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I Overcame Helplessness

Joined: 5/27/2011
Posts: 1
I overcame helplessness.
Never have I felt so helpless as I did that night. One minute, I had been cursing D.H. Lawrence for his lengthy prose, trying to finish my homework, and the next, I was on the phone with 911, my friend having just revealed to me her plans to take her own life.
Thinking back, it’s surprising how calm I was: talking to the four police officers that showed up at the coffeehouse at 1 AM where my friend and I played Cranium, pretending that she hadn’t just told me there were razors under her bed. Taking her back to my room that night, since she refused to go with the police. Laying in bed awake, the longest night of my life, as she slept on my futon. Praying that she wouldn’t try anything tonight, trying to keep those images from running through my head but not being able to stop them.
We made it through the night, both of us, and I got her to the hospital the next morning. They admitted her for the next eight days. Walking back across the quad, seeing everyone talking and laughing and drinking coffee – it was surreal. Everything that had been stressing me out didn’t mean anything anymore. I could feel the weight of what had just happened pressing down on me, suffocating me.
I made it to my room before I fell apart.
My roommate got me through it. She put in Season 9 of Friends, letting me rest my head in her lap until I fell asleep. After that, when night came, I was afraid to go to sleep because of the pictures in my mind. She rubbed my back, brushing my hair until I could finally close my eyes.
The next day, when I went to visit my friend in the hospital, my roommate came with me, even though the two of them have never met. And when we sat in the sterile, indifferent waiting room with my friend, being watched by hospital security, my roommate made small talk when I couldn’t think of anything to say.
On the way back from the hospital and in the days that followed, my roommate kept telling me that my job was over. I wasn’t responsible anymore. I was not a mental health doctor. I had done everything I could.
But a week after that night, I was still a mess. I was wallowing in despair, in fear, in sadness, feeling so incredibly helpless. And then, my roommate pulled me off the bed. “That’s enough,” she said. She told me that I was not the one who was depressed. That I had a good life, an amazing family, incredible friends who cared about me. That I couldn’t let this ruin my life. That I could still be there for my friend without shouldering all the responsibility by myself. That I wasn’t alone. That it was time to move on.
And, finally, I listened.
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