This is a little weird for me. I planned on writing a nice post about how well I am doing, about how my treatment is working and I feel good. Yes, good. But, life happened. Or, should I say, mental illness happened.

This week I learned that a friend from college took his life. He leaves behind a wife and eight kids, all of whom are adopted. He was a good man. A man that I looked up to, especially in school. But, he also had his problems. He had been hospitalized multiple times and never seemed to get his mental illness to a manageable place. We talked about it on more than one occasion and I feel like I could have done more, although I am not sure what that more would be.

My hurt is palpable. I want to lash out at people. He and I went to the same college and I have detailed my experiences at the school before. We both were in a program for people wanting to be pastors and, in that program, you could not admit to having depression or dark thoughts. It disqualified you for the major. So, I am sure, we both kept our secrets. Our school also did not have an adequate structure in place to help people with mental illness. They just didn’t and it cost me and I am sure it cost my friend. And, so, I am angry at them, at their lack of empathy and their lack of help.

Mostly, though, I am thrown. What I mean is that I just feel off, like I was pushed off course. While we stayed in touch over Facebook and the like, we never got to hang out or spend time together after school. So, to a certain extent, I feel like I should not be upset or heartbroken. However, I am. I am not destroyed, but I am hurt. I hurt for my friend who felt this great pain. I hurt that I could not do the things necessary to help him. We talked about our mutual struggle multiple times and I hurt that he felt like he could not come to me, no matter how far we had drifted. Mostly, though, I hurt because of the pain that suicide brings to loved ones, that his suicide will bring to his children and wife, his friends, his family, and to those who were touched by his life.

At the end of this, let me just say that hope matters. When we lose hope, especially those of us who struggle with suicidal thoughts, then the terrible can happen. So, don’t lose hope. Find the thing that keeps you hoping for something more, for one more minute, one more hour, one more day, one more week, one more month, and cling to it. And, if you are struggling, know that there is help out there. You can  text START to 741741 or call 1-800-273-8255. Both are there to listen and to help.