. Furthermore, I pray for everyone out there who is going through the same dark and painful emotions that my dear friend once experienced. I whole-heartedly hope that anyone going through depression, or who is having suicidal thoughts, would reach out for help.