When you Can’t Keep Swimming, Just Stay Afloat

Someone from my University died two days ago, but I only found out yesterday. I’m really quite upset. I feel confused, numb, I feel like I don’t really know how I feel.

But mainly, I feel guilty because I didn’t reply to a message he sent me three days ago asking if he can come to visit. I don’t know why I didn’t reply, I just didn’t. I hadn’t spoke to him in a while and we reconnected because my psychiatrist had accidentally booked us into the same time slot; in which he kindly rearranged so I could take it. That alone helps to describe how good of a person he was.

I didn’t know he was having troubles, and he didn’t know I was having trouble but in the end each of our troubles became one another’s. Each session we had with our psychiatrist ended with a text to one another asking how each of us were. He was having troubles with depression, drugs and alcohol and that is what finally beat him.

I realize that no matter how much I educate myself on mental health, I can’t protect anyone from their pain, and I want to. I want to save everyone. This hurts so much. This inability to do anything to help hurts so much.

I feel angry and I feel guilty. I feel nauseous. I feel love. I feel regret.

I feel shaken, like a ghost is screaming at me to DO SOMETHING and I can’t move a muscle. It’s too late. I’m too late. I want to do something, even if that is to raise £50 for a drug and alcohol abuse helpline, but I don’t know how and I wouldn’t want to offend or upset his family.

I’m not sure if this was suicide, but to me it really feels like it. Apparently it was his last “blow out” before he came sober and his body just couldn’t take it anymore. I know from experience that when I’ve felt suicidal, I was not rational. I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn’t think straight. There was no room in my head to contemplate how my death would devastate everyone I knew. All I could think was, “I HAVE TO MAKE THIS FEELING STOP RIGHT NOW.”

I read back on a few messages and the second to last one had the words “keep on smiling for both of us you cheeky monkey” and that alone is making me want to stay strong, stay strong for his memory and everything he is/was.

Having written that last paragraph, I feel a little less guilty about not somehow being able to save this person. As far as I know, he was trying to make his feelings stop in the only way he felt he could. So why can’t I keep smiling for both of us? The answer is I can and I will.

I hate my life a lot of the time, but I love it enough to keep going. I feel so thankful for that.

All I can do is keep my life jacket on and remain floating. I can’t look down into the depths of the ocean. I have to look at the sky. The giant sky that is there for me to take in. It’s there for you, too.

When you can’t keep swimming, just stay afloat.



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