Friday, June 26, 2009

Trying to Understand ...

On September 27, 2008 I lost my very best friend to suicide. She lost her life because of a mental illness that came on suddenly and unexpectedly.

It's complex.

I am not proud to say that I really haven't visited her husband or girls as much as I should. Visiting them rouses up pain and memories that are almost unbearable. It's not their fault. It's my fault. My inability to face her loss and the circumstances of her loss. I guess I'm just a wimp when it comes to REALLY dealing with my emotions when it comes to Cim.

I feel as if I let her down. I feel as if I didn't listen close enough and do enough for her. Actually, I really believe it. When I see her girls and husband, I feel as if I let them down. I feel incredibly guilty. This guilt sometimes consumes me. Somewhere, deep in my thoughts, I think that if I would have dedicated myself to her, really listened better, loved her more, comforted her more, been in her presence more, maybe she would still be here. It's not a blame-game --- I don't think. It's just a "feeling responsible" feeling.

All her life, except for 7 months, Cim was well, strong, healthy and very happy.
She had a WONDERFUL life, a life that anyone would envy.

She loved her beautiful home, her handsome husband -who absolutely adored her and she was devoted to her two intelligent, successful girls who adored and respected her as well.

Cim loved sunning by the pool with a cold beer, singing off-key karaoke, and taking photos of every moment of her life. Her door was ALWAYS open. Friends came in and out all day long. If Cim saw a homeless person on the street, piss in pants, unshaven and down-and-out she would invite them over for a shower, dinner, beer and jacuzzi. She was just that special kind of lady. She rarely passed judgement. Everyone enjoyed her jokes and sense of humor. If we wanted breakfast, lunch or dinner Cim would have it ready and waiting. 6am eggs, toast and mimosa's, 12 pm polish dogs & a cold beer, 6pm roasted chicken & a glass of Chardonnay. She did it all. She absolutely LOVED life with a vengeance. Let me say it again. Cim LOVED life with a vengeance.

And then, suddenly, asome illness took her in its vice and just would NOT let her go. This invisible "monster" needled its way into her mind and dragged Cim into a dark, dark place and just would not release her. She fought very hard and she got very tired. She couldn't' find a moments peace; not in her mind and not physically. She could not eat, she could not sleep, she could not think, she could not live her daily life, she just .... could not. Cim was truly suffering.

She saw doctor after doctor . She was in the hospital many times. She just wanted her peace of mind back, she wanted to know why this happened to her and how to fix it. I don't think the doctors knew the answer. Their answer was just another prescription.

No one could give her an answer. Not any of the doctors not any of her loved ones...not me. I talked to her for endless hours on the phone promising that "this will pass". But in honesty, I was just hoping it would pass. I didn't know for certain. I was just trying to lend her hope. Maybe I was wrong in doing so.

I know that Heart Disease is called the "silent killer". But I have come to believe that the REAL TRUE "silent killer" is mental illness. It's silent because no one wants to say it out loud. Mental Illness! There is such an unfair stigma attached to it. Great minds succumbed to this disease in the past and continue to succumb to it today. There is so much unwarranted "shame" attached to mental illness. It makes me angry. People who suffer from this disease don't want to be sick. Like everyone, they just want to live calm, happy, healthy, peaceful lives. They are NOT crazy. They are sick, strangled, incapacitated, scared and desperate.

I know of some folks who will tell someone who is suffering from depression, anxiety or panic "Snap out of it!" Well I say to them...Would you tell someone suffering from cancer, MS, Heart Disease, or some other sort of disease to "snap out of it!"?

No! You wouldn't because there is medical understanding and known treatment of these diseases. MS = degeneration of the meylen, Cancer= fucked up cells, Heart Disease = disease of the valves.

Right now, science isn't advanced enough to assign a definite equation to Mental Illness. Someday we'll be there, but until then...It's just a stigma. A silent killer, a monster.

It's been really hard. I miss her every single day of my life.

I really want her back. I want her back for her husband and her daughters. And, I want her back for me. I want her back for HER. Back healthy and happy so she can enjoy her life as she once did.

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