Did I miss something?

Published 10:11 am Monday, August 7, 2017

Readers know that I am very open about my opinions. But rarely do I share my feelings and emotions, especially on a subject such as this.

A few months back The Port Arthur News lost a member of its family. A co-worker, who had been with us for a number of years, took his own life. I’m not going to share names, as I don’t want to bring additional pain to the family. However, I do want to share what this act does to people including those struggling with depression.

Now, I’m not a psychologist, therapist or counselor by any means, but I am a caring and compassionate person. Always willing to listen to someone that needs to vent or just talk. So when I began to notice a change in a person’s demeanor, actions and behavior, I felt compelled to see if I could help.

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Years of working together lead us to become friends, not just co-workers. Over the last couple of years, you could see emotional changes come and go regularly. Most of the time heavy drinking and calling in to work sick preempted these changes. They would last for a few days, then everything would be fine again.

I found myself going to his house during these times to bring food and water. But in reality it was more about just talking, listening and making sure my friend was going to be ok. During those conversations I could see the deep seeded depression, so we would talk about more important issues, topics that seemed to excite my friend and bring him out of his funk. We had many of those types of days.

Approximately one week had gone by where I hadn’t seen or heard from my friend. Work was keeping me preoccupied and the last discussion my friend and I had was quite positive. It looked as though he was starting to come back around. Or was that just what I wanted to believe?

Then the phone rang. Another former employee who lived in the same apartment complex let me know that the police were at his door. I dropped everything and sped across town as fast as I could. Waiting outside his apartment with one officer while two others gained access, ultimately confirmed what I had feared. My friend had shot himself.

For days and weeks after, I would think to myself, what did I miss? How could I have missed this? Was I so caught up in wanting to shed positivity into his life that I missed the real issue, the issue that was in need of more help than just me?

Many friends and family members have told me that you can’t help someone that doesn’t want help. When someone has gone that far in their thinking, they cannot see any other way out. And if you yourself are not, nor have ever been, in that deep of a depression you simply do not have the understanding to see it.

I appreciate their comments trying to help me cope with what had happened. But there’s not a day that goes by still that I don’t think about my friend. And maybe, just maybe, had I gone by on the day he decided to take his own life, could I have prevented it? Who knows? But what I do know now is I definitely will do more if ever faced with this situation again.

And would plead to anyone who is currently going though a similar situation, or battling his or her own bout with depression, to get help. And to others, do whatever you need to do to ensure you don’t end up asking yourself for the rest of your life, “What did I miss”?