I'm not quite sure what I'm asking here. Not to pop the handbrake right from the get-go, but I just can't imagine any words really helping. People tell me not to feel guilty -- I still feel guilty. People tell me it's not my fault -- I still feel that it's my fault. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm being brash and shutting you down. I really don't mean to, I just want to communicate my mental state. I really would like to hear similar experiences and how you coped with it, and how it is months/years down the line. I'll try and keep this relatively brief:
About seven months ago, in early November, my best friend committed suicide. I met him on the first day of school in sixth grade, so we had been best friends through middle school, high school, and college. (I'm in my early twenties now). I did not see any warning signs, and neither did his wife, though she did say he was very distant the day he committed suicide.
He killed himself by ditching work, checking into a hotel room, and deliberately overdosing with heroin. For the first week or so afterward, I had convinced myself that it was likely just an accidental overdose. He had a slight, slight history with drugs (a little bit of pot, and mushrooms two or three times; he had never done heroin before). I figured he was just trying the next step, and miscalculated. But then his wife found a suicide note tucked away in their bedroom.
For the past year and change, he had been suffering from intermittent (but increasingly severe) seizures. His doctor kept on hopping him from medication to medication, which often left him groggy and out-of-it, especially in the months leading up to his death. He wasn't able to get a driver's license, since the chance of him having a seizure while driving was too risky, and had to stop taking courses at college. He wanted to be a doctor, but the financial burden crushed that.
In his note, he said that the seizures (and subsequent barrage of medications) made him feel like he'd never be the man that his wife deserved. He said that for months now, the thought of suicide was sometimes the only thing that got him through the day. So it had been something he had been planning for a while.
We had the kind of friendship where, for six months we'd hang out two or three times a week, playing tennis or just Halo or exploring the city at night, and then for the next three months would just stay in intermittent contact via text. When he killed himself, we were on the tail end of one of our "off" periods.
Last November was a semester where I had chosen to take a lot of classes. I also chose to work two jobs, one twenty hours a week, another thirty. To top it off, I was in the middle of pursuing a girl that I loved. I had never been that busy before in my life, but it was by my own choice. I shifted my focus away from my family and my friends.
For a month or two leading up until his death in early November, we kept on trying to meet up. He would suggest something, but I would be busy. I would suggest something, but he would be feeling groggy the day of and have to cancel. And sometimes, we just didn't feel like it. He asked me to see Gravity with him and a friend, and I said no because I didn't like the friend. I suggested the renaissance fair, but he had already been. We couldn't get it to line up.
I feel like I failed him more than anyone else. He came from a bad home, with an alcoholic mother and abusive father. I didn't have the best home life, either. We would meet a lot when things got bad and just spend time with each other. I knew him the longest of anyone -- he had only known his wife for three years -- and I wasn't there for him. That's a fact. People say that you can't do the "maybe" game in this scenario, but I don't see why I can't. If I had been there more in his life, especially near the end, maybe he wouldn't have felt so hopeless and alone. Maybe if I had just told him how I cared about him, it would have made a difference.
But instead, I was always distant and sarcastic. We used to joke about him having seizures, in the beginning, when they first started. I gave him the nickname of "Seizure Boy" (just typing that makes me want to throw up) and we both would laugh, but obviously it had an effect on him. That was a side of him that was really traumatic and impacting his life negatively, and instead, I mocked it. I never set myself up as someone who even close to sympathized with him about it, so it's no wonder that he never came to me about these serious thoughts. If I had been even slightly less of a sarcastic ass, maybe we could have talked.
I'm not angry at him for committing suicide. We had a mutual close friend who got very resentful about it, calling him an idiot and whatnot. But I don't feel angry, because I feel like it was my hand guiding the needle into his arm, too. It wasn't just him. Suicidal people don't exist in a vacuum, and I was part of the environment that allowed that to happen.
I'm sorry if this is too heavy for a help and advice forum. I haven't talked about this with anyone in any format, not to this extent. I know I should get counseling, but I don't know if I could manage to say any of this while in the presence of someone else. Even just typing it made me take my hands off the keyboard a few times. And I'm sorry this is so much longer than I meant it to be. I wanted to try and keep it short.