Trigger warning: This piece discusses themes of suicide and losing a loved one- if these issues are especially personal to you or hard to read we recommend heading to the homepage to read another one of my posts. If you or someone you love is struggling and needs support or a safe space, please call The National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
August 10th, 2020 is a date that will forever be etched in my mind and my heart. It’s the day I got one of the worst phone calls ever; my best friend had taken his own life.
At that moment, I must have gone through a million different emotions. The first one utter disbelief. I had just spoken to him four days ago. It just didn’t make any sense to me. How could my happiest best friend, take his own life? How can anyone so wonderful and loving feel that they are not worthy to be loved back?
My friendship with him was so wholesome and pure. He was one of the very few people in my life that I could actually be myself in front of, and he would never judge me. He knew my darkest secrets and accepted me for who I was. Our friendship was built on tough love and honest truths. He had some demons that he fought with for years, but that didn’t stop me from cheering him on and praying that he finds his way out. No matter what road he went down, I was always there at the end of it waiting for him.
He has taught me many things like how to love myself, how to coordinate outfits, and about darkness that I myself was lucky enough to not experience in my life. Depression for me was nothing more than “a bad day”, but for him, it totally consumed him. He was struggling, but you’d never know once you heard his infectious laugh that would overpower any banger party we were at in town. My bad day could be a horrible day for him, and he would still do anything he could to make me laugh.
Another major stigma in today’s society is Depression, Mental Health, and Suicide. If you’re unfamiliar with the word “stigma” it’s when a person acts and feels negative about a certain situation. Unfortunately, negative attitudes of beliefs towards people with mental health are very common in today’s society. And when the world around you is judging you, how can you not judge yourself? Depression makes you feel vulnerable and unworthy. While you can love others so much, you feel like you aren’t deserving of love back. That’s how Mikey felt, and it breaks my heart, and will forever break my heart, to think that such a caring soul with the biggest heart could ever think he wasn’t deserving of love. There wasn’t anything that he could do that would make me turn away from him as his friend, and trust me, he had gone down some dark roads in life only to come out stronger in the end. But no matter what, I and so many other amazing family members and friends of his were there to cheer him and his accomplishments on.
Can I brag about all of his accomplishments with you guys for a second? Because they are something to brag about! Right before his passing, Mikey was working full time, he bought his own car, and had just moved into his own apartment which he was so incredibly proud of. Not to mention, he physically looked amazing and had been clean for a very long time. Mikey overcame so many obstacles and really turned his life around. I will always share this with anyone who may be facing tough times like he did and will always be so proud of all he’s done in a short amount of time. I am a better person for having such an amazing friend in my life. A friend who was there for me when we lost our first home 3 days before moving in. A friend who was by my side during all of my fertility treatments. A friend who was there for me when I lost my job. Mikey was the most amazing friend anyone could ever have, and I just hope he knew how much he meant to me and how much I loved him.
Grief is one hell of a rollercoaster filled with emotions scattered on the floor. It’s a mad rush of feeling anger, frustration, and sadness all one ride. The one thing I have learned: There is no right way to grieve.
When I heard of Mikey’s passing I just became numb. I felt my brain shut off almost instantly and this empty feeling filled inside of my chest. It’s been about 4 months now, and that feeling is still there. In the weeks passed, I cannot tell you how many times I picked up my phone to call him to tell him about some ridiculous event from my day only to remember he’ll never pick up the phone again. I just finally gained the strength to go to the cemetery again to visit him. It was an unsettling feeling to talk to your best friend and not have them talk back to you. Let that be a reminder to you all: In today’s world, it can be very easy to dismiss one another, may it be due to political views that differ, or just the stresses of Covid-19 that make you want to shut down. Remember that tomorrow is not promised, and to love and cherish those in your life.
One thing that I did do in the days following his passing was reaching out to a Therapist who specializes in grief and loss. It was very difficult for me to pick up that phone and call but I had been through this before with losing someone I love and finding myself spiraling out. Five years ago when my cousin Thomas unexpectedly passed away, I became distant, depressed, and felt sorry for myself. All I did was drink, sleep, go to work, and repeat. It was an unhealthy pattern that continued for 6 months, and I knew I couldn’t go down that road again.
Being able to speak with someone who was a professional was one of the best things I could have done, and I encourage, no I beg you to take that first step in getting the help you need. I know it is easier said than done. And I am one to just keep my issues to myself and handle them in a not-so healthy way. But I reached out when I needed it the most. Mental Health does not discriminate. It does not care if you are rich, poor, black, or white. The happiest people suffer from depression and there is no rhyme or reason for it. If there is anything you take away from this piece today, please let it be that you are WORTHY of living, you are ENOUGH, and you will get through any difficult situation life may throw your way. There are many free resources to reach out to, and I encourage you to do so before making a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling.
Free Resources for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357),
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255)
Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741