n the past I’ve had many different friends, with many different feelings, talk with me about a various amount of things, but a few weeks ago for the first time one of my friends came out as having severe depression and that he’s thought about suicide before. It’s a confronting thing, and hard for both the person sharing their feelings and the one being told. When my friend – who I’ll call Matthew in this blog as to not reveal his real name – told me that he’s almost always depressed and has tried committing suicide before, I was shocked beyond all belief. Matthew is the type of guy to always make jokes, smile constantly, and has a overall sunny disposition whenever I’m around him, so to be told he hates himself and his life was shocking.
Matthew and I met a little over a year ago and we’ve been close friends ever since. I can’t explain the pain I felt when he told me how much pain he’s been in internally for years now. He comes from a house with an alcoholic father and a mother who prefers to impress her housewife friends over caring for her son. When Matthew told me how he’s been feeling he said it was part because he was afraid he’d become his father, part because his mother only ever talked to him when she wanted him to drive down town and pick her up some alcohol or food, and part because of bullying he’s suffering at his high school. He said that lots of little things keep adding up and up and up, and they chip away at his confidence and has left him questioning the worth of his life.
I did the best thing I could at the time (what with me still being in shock and never having an experience like this before) and I supported him and let him know that I’m always here if he wants to talk. I knew it wasn’t wise to pressure him and I’m not the kind of person to call him a drama queen or tell him he’s “faking it”. Depression is a serious problem, and suicide even more so, so I listened to him talk for over an hour, and I hugged him when he cried, and comforted him through the parts he found hard to speak about. Afterwards he said all he needed was to release all the stress, about how it felt like his heart and head had been at breaking point, as if they were stuffed and stuffed and stuffed full of emotion and that he felt like it was threatening to burst. Matthew said just letting someone know was like a weight had been lifted off of him and he almost immediately felt better than he had in weeks, even months.
I carefully suggested he let me know whenever he’s feeling this depressed again – as of course I was concerned for him – and he agreed he would and said he’d think about contacting a support phone-line or network soon in the future.
It’s a daunting task to let someone in and let them know you deepest darkest thoughts, but sometimes it’s what you need. Myself, I’ve had sad and self-loathing moments as any teenager usually has, but I’ve never regarded myself as he has regarded himself so I can’t say I’m an expert in what to do and how hard it is when you have depression, and I’m no professional who has studied psychology that has all the answers.
All I can say is don’t let it fester and boil until you consider taking your own life; if it’s too hard for you to talk to family, try talk to a close friend, if that’s too hard as well, try contact a helpline, talking to a stranger who understands your situation can be almost more beneficial than building up that courage and letting your close ones know how dark you feel on the inside.
If you or a close friend to you is showing signs of suicide, speak up. Even if you’ve promised to keep their secret, their life is more important than you breaking that secret and letting their family/a helping know.
You can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, visit http://au.reachout.com, or call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, also right here on TINO they have a topic page dedicated to helping a friend who is depressed, among many more other services/organisations that will help you or your friend. If you feel your r friend is in immediate danger call 000.
TINO Note: We have also added these fantastic videos which provide fantastic tips on having those tough conversations.
Also check the related topics:Suicide Supporting a friend with a mental illness