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Old 12-17-04, 09:58 AM
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My friend is suicidal and I don't know what to do

One of my dearest friends has just gotten out of de-tox for alcoholism. She's been slowly going down hill for a couple of months, I kept hoping she would get it together but things just seem to be getting worse.

Nineteen is so young to be an alcoholic, I thought at first that she was misdiagnosed; but, the signs and symptoms are all there. At nineteen she has seen more hell then a lot of adults molested as a child by an uncle and a clergyman unable to tell anyone she suffered abuse for years holding in deep inside herself until it nearly ate her alive. In her heart she believes it's her fault and that she is worthless. She has no faith in anything not even herself and without a glimmer of faith there is never hope for a future.

This last month has been incredibly hard on her. Her best friend and ex-boyfriend who had been clean for two years shot and killed himself on his second anniversary of sobriety, another friend overdosed and was dumped on a corner in front of a hospital by his "friends" like day old garbage, she's had to go thru de-tox again and her grandmother just passed away. I mean this kid has been thru hell and back so I can understand the mood swings, crying jags, put downs, quietness and outrage at the world.

What scares me now is that last night she seemed at peace with the world. I know you do not find peace overnight; but, it seems she has. I have a feeling her peace comes from knowing her suffering is going to end, she knows when, were and how. I've been there and known that false sense of peace and was lucky enough to get a second chance at life.

You guys I'm so lost I just lost a friend to an "accidental overdose" which probably wasn't an accident. I can't lose another. I pushed Donna too hard and she pulled away and stopped talking to me, I'm terrified of pushing too hard with Jess since I seem to be the only one she can talk to. I have to do something but what? I just wish that for one second she could see herself thru my eyes; she's beautiful inside and out, thoughtful, kind, scared but who isn't...Life is scarry, it wasn't meant to be easy.

I can't do this anymore how many friends do I have to lose to suicide? And what I don't get is that they all knew what kind of pain, devastation, self doubt, self blame it leaves behind.
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Old 12-17-04, 10:25 AM
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Goodness Cherity, I have never been through that as far as suicide. I have been through deaths of close people but that was due to cancer. I can't even imagine what to tell you. I am pretty sure that when people get like that it's hard to grab them and hang on until they get through it because they don't want that. They want to not be anymore. That has to be one of the hardest things to go through. I wish I could help but you are in my thoughts and prayers and if you need anything please let me know.
Kara
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Old 12-17-04, 10:36 AM
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Kara,

I appreciate the thoughts and prayers. Somehow, I have the feeling that there is no right answer, if I contact her parents and warn them that she is dangerously close to the edge they will have to tell her how they know and she'll push me away, far far away but if I do nothing...I will not be able to forgive myself if the outcome is what I fear. I've been at a loss before but never like this. And I really don't understand how these people find me...is there a directory somewere? or is it that I'm not a good friend at all?
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Old 12-17-04, 10:39 AM
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Apparently you are a great friend and that is why they find you and trust YOU enough to talk to. Think about this. If you had to choose between doing nothing and her hurting herself, or telling her parents and he never talking to you again but not hurting herself what would you choose? I know it's not that simple but if you don't do something then you will blame yourself for the rest of your life. Or you could tell her parents not to tell her that it was you, maybe THEY could see the signs and picked up on it themselves? I don't know. It's way different when you are actually in the situation and I have no idea what I would do in that situation.
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Old 12-17-04, 11:10 AM
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I hear that you are really very worried; I can only imagine the grief that you are experienceing with all of the losses in your life. You seem to feel so responsible and helpless at the same time.

About your friend----You are really there for her; you love and care for her and she absolutely knows this. Stay with her and let her reach out to you; just listen to her. Ask her what she would like you to do;how she would like you to help.
does she want you to be her sounding board; does she want you to silently sit by her. [I know it is so hard to just sit back and "do nothing" but you are doing more than you realize.] If you would like to PM me, please do we can chatt or more.

Has you friend been assessed for clinical depression?
Has she attempted suicied before.
Does she talk about it now? Does she have a plan? Has she drugs etc available?
You could also consider a suicide hot line. I've seen them in action. They will assess and may even come out to your friend to determine if she is at imminent risk. Good luck and ......
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Last edited by Deeperblue; 12-17-04 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 12-17-04, 01:06 PM
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The suicide hotline thing sounds like a good idea. You might consider calling your psychiatrist or therapist for advice. Deeperblue listed a lot of risk factors for suicide... another is giving away of treasured material possessions and writing/updating a will. The main one is having a plan, though.

Personally, I would call somebody for advice, then RUN, not walk over to her house. Sometimes all a suicidal person really needs is a friend. People like to say that means it's all a "cry for help," but, "No duh, Sherlock." Any kind of serious psychological problem cries out for help.

Once I was with her, I wouldn't hesitate to ask if she was feeling suicidal. You won't be putting ideas in her head if she's that depressed... she's already at least thought about it, most likely. It's highly unlikely she'd kill herself with one of her good friends right there.

I wouldn't hesitate to get her parents or whatever the proper authorities are involved if you can't get an assurance from her that she is not going to hurt herself. I'd rather have my friend alive and angry at me than dead in the ground.
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Old 12-17-04, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exeter
"cry for help," but, "No duh, Sherlock." Any kind of serious psychological problem cries out for help.
And sometimes the person does not have a "voice"-so we need to be there to listen, help verbalize and advocate and direct by letting him/her know that there are really options; even if it does not feel like there are any at that moment in time.

Please let us know how you are doing??
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Old 12-17-04, 03:30 PM
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Sharing your concern with local medical professionals or what ever local crisis team is available will spread the burden of responsibility Cherity. You can't carry the world on your shoulders nor should you have to.
Take good care of yourself so you can remain a beacon to those of us that you lead the way for.
Fight
ian
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Old 12-18-04, 01:53 PM
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I'm there

Cherity,
I totally 2nd what Ian says take care of yourself

I'm wondering what advice you would give to your children if they were in your place?

My first response is that someone needs to attach themself to your friend's side.

Many times what has brought me out of a depression is to be needed. When I've had to totally focus all my attention on a crisis then I did and after a while my probs did not seem as overwhelming.
Don't know how that would work in this situation, is it possible her parents could put themselves in a position to 'need' her help?

Wishing you the best woman I really feel your heartache I'm there with my daughter who @ 18 also needs rehab for drinking, but in denial and has reached out for suicidal thoughts recently

I do know that if I MIGHT have followed thru with my gut feeling I might still have a wonderful Aunt and cousins (2) still alive.


Do what you can do and give the rest up to your higher power.

FIGHT is right Ian!





[itschaotic]

Cherity. You can't carry the world on your shoulders nor should you have to.

Take good care of yourself so you can remain a beacon to those of us that you lead the way for.

Fight

ian[/quote]
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Old 12-18-04, 05:22 PM
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There is some great advice here but I have to differ (very slightly) on just one part of it. It seems natural, I know, to share with parents the possiblity that an 18 year old is suicidal. However, families of origin are not always good sources of support. You mention your friend's past sexual abuse. What would most clue you in on whether or not her family would be supportive is this:

1. Has she revealed this abuse to her parents. If she has not, it is a clear indicator that she does not feel that they would be accepting and validate her experience.

2. If she has revealed the abuse to her parents, did she have any trouble getting them to accept her victimization or did they (however subtly) blame her for it?

3. For the sexual abuse victim there often is (from the victim's perspective) only two kinds of people. Those who believe the abuse happened and hold the victim blameless and those who do not. Your friend does not need support from those who do not believe her.

Substance abuse and substance abuse treatment aside, I believe your friend needs to be seeing a counselor or psychologist who specialized in treating victims of sexual abuse.

Is your friend having flashbacks? If she is, they could be playing a big role in her suicidal feelings.
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Old 12-18-04, 06:46 PM
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If she checked herself in for detox maybe you can talk her to checking herself in for treatment with this very severe depression. I don't know what it takes to get treatment without money but surely suicidal thoughts are on the list. It is so hard to help oneself when it gets this bad, maybe you can help her to understand that and that getting help could really help. This is a life threatening illness.
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Old 12-18-04, 06:54 PM
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What Can I Do to Help Someone Who May Be Suicidal?

1. Take it seriously.

Myth: “The people who talk about it don't do it.” Studies have found that more than 75% of all completed suicides did things in the few weeks or months prior to their deaths to indicate to others that they were in deep despair. Anyone expressing suicidal feelings needs immediate attention.

Myth: “Anyone who tries to kill himself has got to be crazy.” Perhaps 10% of all suicidal people are psychotic or have delusional beliefs about reality. Most suicidal people suffer from the recognized mental illness of depression; but many depressed people adequately manage their daily affairs. The absence of “craziness” does not mean the absence of suicide risk.

“Those problems weren't enough to commit suicide over,” is often said by people who knew a completed suicide. You cannot assume that because you feel something is not worth being suicidal about, that the person you are with feels the same way. It is not how bad the problem is, but how badly it's hurting the person who has it.

2. Remember: suicidal behavior is a cry for help.

Myth: “If a someone is going to kill himself, nothing can stop him.” The fact that a person is still alive is sufficient proof that part of him wants to remain alive. The suicidal person is ambivalent - part of him wants to live and part of him wants not so much death as he wants the pain to end. It is the part that wants to live that tells another “I feel suicidal.” If a suicidal person turns to you it is likely that he believes that you are more caring, more informed about coping with misfortune, and more willing to protect his confidentiality. No matter how negative the manner and content of his talk, he is doing a positive thing and has a positive view of you.

3. Be willing to give and get help sooner rather than later.

Suicide prevention is not a last minute activity. All textbooks on depression say it should be reached as soon as possible. Unfortunately, suicidal people are afraid that trying to get help may bring them more pain: being told they are stupid, foolish, sinful, or manipulative; rejection; punishment; suspension from school or job; written records of their condition; or involuntary commitment. You need to do everything you can to reduce pain, rather than increase or prolong it. Constructively involving yourself on the side of life as early as possible will reduce the risk of suicide.

4. Listen.

Give the person every opportunity to unburden his troubles and ventilate his feelings. You don't need to say much and there are no magic words. If you are concerned, your voice and manner will show it. Give him relief from being alone with his pain; let him know you are glad he turned to you. Patience, sympathy, acceptance. Avoid arguments and advice giving.

5. ASK: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”

Myth: “Talking about it may give someone the idea.” People already have the idea; suicide is constantly in the news media. If you ask a despairing person this question you are doing a good thing for them: you are showing him that you care about him, that you take him seriously, and that you are willing to let him share his pain with you. You are giving him further opportunity to discharge pent up and painful feelings. If the person is having thoughts of suicide, find out how far along his ideation has progressed.

6. If the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave him alone.

If the means are present, try to get rid of them. Detoxify the home.

7. Urge professional help.

Persistence and patience may be needed to seek, engage and continue with as many options as possible. In any referral situation, let the person know you care and want to maintain contact.

8. No secrets.

It is the part of the person that is afraid of more pain that says “Don't tell anyone.” It is the part that wants to stay alive that tells you about it. Respond to that part of the person and persistently seek out a mature and compassionate person with whom you can review the situation. (You can get outside help and still protect the person from pain causing breaches of privacy.) Do not try to go it alone. Get help for the person and for yourself. Distributing the anxieties and responsibilities of suicide prevention makes it easier and much more effective.

9. From crisis to recovery.

Most people have suicidal thoughts or feelings at some point in their lives; yet less than 2% of all deaths are suicides. Nearly all suicidal people suffer from conditions that will pass with time or with the assistance of a recovery program. There are hundreds of modest steps we can take to improve our response to the suicidal and to make it easier for them to seek help. Taking these modest steps can save many lives and reduce a great deal of human suffering.


WARNING SIGNS
Conditions associated with increased risk of suicide


* Death or terminal illness of relative or friend.
* Divorce, separation, broken relationship, stress on family.
* Loss of health (real or imaginary).
* Loss of job, home, money, status, self-esteem, personal security.
* Alcohol or drug abuse.
* Depression. In the young depression may be masked by hyperactivity or acting out behavior. In the elderly it may be incorrectly attributed to the natural effects of aging. Depression that seems to quickly disappear for no apparent reason is cause for concern. The early stages of recovery from depression can be a high risk period. Recent studies have associated anxiety disorders with increased risk for attempted suicide.

Emotional and behavioral changes associated with suicide

* Overwhelming Pain: pain that threatens to exceed the person's pain coping capacities. Suicidal feelings are often the result of longstanding problems that have been exacerbated by recent precipitating events. The precipitating factors may be new pain or the loss of pain coping resources.
* Hopelessness: the feeling that the pain will continue or get worse; things will never get better.
* Powerlessness: the feeling that one's resources for reducing pain are exhausted.
* Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, self-hatred, “no one cares”. Fears of losing control, harming self or others.
* Personality becomes sad, withdrawn, tired, apathetic, anxious, irritable, or prone to angry outbursts.
* Declining performance in school, work, or other activities. (Occasionally the reverse: someone who volunteers for extra duties because they need to fill up their time.)
* Social isolation; or association with a group that has different moral standards than those of the family.
* Declining interest in sex, friends, or activities previously enjoyed.
* Neglect of personal welfare, deteriorating physical appearance.
* Alterations in either direction in sleeping or eating habits.
* (Particularly in the elderly) Self-starvation, dietary mismanagement, disobeying medical instructions.
* Difficult times: holidays, anniversaries, and the first week after discharge from a hospital; just before and after diagnosis of a major illness; just before and during disciplinary proceedings. Undocumented status adds to the stress of a crisis.

Suicidal Behavior

* Previous suicide attempts, “mini-attempts”.
* Explicit statements of suicidal ideation or feelings.
* Development of suicidal plan, acquiring the means, “rehearsal” behavior, setting a time for the attempt.
* Self-inflicted injuries, such as cuts, burns, or head banging.
* Reckless behavior. (Besides suicide, other leading causes of death among young people in New York City are homicide, accidents, drug overdose, and AIDS.) Unexplained accidents among children and the elderly.
* Making out a will or giving away favorite possessions.
* Inappropriately saying goodbye.
* Verbal behavior that is ambiguous or indirect: “I'm going away on a real long trip.”, “You won't have to worry about me anymore.”, “I want to go to sleep and never wake up.”, “I'm so depressed, I just can't go on.”, “Does God punish suicides?”, “Voices are telling me to do bad things.”, requests for euthanasia information, inappropriate joking, stories or essays on morbid themes.

A WARNING ABOUT WARNING SIGNS

The majority of the population at any one time does not have many of the warning signs and has a lower suicide risk rate. But a lower rate in a larger population is still a lot of people - and many completed suicides had only a few of the conditions listed above. In a one person to another person situation, all indications of suicidality need to be taken seriously.

Crisis intervention hotlines that accept calls from the suicidal, or anyone who wishes to discuss a problem, are (in New York City) The Samaritans at 212-673-3000 and Helpline at 212-532-2400.

Source: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/whattodo.htm
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Old 12-18-04, 07:08 PM
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A suicidal crisis is very difficult to deal with. It is usually unanticipated and requires the helper to mobilize a variety of skills and resources. Following is a list of suggestions should you face the challenge of preventing a suicide attempt.

1. Encourage the person to discuss what prompted "death" thoughts. The more the person is able to talk about the specific details of the experience, the better he or she is able to understand the source of the crisis. Once a source is delineated, a course of action and intervention can be developed.

2. Elicit the person’s feelings. Expressing emotions is a way for the person to vent frustrations while securing validation and support. Common probes and statements include; "how did you feel when that happened" or "I would have felt hurt if that happened to me".

3. Use the term "suicide", "kill yourself", and "suicidal plan" when talking about the threat. Oftentimes, people contemplating suicide envision the process from a distorted perspective. It may be even seen as a ‘romanticized’ escape….a solution without notable consequences. Using these terms can bring the person into a sharper reality focus while enabling the helper to determine if a plan is in place. If the person has a reasonable plan to carry out the threat to end his or her life, the cry for help is more serious and warrants careful attention.

4. Assist the person in defining alternatives and options. Those who are contemplating death do not see life as having positive alternative solutions. Highlighting the fact that death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem can impart hope. Alternative solutions are available. With assistance, the person in crisis can have the option to select the best solution for the situation.

5. Involve professional resources as needed. Trained professionals can assist the person in crisis to deal more effectively with the problem and work to instill hope again. The challenge may be cultivating a sense of trust to include an outside person. In many cases, the suicidal person wants the helper to maintain confidentiality. It is important to emphasize that he or she came to you because of trust and confidence that you care to do the right thing. Encourage the person in crisis to value your decision to involve a professional counselor if needed.

6. Talk with someone after the crisis is over. Taking the time to share what it was like to be in the stressful situation is important. Venting your feelings and decision processes is crucial to re-stabilizing after your adrenaline surge. In addition, you may find yourself feeling ‘guilty’ or ‘inadequate’ for securing outside help. Remember that by bringing other helpers into the situation your intention was not to betray a confidence, but to save a life.

7. Realize the limitations of your responsibility. There are a number of ways to offer assistance in a crisis. Some include connecting the suicidal person with a crisis line counselor, accompanying the person to a counseling center, making an appointment with a psychologist, notifying his or her parents, or calling the police. If you have taken substantial measures to prevent someone from committing suicide and the suicidal person refuses help options, there may be nothing more that can be done. Anyone who is determined to end his or her life will find a way. Your responsibility as a friend or associate is to assist, support, and possibly refer. Once you have care enough to incorporate all resources humanly possible, your responsibility as a fellow human being ends.

If you currently know of someone dealing with suicidal thoughts, you are encouraged to consult with a professional counselor in your geographical area.

Source: http://www.counsel.ufl.edu/selfHelp/suicidalCrisis.asp
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Old 12-18-04, 11:34 PM
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I feel that Nebraska has a very high suicide rate and now I know why. After coming back and reading some of the posts I decided my best choice would be to contact a suicide hotline for advice and how to approach Jess without setting her off. I looked in the yellow pages...nothing. I called my clinic and two others...they had no number but adviced me to call Richard Young which is a mental hospital that specializes in depressed and problem children...they know of Neb. suicide hotlines but had no number to give me and adviced me to call 911 and ask for the number...the operator couldn't find the right information but kept me on the line long enough that about 45 minutes after I had hung up an officer did a welfare check on ME. Now, this people (pardon the French) ****es me off to no end. Especially during the holiday season that number should be everywere. I spent an entire day making phone calls and I still don't have a number; but, let me tell you when I do get the number you will hear from me and I don't really care what their excuse is for not making the number more accesible they will still get a piece of my mind (what's left), if it's money then I can not think of a better way to spend my time and energy then fund raising.

I finally gave up and sought Jess out in a more aggressive fashion I went to her house and banged on her door till the little turd opened it. What I found to my relief was a sobbing, broken down, sober child. Keep in mind that Jess is the little sister I have but never got the chance to know, I love her and only want whats best for her; but, I'm human and make mistakes too. Part of this is my cross to bear; because, in trying to protect Jess I denied her a voice, I denied her respect, I denied her the single most important asset in a friendship...HONESTY.

We work in a nursing home were 99% of our co-workers are female. Being a woman I know I have the tools to destroy another human being with nothing more than a look and a couple of harmful words said in the right ear. Women can and often are cruel creature's towards each other, it's something that I don't totally understand nor do I care to take part in probably because I've been on the pointy part of another woman's tongue too many times in my life to do it to another.

Jess' first real day back to work after de-tox the rumors started, I wasn't there so I couldn't say yeah or nay so I just got quiet. "I hugged Jess and smelled alcohol", "Jess is drinking and at work she was so quiet", "do you think Jess is drinking?" I heard many others; but, it's like a buzz in my ears and makes no sense. Why on earth would Jess start up drinking after she had checked herself into rehab and the fact that I know these women inside and out, I've worked with many of them for over 5 years what sounded like honest concern was actually concealing cruel intent. I had no replies for a lot of the comments because I was not there the first day Jess came back; but, I do know that she was not drinking I belive that with all that I am. Before, Jess checked herself into rehab I asked her point blank "So, how much did you drink?" and she was honest and told me. Jess did admit to wanting a drink after her grandmother died but said she hadn't had one and I believe her!!!!! Were I failed Jess is that I kept everything hush, hush and quiet so that she didn't get wind that people were discussing her like last nights news. I failed in that aspect of my friendship and in all honesty it's as bad as telling a lie to her face, you may see it as something else but if the situation were reversed I would have seen it in the same light.

Jess stopped taking my calls because a very "loving and concerned" friend thought to tell her about all the BS going on at work. Saying that I was among those who were talking (keep in mind this is also the person who supplied the beer when Jess started drinking again, while I know Jess' problem with alcohol is her's and her's alone I believe that Jess may have been holding the gun but this person loaded it for her). When Jess opened her door she started crying and asked me if it were true. I told her everything that I had done that day and gone thru trying to find her help or to find a way to help her myself, I told her that I did ask this "trusted" friend for advice saying that Jess' problem right now was not alcoholism that it was her past, present and uncertain future have all collided at once. But, that she was drinking again..NO NEVER!!!

My one and only saving grace is that the person who not only stabbed Jess in the back but me as well was at work. I'm in no way confrontational especially with friends or family; but, I couldn't even stand to look at her and when she walked up to me and tried to play buddy and I wasn't having any part of it and confronted her in front of two very full shifts of employees...if she wants to talk **** then let her swim in it too. I told her to never touch me, talk to me or even look at me again. I never even told her why I was so angry but she knew and said I want to know how much you know...as if...I just told her why so you know how much *** to cover? She then replied that she didn't tell Jess that I was a part of the back stabbing, now how did she know why I was so angry then and how did she know about that? She then told me that Jess would come around and apologize for upsetting me sadly that's were I lost it enough that they had to call in the DON and ADMIN I got right in her face and told her that Jess had and never has had anything to apologize to us for. She is perfectly legit in not believing in me anymore and while I hated it I understood it but I will never understand why you could do what you did. I asked if she had ever been to rock bottom before and told her it's like being caught in an undertow everytime you almost reach the top and can almost feel the air fill your lungs another wave crashes down on you and sucks you to the bottom. I told her the truly sad part is I don't think she'll ever understand what she did and what she destroyed.

Well, like I said I went off in front of a lot of people who then called Jess and told her all about it. She called me later and thanked me and you guessed it tried to take some blame and apologize but I cut her off. I know that she will alway's have a little doubt in me now and I hate it but do not blame her one bit. If I had been honest and told her what was going on then I never would have been put in this situation and that's my burden to carry and mine alone.

Right now we're all confused and hurting and angry and learning how to deal with it. Both Jess and I did tell our supervisors that they had till the end of the year to replace us I can no longer work in an enviroment that sucks the life and sanity out of me and Jess can no longer work somewere that keeps her sick.

Depression is still a big issue, today after work which Jess missed again I had to go to her apartment and drag her out of bed and scream at her...This is your life dammit and don't you dare let them take you down with them. I then drug her for a quarter of a block before she picked up the pace and walked with me. We didn't talk I'm giving her space in that matter but I will not and can not allow her to sleep her life away.

I don't know were we are and I don't know were we are going. I can only hope that she uses everything as ammunition to make her want to be well again all the harder. I know I'm not really making a lot of sense but none of this makes sense to me, it's like shaking a baby...how does that make a baby stop crying...This is Jess never once have I ever heard her say anything derrogotory against another human being and she won't even kill a bug and they do this to her, I don't get it I don't.
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Old 12-18-04, 11:45 PM
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