- TRIGGER: Depression/Suicide.
- September 5th, 2010
Dason is dead. I didn't know him well, but I knew him well enough that it hurts me that he's dead. I went to school with him. He was a friend with a good friend of mine. I worked the night shift with him for the past six months. I would have liked to know him better. And he's dead. By his own hand.
He was only nineteen. He was going to school, he was in a band; he was finally going to get out of low-end, fast-food jobs. He was talented - his music was good. He could have gone somewhere with it. He was smart (he thought he was smarter than everyone around him, which irritated me to no end), and if you got him alone, he'd talk about Shakespeare and art with you. He had this infectious smile, and he was funny. He could talk at length and profusely. He was so tall, and so very good-looking. I won't lie, I'd been crushing on him for a while. And he's dead. It all feels like a bad joke: like I'll wake up tomorrow, and go in to work, and he'll be there, all, "You thought I was dead? God, you're gullible!" But I know I'm fooling myself.
I'm angry. I'm angry at him - how could he be so stupid? He broke up with his girlfriend, but so what? There are other girls out there. Plenty who'd jump at a chance to date someone as good-looking and charismatic as he was. Jesus, I'm saying "was". It's unreal.
But mostly I'm angry at this fucked up society that treats mental illness as a joke. Like most people with "problems", Dason didn't talk about it much. He mentioned once that some shrinks had wanted to diagnose him as Bipolar, but that he thought it was bullshit. The thing is, we live in a world that assumes that all young black men are angry black men, or criminal black men. So when a young man is angry and breaks the rules, nobody wonders at it. Nobody questions, "Is this guy mentally ill, maybe?" Unless you meet the stereotype for depression - which is, as far as I can tell, white, middle class, and frequently female - people just don't see it. People don't take mental illness seriously. "Get over it." "Man up." "It's all in your head."
But depression - unipolar or bipolar, organic or situational - kills people. This is a disease that can be fatal. How do I make this clearer? Death by suicide is as much a risk for people with depression as gangrene is for people with diabetes, as cardiac arrest is for people with heart disease. This is a serious fucking disease. How many more young people have to die before you believe that our problems are real, that it's not a case of entitlement or attention-seeking or whining? We are dying. I've been in hospital twice. Once I tried to throw myself off of a highway overpass. Once I came this close to swallowing a bottle of aspirin. Both times, only my soberness saved me - if I'd been drunk or high enough not to care about pain, I would have killed myself. I would have murdered myself out of self-loathing and pain.
And Dason is dead. When it hits me, I find myself hyper-ventilating, sobbing. Stupid things remind me of him. And I didn't even know him that well. I wish I'd known him better.
God fucking damn it.
I wish you well, Dason.