Over the weekend I unfortunately found out that a friend of mine had committed suicide.
I met him about 6-7 years ago at a revision session for AS Level Politics, we kept sporadic contact over the years but became closer in the past year or two... We even went on a couple dates but decided we weren’t the greatest romantic match. I introduced him to good sushi, sake and dim sum from the best kept secrets in London... and he introduced me to pina coladas at 3pm!
I remember him telling me that he liked our conversations because he felt he could talk about stuff he didn't always feel comfortable talking about with other people. I was more than obliging to talk about everything from the struggling times to mundane affairs like what was on the news and he made me see positives when I couldn't see through the grey cloud. I admired him and envied him but most of all, I liked the person he was. I knew he was showing me a side rarely seen by others. My thoughts go out to his family and girlfriend and to all the other thousands of people I knew he made an impression with.
I genuinely believed my friend and I were in the friendship for the long run. I had only seen him a couple of weeks ago... I still remember clinging furiously to his arm as I attempted to walk over the Covent Garden cobbles in killer heels, because the last time I saw him he had told me to wear heels because he towered nearly a foot above me without them! James and I weren’t the best of friends but I saw us swinging in and out of our twenties swapping life stories and supportive dim sum fuelled chats.
I make no judgements on those who commit suicide. Many jump to say that it is a selfish act. However, I think that at the heart of depression lies perspective. Once you lack perspective, rational thought becomes difficult, and then impossible. Without perspective and rationality it is very difficult to imagine yourself out of that dark hole of depression. My friend was beautiful, incredibly successful and most notably, he was extremely grateful for the life, and lifestyle he had. I cannot stress enough that he was not a selfish person. Depression goes deeper than egotism.
Not many people know that last year was a difficult year, my dad passed away rather suddenly, I found someone I cared for very much and who made me a better person, who is now 4000 miles away from and now a friend has sadly passed away. (among other problems that occur with people) all of course are of varying degrees of seriousness but that doesn't erase the fact that my heart is aching; I struggle a lot sometimes. I’m not trying to fish for a pat on the back or an extra compliment. What I hope I achieve is to draw attention to the idea that sometimes those who you least suspect are struggling... A happy exterior can often hide inner worries, or inner plight. Whilst I may write about that funny date or the man who kicked me on the tube, I, like everyone else, suffers from my fair share of problematic scenarios.
I want to let people know that it is completely OK to struggle at times and please do not let anyone think that your problems are not “serious” enough... If you are struggling, you are struggling; whether it is a pin caught in your paw or grieving for the loss of a loved one. Yes, of course there will always be someone worse off than you but that does not dilute your problems.
I urge you all to please lend support and open your arms and ears to those around you. We all struggle at some point and for many, a kind word can do wonders. More often than not people are too embarrassed or unable to bring themselves to ask for help. And most importantly, I know that talking to those around you will give yourself perspective when otherwise you might not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If it wasn’t for my friends putting up with my tears, tantrums and tedious rants I don’t know how I would have coped with a stressful and heart breaking few years.