It's been a week since my friend was involuntarily admitted to the hospital.
He'd been on a downward spiral for a month or so — he and his girlfriend had broken up, he moved out of their place, was crashing on couches and drinking too much.
I saw him a few days before he was picked up and he told me he rolled two days in a row.
"Whats the point?" I asked, "On the second day, aren't your reserves all gone?"
"Yeah, I just wanted to see what it would feel like," he muttered, barely even opening his mouth enough to enunciate the words. Being close to him brought be back to my cocktail waitressing days — the smell of a can of trash, full of beer bottles and waxed paper dotted with melted cheese and ketchup, with a couple dozen ashtrays dumped on top.
He'd been wearing the same clothes since the break up. I made him shower on two different occasions. Channeling my mother, the queen of the over glasses stare, I marched him to the bath, slung a towel over his shoulder, told him I'd leave a spare pair of boxers and socks outside of the door. He emerged, sheepish and humiliated, both times. But I felt like I *had* to at least get him cleaned up. He was still working! What must his coworkers think? I didn't know if it was depression or mourning — or if that even mattered any more — but when I asked he did NOT want to talk about it.
Last Sunday, he very publicly announced he was going to kill himself. I wasn't there; part of me thinks, if I was, he wouldn't have done that. He's never gone "full crazy" in front of me. Or my husband, who has known him since childhood. I've gone full crazy in front of him. Not in a public "hey, I'm doing this now" way, but in a private "I know it will be better for everyone if I'm not here any more" way. In a "I've clearly fooled everyone and I don't know how they still think I'm worth the effort but honestly I know I'm a waste of air" way. But when I'm depressed, I hit that wall of apathy and demotivation so hard, it's more of an abstract idea — a dreamy fantasy, tasting the barrel of a gun, feeling it in my mouth — or a visualization, what the view is from the roof of my building, what it will feel like to hit at the bottom, how long will my body hold on when my mind just wants to be numb.
He got out of the hospital two days ago. He spent the first night at my apartment, spooning with my dog and watching episodes of Nathan For You, getting up every 20 minutes to double check that I was really out of booze. I wasn't. It was in the hall closet, under a mountain of quilts.
The next morning, he left abruptly. "I'm going over to Nate's to pick up some stuff (presumably, that he left there the last time he crashed there)."
"Wait," I called out after him, "Where are you spending the night? Do you want to stay here and cook dinner with me? I have to go grocery shopping, please come with me." I could hear the shrill panic in my voice. Could he?
"I'm staying with Maria. I just talked to Nate and I need to go there now while he's still there to let me in." The sentence was punctuated by my front door slamming shut.
I immediately texted Nate. He had not heard anything about these plans. I texted Maria. She said she'd offered her place up, but hadn't heard back. Maria and I started brainstorming a list of places he could be. "Maybe this bar? That coffee shop? Who is his weed dealer?" He knocked on Maria's door. We both let out relieved sighs.
She texted this morning to say she fished him out of the gutter last night. I don't want to have an intervention. I don't think it will work. But part of me feels like if I don't say
PLEASE STOP - I CANNOT TAKE THIS - WE LOVE YOU - THIS IS STUPID - YOU NEED MEDICINE NOT BOOZE - WE LOVE YOU - DON'T DO THIS - I CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER YEAR THAT IS SHITTIER THAN THE ONE BEFORE IT - WE AREN'T JUDGING YOU WE JUST WANT YOU TO BE HEALTHY - PLEASE STOP - WE LOVE YOU - I CAN'T IMAGINE A FUTURE WITHOUT YOU - DON'T YOU WANT TO BE MY KID'S COOL UNCLE - PLEASE STOP - I LOVE YOU - NEEDING MEDICINE IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF MOST OF US NEED MEDICINE FOR ONE THING OR ANOTHER - STOP - STOP - STOP - I LOVE YOU.
when he finally does what he's threatening to do, I'll feel so much worse. That's selfish, right? I don't even know any more.