Something that’s been on my mind lately.
Maybe I should have named this thoughts, but oh well. Original title was the 1 thing that keeps me up at night.
(Since it’s Pi Day, if you are feeling it, comment your favorite pie. Mine is cherry, sweet potato)
I’m not a mental health professional, but I notice in my circles these past couple of years quite a few people between the ages of 20–30 is passing away.
Me and several friends been talking, and yes there’s a mental health crisis. I’ve lost people to other things too, but it’s overwhelmingly friends taking their own lives.
I’ve had so many friends pass away that some of them I found out about months later. I feel bad. We haven’t talked recently and I look on their Facebook to check on them to find out they are gone.
It all started in 2009 for me, when I started losing people. I was 18 going on 19. I wasn’t particularly close with Ryan, but my friends were. They found him in his dorm room dead. That was our “brother floor” and we definitely heard about it.
At that moment, it felt like I lost some sort of innocence-for me a never ending painful reality that keeps snowballing into a bigger avalanche.
They had an opportunity to go pay your respects, by signing up for the bus that was headed to his funeral and wake . I was dealing with some drama and racism in my major, and didn’t want to mess up more than I was doing, so I declined.
Then another friend passed in 2011. He was only 20. I was really close with this guy and wrote him a retreat letter. (Sorry for spoiling it for any one who hasn’t been on a Catholic retreat). I have so many memories of him in grade school.
This was all before I really found close friends, people and places where I could feel safe. I walked into many organizations with my guard up because I felt like I couldn’t trust people-And to a certain extent I don’t trust easily for the most part.
Then after I joined a service organization (I ended up dropping it), we lost several people. One in 2013 (he was only 20) and one in 2015 (was only 23), both in my pledge class. I ended up having a deeper connection, connecting with both of them on retreats. While we shared the service organization in common, we grew closer on retreats.
Their deaths are connected, but out of respect for both of them I’m keeping those details out of this article-but they did write about one of them in the Indianapolis Star. If you are friends with either one of them, reading that story reveals painful details. During my time in the chapter, no one wanted to talk about the first death and what happened-I didn’t want to talk about it either, to the point where I’m seen as cold and unemotional. But it does shine attention on the mental health crisis so I appreciate them writing it. But still so painful. It’s like being stabbed in the heart and being punched in the gut at the same time.
Just for the record, I never liked burdening or bothering people. I’ve gotten the impression that I was more robot than human but it’s just I am not an emotionally demonstrative person. So people think I am cold. I am not. I’m just careful with who I trust and I even have my limits. If something becomes too much I’ll pull a friend aside and say “hey I’m having a hard time with this, can we speak privately?” Or deal with it on my own (preferred method). But I probably won’t talk about the details of a friend’s death at a happy occasion like a wedding or baby shower. Even if I needed to vent, there’s a right time and wrong time to talk about things. Sometimes I just bit my tongue, because I read the energy in the room. Who am I to rain on someone’s parade?
And in 2014, lost two more friends. I’ll refrain from sharing the complete details, but it made me not want to be in school anymore, period. At that point I’m thinking it’s time for a new view and new change of scene.
At my first high school reunion, we had a little notebook for one of our classmates that passed in 2017. I was nervous for my talent show performance and I thought I was going to throw up. I looked out in the crowd and saw him waving his hands. Zac, for my first ever performance, I saw him waving his hands in the crowd.
And I lost another cousin and our granny that year. And Nico, the guy that always had opinions and great feedback on topics. One time, I was thinking about him, and I clicked on an old photo from 2013 and saw that he commented on it. He created a couple of buzzfeed posts that I can still look at. Yes I’ll like Pentatonix.
Then in 2020, I kept losing people to the point I have to count. It’s bad. But here’s a few.
My boy Erik that I eventually wanted to tour with passed March 2020. I looked on his Facebook and said what the f****. I remember having a conversation about him mixing my drinks and performing on stage. He kept saying there’s no way you’re 25. I gotta keep carding you.
My cuzzo didn’t make it to his 21st birthday. He passed in 2020 and I’ll be taking shots for him on his day, wishing it was him taking the shots instead of me. Due to the pandemic, I don’t think I’ll be bar hopping like I planned, I might just grab a booze bottle and drink on my own. Until I get my Covid vaccine, I’m avoiding big groups.
My high school classmate Matt is 31 and gone. He passed on December 31st, 2020. I’m like. F***** are you serious?
The biggest lesson I learned from Matt is communication. I never had the chance to tell him this.
There was this girl that I used to be friends with. She spread it around the school that she was going to prom with Matt. There was one problem with this. Matt didn’t ask her to prom, and it was dirty for her to do this.
Just because I like a guy, doesn’t mean I call him boyfriend. Even if he’s flirting, I don’t assume anything unless we have an honest adult conversation.
We lost touch in recent years. He was SO CUTE in high school to me-but I usually keep my cool when it comes to that kind of thing, sometimes the guy doesn’t like you back. It makes even the coolest calmest casual friendship awkward.
12+ years of losing people you wonder.
I saw a quote once that said God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers. But this is really testing me and hurts 12 feet deep.
I don’t consider myself to be religious. But if you’re testing me God/universe, it hurts.
The 1 Thing /That’s Been Keeping Me Up At Night?
If they were still here, what would they be doing? Would they be single for lifers like me? Or would they be married? I hated to see them go so soon. And not have a chance at life.
And I gotta be honest: when I turn the television off, I can sleep through the night. And I rather not wet the bed from drinking all the water if I can help it haha.
When I can’t sleep, sure I think about food. But I also think about my friends. Including the ones that are gone that I still love. Nobody is around so I can reflect and think of the good times.
As a friend, you wonder if you could have done more. Did I miss any signs? Am I a bad friend for not noticing the signs? My friends say it wasn’t my fault (and logically I know I didn’t do anything), but the school I was at at the time made me few this way by default. I know personally I felt bad. And my soft side that I rarely let people see comes out.
When people complain about aging, and getting gray hairs? I’m like I’m just happy to see that you’re 50. Some of my friends didn’t make it out of their 20’s.
I got gray hairs.
For immediate help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of not wanting to live or you’re having urges to attempt suicide, get help now.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
- Call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255 any time of day — press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line or use Lifeline Chat.
I know people who come across this article doesn’t know me from Adam. But I can also be a listening ear.