Your friend took their life. They may have called it Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder but it doesn’t matter now…they’re gone. You may be asking yourself, “How can someone who was with us just yesterday, simply never show up again for class or for work? They looked fine. There wasn’t anything really wrong with them. What did I miss? What could I have done? Is it my fault? What do I do now?”
No, it is not your fault. But these are some very good questions and they deserve answers. So let’s feel into them for a while.
When a Friend Took their Life: Taking a Closer Look
It’s best to take a deep breath and consider each of your questions one at a time. Each one takes time for you to feel…really feel…the truth.
1. How can someone who was with us just yesterday, simply never show up again for class or work?
No matter how well you did or didn’t know them, your Subconscious Mind knew them well. They were a part of your life, like the air that you breathe. You saw them, heard them and knew what they were going to say next. They had a family, a story and their story was a part of your story - and it still is. We often don’t think about the journey we are on and where we all are heading one day, but we are. What will be remembered about each of us is the life we lived, the love we shared and the difference we made in each other’s lives. What positive things do you know now, and can carry with you forever, because your friend lived and was…your friend?
2. They’re gone.
They are still here. That’s why you feel the way you do. Your Subconscious Mind always remembers everything. Every thought, every feeling and every person continues to live in and contribute to your life. Your Conscious Mind struggles to understand this. You need to come up with words that describe what you, in your heart and in your Subconscious Mind, know to be true. They are still with you. They are no longer in pain. All they love and wisdom they shared with you is now available, without distortions.
3. There wasn’t anything really wrong with them.
As you now know, something was wrong. Their Conscious Mind could not align with their Subconscious Mind, no matter how hard they tried. Their sense of self wasn’t available to them. Their ability to feel love, compassion, even empathy left them. They may have been angry, over nothing. They may have judged themselves or others harshly - for no apparent reason that made any sense. And they may have sought the comfort of some addiction to ease their pain leading to raw feelings of emptiness. This is how the mind operates during depression. It is an illness that can lead to death in anyone…truly anyone.
4. What did I miss?
You may have noticed nothing as they may never have shared any of this with you. Let this sink in as we all need to be a little more gentle with each other. We all struggle at times on this life journey. On the other hand, you may have known everything. You may have been involved in every aspect of this whirlwind, even up to the last moments of their life. You missed nothing. You responded naturally to thoughts and feelings that no longer made sense. No one can disconnect their mind to truly know how a person with depression is truly feeling at any one time. Even if you could disconnect your mind, you still would feel the same. You both would be in little boats, out of control without a rudder. You did your best. They died of their illness.
5. What could I have done?
As you think back you might be able to imagine any number of things you could have said or done differently. But that would not have been you. You made the decisions your Subconscious Mind felt were the best. You can’t change who you are and they knew that. This was a dance led by their depression. Anything you would have said or done would have been countered by their depression. You couldn’t make them feel better, they were medically depressed much like a stroke.
6. Is it my fault my friend took their life?
Only if you are God and yet - this question is a question that leaves you reaching for your Spiritual Source, for your answers. This is a wake-up call. Feelings of depression mean you care. Feelings of worthlessness mean you are reaching to understand your true value. Feelings of anger have you reaching to align your considerable strengths with what is really important to you. You are compassionate, you are loving and you care.
7. What do I do with these feelings?
These feelings take time to “feel into” and sound out your depths. Give them the time and space they need. Share them with someone. Our Subconscious Mind connects with others on many levels and yours is now seeking the support of those you trust. If you desire, reach out to a trusted counselor who can walk with you for a while on this part of your journey.
Lastly, if you are now or ever feeling suicidal, reach out. This is your journey and it is unique and precious. It is unlike any other. Reach out to those who know and love you. Reach out until you feel heard and until you have found your answers…