These past couple days have been emotionally and mentally exhausting, to the point where it’s like my body will either collapse or break into a million teary-eyed pieces at any given moment. Like I’m stapled together and all my stuffing is about to come pouring out and I’ll fall, deflated and empty, to the floor.
(Like I said: exhausted.)
I began partial hospitalization on Wednesday, a twelve-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week treatment program for eating disorders. It’s weird being back on a unit again; I’ve forgotten how overwhelming and helpless it makes you feel, and how controlled you are. It’s disturbing, too, because there are a lot of patients under the age of twelve and it breaks my heart to see them there, sobbing and literally scratching at the doors to get out. It’s surreal but easy to adapt back into because I’m among “my people” – people who understand the madness of living with an eating disorder, depression, etc – so that it feels almost normal and weirdly welcoming? I don’t know how to explain it, really, especially because it’s not necessarily a positive thing. It’s.. weird.
I’m going to write a separate post about the program soon, though, as I’ve got something else weighing pretty heavy on my mind that I feel I need to write about: a friend of mine committed suicide the other night. Even though it’s been a couple of days and I’ve had some time to grieve and accept it, it’s still so upsetting and confusing and tragic. I can’t pretend to understand why he did it, because I don’t think I ever could. I can, though, continue to hold him in the light and hope he’s finally found the peace he’s been looking for.
I’ll never forget when I first met him two years ago while in the hospital: he was a patient on the mood disorder unit that shared communal space with my eating disorder unit, and I spotted him one morning as he was sitting in the day room. He was in a wheelchair, his legs wrapped up in layers of stiff bandages.
“What happened?” I had asked him quietly, looking quickly at his legs and then back to his face. He grinned sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders before answering in a steady voice: “I didn’t jump high enough.”
And that was him: friendly yet private, casual yet honest. At the hospital, he was a huge support not only to me but to the other patients, a genuine and caring man. Even after we had left the hospital, he continued to stay in touch, checking up on how we were doing and sharing how well things were going for him – he recently had a new job and everything. He seemed okay. He sounded happy and settled – at least up until a few months ago when he hit a rough patch and was struggling badly. Last time I spoke to him, he was threatening to kill himself. His last message to me: “Didnt mean to scare you, I am fine. I really appreciate your support.”
Obviously he wasn’t fine, and I feel awful that I didn’t follow up afterwards. Would he still be alive if someone was able to intervene and help him? Would he have even accepted any help? Would that have made a difference? These are the sort of questions suicide leaves behind, ones that may or may not be better left unanswered. Either way, I’m sorry that he felt that this was the solution to what he was going through, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family now.
I hope he’s resting easy, and I’m really grateful to have met him.