I am really not one to scream into the void like this, but for some reason it just feels right tonight. I know there’s only one person that might see this, but I’m honestly not sure if I hope you see it just so I felt understood, or if I hope it gets buried in your dashboard so you don’t have to share the misery. I guess this is my way of leaving it up to chance.
Tonight my best friend, a guy I’ve known for well over a decade tried to kill himself, and this time he meant it. I don’t have exact details but I know he stabbed himself in the neck fully intending to hit an artery and bleed out, and only through luck missed. I can imagine him passing out from the pain and waking up with a knife stuck in his neck, but as bad as it sounds, this isn’t a big deal.
I’ve experienced near misses myself, I’ve seen pain and trauma, both in myself and in others, but nothing compares to the feeling of helplessness.
I played the role of the good friend, as usual, and talked him back down from that metaphorical ledge, and for once he seemed like he saw how much of a problem he had. We’re both losers in our own way, so I guess it’s natural that he comes to me, but the problem with talking to someone every single day is that you start to notice the flaws that they can’t even see themselves.
His is choosing the short term comfort over the long term progress, but I let myself think maybe this time it’s different, he’s talking about putting himself in a mental health facility, maybe he’ll actually do it. As the night went on he started to shift from “I think this is going to need, like, hospital attention” to “I guess I could try superglue” to close the knife wound in his neck.
The backslide wasn’t just physical either, in the way that I’ve seen so many times he came up with a justification for why tonight just wasn’t the right time to go into the hospital and put himself into a mental health facility. No, he needed to wait for Monday so he could see the doctor that he likes, and since this will make him more comfortable he feels like this will increase his chances of getting better.
This may make sense on the surface but to me, it’s the most obvious thing in the world. He wants to put it off until he feels like he’s past the worst part, which will let him create another justification for why he can just keep it secret and keep lying to his doctors. This is the worst part, the helplessness. I somehow lack the words to put my understanding into his brain, no matter how hard I try, it feels like failure.
So I wait, friend shaped guillotine gleaming over my head, knowing that if (when?) it finally falls, it will be because I wasn’t good enough to stop it. I can’t even fix myself and I don’t know how I ever got it in my head that I could fix him, but once you start trying you can’t ever stop.