I really dont know how to put what I'm about to say in a way that sounds like poetry without leaving stuff out and I think this is an important issue that must not be left to interpretation of the reader (like poetry does).
I wrote a poem almost a year ago (its down here somewhere) about a friend that commited suicide (I will call him R from now on) and even though I still think about him constantly this past week he's been more in my mind, I dreamed about him last week and woke up in tears and then I heard about Kate ***** and Anthony Bourdain, I talked to some friends and they were thinking more about him these past days sooo.... background story.
I'm a doctor, I'm a resident. I'm lucky enough to say I have a lot a good friends some of them are my med school classmates, R was one of them.
After graduation we all pursued doing a residency and thankfully we all got into what we wanted, most of my friends, including R, got to stay in the same city we all studied together, which was nice because most of their families lived there and they didnt have to pay rent and stuff like that.
A few months before the residency program began R called me and said the most shocking thing, he confessed to me that he had been diagnosed with depression during our third year in med school and that he was doing well enough that his psychiatrist considered he didnt need medication anymore, but was going to keep an eye on him in case he needed them again, he had been off the medication for 8 months by the time he called me and this were his exact words after he said all that to me "I know I'm not okay, and I know this because I have everything I ever wanted, I have friends that I love, I have an amazing family, I have the career that I want, I got accepted into the program I worked so hard for and still I think it would be better to die, and it scares me a lot" I talked to him until his mom got home so I knew he was safe, the doctor gave him medication again and he was good to go. Two years passed and then he decided he wanted to go into Neurology and he got accepted into the most important hospital in the country, that was in another city so that meant he had to live on his own for the first time in his life, and get another doctor there, I called to congratulate him a week before he left, that was on February, we made plans to see each other in July.... he died in May.
Why do I think this is important?
1. My friend didn't look sad, he was always smiling, he gave the warmest, longest hugs and when he told me he was sick I was shocked that he had been going through this for three years without anyone noticing.
2. He was very aware of his disease and he knew he had a lot to be happy about. So this proves that it can happen to anyone and is not about feeling sad for a certain situation, like getting bad grades or having a breakup. Its not something you fix by "focusing on the good things".
3. Another friend was feeling weird and she told me she was trying to "shake those feelings off" until he remembered R and decided it was best to seek for help, she was diagnosed with anxiety and started getting treatment.
4. Another one told us he was feeling very bad, like if he was not being himself, and that he was thinking about going to a psychiatrist, because he was scared of going through what R went.
5. I miss R everyday and he left a huge hole to fill, and there are so many things that remind me of him and that I wish I was able to tell him right know but at least he opened the eyes of the ones that were close to him and made a few of us do and internal check up and actually pushed others to get help.
My message for you who read this is dont be ashamed of asking for help and dont make others feel ashamed, encourage people to know that the mind gets sick too, just like the heart, and the stomach and any other ***** in your body. R knew people loved him, R knew he was lucky to have the life he had and still his mind and his depression made him think it was not worth it to keep on living.
Its been a year since he left and he is still making impact on all of us who where lucky enough to know him