Editor’s Note: This was emailed to Too Damn Young by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. While the people or names behind this account remain unknown, the feelings and moments may resonate with many.
I’ve been severely depressed on and off since right before my 16th birthday.
I had this friend in high school. I loved hanging out with him, he was hilarious. But we didn’t see each other much outside of school.
We graduated. I went to his birthday party. I was the only person who thought that I should get him a gift. I bought him something inexpensive that everyone likes. He was so happy when I showed up. He was thrilled and grateful when I gave him his gift. He said “No one else brought me anything. I think this is the only gift I’m getting this year.”
He was such a nice guy that it probably felt better to give him a gift than receive one yourself.
That was the last time I saw him.
We would only see each other at parties and there were no more planned for that year.
A month before his next birthday he killed himself. Later, I found out that he had been dealing with severe anxiety problems.
I was very depressed at the time, when I heard this news I was just emotionless. Then I burst into tears and would sporadically begin crying throughout the next few days.
I was sad that he was gone. I was sad that he had to suffer something so unbearably painful while he was alive. My illness was terrible, but I hadn’t resorted to killing myself. He must have been in such pain. I felt happy that he escaped his anguish. I felt afraid when I thought about how terrifying that kind of death would be. I felt bad that his family and friends were now in pain. I felt something unexplainable because he is such a good guy and he should be alive.
I wish I had known about the trouble he was having. I don’t blame myself for his death, but I feel like I could have helped him. Maybe even have prevented it because I understand the pain of mental illness and I think I could have been another form of support for him.
It’s hard to believe that he is dead. Maybe because I hadn’t seen him in such a long time. Maybe because I remember him from high school being a funny, sweet and happy guy.
My graduating class is having a memorial get together near the anniversary of his death. I feel bad because I don’t want to go. I don’t want to just forget him. But, I also don’t want to linger in this sadness.
I wish he could fade into a nice memory for everyone I know. I hate watching them so upset. He suffered and he wouldn’t want them suffering.
It’s been a year since his death. I still find myself thinking that he’s not really gone. He can’t be. Not him. Hadn’t even turned 20.
Rest in peace my friend. Eventually your family and friends will be able to remember you fondly instead of feeling sadness. I wish you had been given the proper treatment you needed. I hope that I can find a way to help people like us and prevent deaths like yours.
If you, or someone you know, needs help here are some resources: Crisis Text Line, Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-8255. If you suffer from anxiety, depression or another mental illness, you are not alone. Visit It Gets Brighter to see examples of others living with such illnesses.