Monday, August 30, 2010
"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out." -Walter Winchell
I can count the number of non-Internet friends and relatives who know about my suicide attempt on one hand.
I’ve always been fairly upfront that I struggle with clinical depression and that I take medication for it. In fact, sometimes I wore it as a sort of badge of honor – look, I have depression and take meds, but I have a successful career and I support my family. I don’t look or act weird, and I don’t bring everyone down by being a sourpuss. I’m a success story, just like all those other writers and journalists who also struggle with “The Beast.”
But everything changed with my suicide attempt. I had lost control. I had lost my mind. I had sunk to a low that I would have never fathomed six months before.
This was not something I could wear as a badge. It was something that terrified, angered and hurt my immediate family. And I was afraid it would alienate my friends. So I had to choose who I’d tell very, very carefully.
I must have chosen well, because the few friends I told have reacted with nothing but love and support. None of them have told me I was a selfish loser to do such a thing. None of them are avoiding me, and none of them, that I know of, have broken my confidence. But I think I’ve told who I’m going to tell. I’m operating on a “need-to-know” basis.
The good news is that my support group on Facebook has brought me many new cyber-friends who know the whole truth, and the fact that I communicate with them solely online does not make them any less important to me. Several of them have become dear friends, and their friendship – as well as their knowledge about my situation – makes me feel a bit less isolated.
Thank you to all of those people, both online and “IRL,” who have been loving, kind, and non-judgmental. There is nothing better than a true friend.