The Kids These Days
Pacific Rim & Co.

On Hope & Helping

Someone I love very much called me over the weekend. It wasn't the first time they've called, but it was the first time I answered in years, due to their struggles with addiction and mental health issues. You just didn't know which version of this person you'd end up talking to. 

But they'd tried to call several times after finding out What Happened, and their voicemails and texts seemed to be coming from the good version. The kind and loving version, the version I desperately miss. 

So I answered.

It was the other version.

They were very, very drunk and immediately started talking about suicide. About  a bottle of pills and balconies and being in possession of a gun. Maybe it was a super misguided attempt to empathize, but it only made me cry and beg them to stop stop stop. No no no.

Jason grabbed the phone out of my hand and hung up, alarmed at my hysterics and well-versed in this particular person's abuse and manipulation. 

"Why did you even answer?" he asked as I sobbed.

Because I thought they were better. I thought they deserved to hear from me that I was better. I thought we could be better together.

And then I called 911 and reported a suicide threat. 

I wish I could say that this person got help and is now safe in a rehab facility. I wish I could say that the cops found them, that I'd thought to confirm their location rather than just assuming they were at home, where the police only found a terrified child and their ex, who either didn't know where they were or weren't willing to say. I wish I lived even remotely close to this person so I could've tracked them down myself, rather than multiple states away. I wish this story had a happy ending because I helped, because I did something, because hope and tough love and the human ego and the brutal helplessness of watching someone you love self-destruct from afar.

I wish this person understood that I called because I cared, because I love them and because I will never, ever ignore or downplay a threat of suicide. 

Oh, they're just drunk.

Oh, they're just being dramatic.

Oh, they do this all the time.

Fuck that. Even a cry for help is a cry that deserves an answer. 

Instead, I woke to one apologetic voicemail from the police saying they were unable to find them. And one from someone who'd also gotten a late-night call full of bizarre, disturbing accusations about me and Jason, concocted out of their fury at him for daring to hang up the phone. And almost two dozen missed calls and voicemails from them, which I deleted without listening to. I did respond to the string of furious HOW DARE YOU WHAT WERE YOU THINKING YOU SCARED MY KID WORK OUT YOUR SHIT text messages, but only to tell them that I was blocking their number and to not contact me again until they're sober. 

I hope I hear from them soon, but I have to admit, that hope is wavering, flickering, dimming. 

But still. I hope. 

 

Comments

Amelia Bowler

I don't have anything wise to say, I just love your heart, and it's so beautiful that you are willing to love enough to be hurt.

Sue W.

I have no words. I hope this person gets the help they need.

Lauren

Oh man. I am so sorry for you girl. I hope they can get the help they need someday.

Ada

My mother is someone very much like your person. It is a constant struggle to keep myself removed from the situation, but try to not be the one who turned her away when I could have helped. She is a year sober (this time), and I keep hoping that this time things will stick. It never gets easier 27 years and counting.... Hopefully your person will figure things out before it is too late.

Stephanie Taylor

I understand this scenario. I have had to cut people out of my life because their toxicity and issues were affecting my ability to be well and feel safe. It was gut-wrenching at the time, but I know now that it was the right thing to do and I'm so much better off for it.

Lorrian Ippoliti

Sending love and hope that the day comes that this person comes to appreciate the brave and loving action you took for them. Also sending you love and hope that if that day never comes, that you appreciate the brave and loving person that you are. Thank you for trusting us with your story. xoxoxoxo

Jessica

I totally empathize... had to make a similar 911 call about one of my in-laws in 2014... They stopped talking to us in 2015, and life is better. You made the right call, suicide threats are no joke.

Amy in StL

Early this year I dated a recovered (recovering?) alcoholic. He's been sober almost 10 years but the thing I learned from him is that a lot of alcoholics have narcissistic tendencies and a LOT of unresolved anger. Although on the surface he's sober, his anger is very close under the surface and it's very real and very consuming when the least little wrinkle pops up. I thought I could handle dating someone that had been sober that long, but that kind of anger is not good for me to be around. He broke up with me, in an unexpected way, but I'm glad he did. I hope you are able to steer clear of that toxic person and I hope they find a way to sobriety and good health.

Dani

You did the right thing (x2!) in not ignoring a potential threat AND putting yourself first to remove them from your life. You did the right things.

Cara

Oh, Amy. That certainly wasn't what you needed. It never is, but while you're still feeling shaky yourself it's incredibly unfair that someone drug you in to their earthquake. I'm glad Jason was there, grateful he hung up and oh so hopeful your heart will absorb what your head already knows. I'm proud of you for calling, for not listening to the messages and for blocking any further messages. I hope too that something changes, but you can't fix it for them.

Suzanne

Been there (the calling the police part). It's not fun, even when you're absolutely in a good head space. I'm sorry that you had this person pull this shit on you, and then, yell at you when THEY were the ones threatening to do themselves harm.

Blocking is best. Better to know nothing at all than to be tortured.

Hugs to you AND Jason.

Zoot

I'm so sorry because, not matter how good of a place you are in, this is a very dark thing to have to go through. Thank you for your hope in others, even if they can't tell you themselves.

Dawn

I have a person like that too. One who has tried to destroy me in his own self-destruction. I cannot take the gaslighting. Recognize it if that’s what it is, and move away as far as you can. You don’t need their crap. You can care from afar.

Sara

i have a person like that. them going to rehab and moving across the country is the only thing that kept me from self-destruction 10 years ago. but I still love them with every fiber of my being. they are good right now. but my heart broke and i'm there with you when I read your words. I've been there so many times. its emotional abuse, it is. it is. IT IS dammit. but I know. i know how to prioritize myself but 3000 miles is the only thing that keeps my lying heart from convincing me sometimes.

Lindsay

This is so hard. Knowing what to do is so hard. You're doing the best you can with what you know, each step of the way.

And, there is hope. It's not the end until the end. That doesn't mean you can fix it, but there is hope anyway.

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