I never intended to write about this as the story I’m about to share is a deeply personal and troubling experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. However, I decided I would share it because it’s an opportunity to demonstrate how terribly cruel and merciless this disorder can be. Let’s say the ‘demon’ in ‘demonstrate’ is fitting for this post.
This past Sunday, October 14th marked the 6th anniversary of the passing of a dear friend. Her name is Nicole. I first met Nicole in my sophomore year of university. We lived in a co-ed dormitory and long story short she quickly established her place in our close-knit circle. And it was easy for her to do because of her incredibly contagious personality.
Think of an amazing person in your life – someone who brightens the room with a single smile – who can effortlessly calm troubled waters by the selfless act of offering her gift of listening. Think about that person in your life who made you believe that you could accomplish anything after convincing you to perform Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” during Thursday night Karaoke…in front of 150 to 200 patrons…knowing full well you can’t sing worth of shit. And think of her joining you so she too could share in that raw state of humiliation…and enjoying every second of it. Think about those all-night talks that you share about life – with that special person in your life that you’re so happy to share an all-night talk with. And think about that person in your life who owns that envious “never quit” attitude about everything…even when faced with fucking terminal cancer.
Now think in that same year, while this special friend is resting in palliative care, you are diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Think about being so mentally incapacitated that you lacked the strength to reach out to her – one of the most wonderful human beings that you’ve ever had the privilege to share a short time of your life with – when she needed you the most. Think about that excruciating drive to her wake – tormented, knowing that if you would have been in her shoes, she would have been by your side until the end – reminding yourself constantly that you failed her. And finally – know that I could never find the words to describe this final experience: now think about having to look her mother in the eye…
In that moment, I believe I descended to the lowest form of human dignity. And in that moment, my disorder revelled in this unspeakable misery – it thrived on it. From this experience, I’ve lived the relentless, merciless and cruel nature of depression. It truly is fucking cruel.
Amazingly, Nicole left an everlasting legacy in the hearts of those who truly knew her. It’s amazing to me because I know exactly what she would say to me right now if she were standing over my shoulder, reading my post as I write it. Her words, they penetrate my heart, with so much force that it mutes any enduring attempt of my disorder to suffocate me in this memory. She was, and is, an incredible person.
I invite you to take a couple of minutes and listen to this song…I remember her loving this until the day she left us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnQ8N1KacJc (Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) by Green Day).
Rest in Peace, Nicole. I miss you terribly.