I lost a friend this week. It was the second time I learned of someone’s passing via Facebook – the first being the passing of my stepfather 9 years ago. I was mindlessly scrolling through my feed on Facebook Wednesday evening when a post popped up with the letters RIP.
I didn’t want to believe it at first. It can’t be…
“Is this true?” I asked my mom. She and my friend’s mother are good friends. “I…I think my friend is dead.”
My mother was just as confused as I was. As I continued scrolling down the feed, I began to learn more about my friend, who I last saw on Christmas Eve 2018 when she and her family were passing through Salt Lake City. She was the first friend I made when I moved to Utah 15 years ago. She was a few years younger than me but she was mature for her age, perhaps more mature than I was at the time. Our mothers met shopping at the dollar store when her mom heard my mom was speaking to me in our native dialect, which has become a rarity as the years passed.
From the Facebook posts, I learned she had been suffering from anxiety, depression, and insomnia. I was in shock by the news. It didn’t sound right. That did not sound like the friend I knew. The friend I knew was mentally strong, perhaps the strongest person I’ve known. Even when I talked to her back in 2018, I didn’t get the sense she was struggling with her mental health. I guess mental disorders can be deceptive.
Yesterday, I learned she took her life. She lost her battle against her mental illnesses. I wished it wasn’t true. Unfortunately, it was. Her death opened my eyes to how destructive mental illnesses can be to a person. My friend’s decision and action made my battle with my own inner demons seem so…trivial.
I’m sure it provided clarity for my mom, too. I decided to confess about my battle with anxiety and had gone through 7 therapy sessions in the last few months to help me get a better handle on things. I didn’t tell her the reason was because of her. I’m not there yet and probably never will be.
She responded, “You cannot commit suicide, ever. It’s the stupidest way to die. God hates people taking their life. He created us for a reason. Those who takes their life will be punished.”
I don’t think, even in my darkest hour, have ever thought about taking my own life. I’ve thought about running away but never taking my own life. I assured her I won’t be doing such thing. As interesting as death is to me, I am interesting in living more.
I am writing this post to release the words that have been stuck on repeat for the last two days so I can move on instead of letting the thoughts consume me. My friend’s death hit me hard, harder than all the other deaths I’ve encountered throughout my life so far, even harder than the death of my dad and stepdad. She was far too young to do such thing with far too many potentials that now have to be forfeited. She was the first person I’ve lost due to mental illnesses and most likely won’t be the last. I will miss her and hope she is now in a better place.