The Picador

What It’s Like to Have a Friend Struggle with Depression

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Last year I got a text from my friend. “Did you hear what happened?” It was one of those moments where I just knew something was wrong. “No. What happened?” She told me that one of our friends had attempted to commit suicide and was in the hospital. She didn’t know the whole story, just that our friend would be in the hospital for the next three days on suicide watch. Before that, I didn’t even know that she struggled with depression.

 

I thought about reaching out to her family to see if they would tell me more about the incident, but she wasn’t on good terms with her parents, and I believed it would only make matters worse for her. When she was finally released, I found out the truth. She had overdosed on pills and been found by her mother when she brought her brother home from soccer practice. I was 16 years old. She was 17. She kept her depression well hidden from everyone in her life. She didn’t have cuts on her wrists and didn’t struggle to get out of bed in the morning. She is adventurous and would do things on a whim. I would get texts at 7 AM telling me to get up because she would be at my house in ten minutes to take me to a new breakfast place an hour away. I never knew where our adventures would end, but whenever she texted me, I knew it would be something special.

 

July 4th: “Are you doing anything with your family tonight? I might come sleepover.” Of course, I said she could spend the night because I liked any excuse to have her over, but this was another one of those messages where I just knew something was wrong. Since she had attempted suicide, she had told me more and more about her personal life, but she is still a very closed person. July 4th was the night she told me she was sexually assaulted. It happened two years before, and the assaulter was a family friend. When she told her parents what happened, they believed her but did nothing about it. When the police were finally involved no charges were pressed. Her parents never stopped being friends with the man and that summer they had invited him to spend the 4th of July with them. That night was another crazy adventure, but it felt more forced than the others. We went to fireworks in Lincoln, drove to the Indian Head Resort to pick up another friend, then drove around the area for two hours listening to music and talking. Watching her that whole night and seeing how she had to almost physically hold herself together, showed me how strong she was.

 

I am glad that she didn’t succeed in taking her own life that night. She’s currently in college and dating a great guy. She still struggles with depression, but she is overall doing well.

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