Monday, October 15, 2012

A text message out of the blue

On Saturday night, my cousin Emma sent me a text message. “Love you, cousin.”

Unusual. Emma texts me from time to time, but it isn’t to tell me that she loves me.

I held my breath for a minute. I thought about calling her. I decided I would text her back, see what she said, see how she seemed.

She returned my love with a little more love and then she fell silent. I didn’t dwell on it.

A few hours later, just as I was getting into bed, I checked Twitter. She had tweeted “You're sure gonna miss me when I'm gone.”

And that nagging worry turned into a full-fledged panic.

Emma has depression and anxiety. I’ve never thought of her as a suicidal depressed person. I've never worried about her in that way. But, still. She told my mom recently that she isn’t taking her meds.

I was drawing conclusions and they weren’t good ones.

I tried to tell myself to leave her alone, to stop being such a crazy worrier and resist calling her. I wanted to call my mom and I wanted to not call my mom. Emma is always my mom’s problem. She was on vacation. She should be on vacation from Emma, too. I wanted to call Meg. I wanted to drive to Emma’s school and knock on her apartment door until she answered.

I compromised and I sent her another text message. She responded almost immediately. Relief.

I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t heard from her. I don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t okay.

I didn’t feel entirely better until I talked to her the next afternoon. I still don’t feel entirely better. I won’t until she takes her medicine. Until she takes care of herself.

It’s so frustrating, being a bystander.


Laurie said...

You are justified in worrying about Emma. People who are suicidal often say goodbye in their own way to their friends and family and those messages sound like goodbye to me. I've been suicidal in the past and what has gotten me through is knowing someone cares and would miss me if I were gone. Make plans with her, call her, text her, make her feel wanted and cared for. That is all we can do but it often is just enough to prevent something from happening. How would you feel if you had these worried thoughts about her, didn't do anything and she did something to herself? I am not trying to scare you but from what you've written about Emma, you are justified in your worries. You are a wonderful and caring person in so many ways, you can make a huge difference to her.

Mummy Dearest said...

From someone who has been suicidal, and tried to act upon it a couple of times, I think it's wonderful that you and your mother are there.

However, no matter how much I knew my husband and children loved me, there was no turning back once I decided to do what I was planning to do.

Give her the tools to get help. Sadly meds aren't the only answer. Therapy, in and out patient programs are readily available. Let her know.

But she has to do it because SHE wants.

A said...

Oh, you guys. Thank you. I love my Emma very much even though she's an enormous pain in my ass. If anything happened to her, it would break my heart.

This is a battle she's been fighting for years and years (the first time she ended up in an outpatient program, she was in upper elementary school, and she's done lots of therapy and inpatient programs, too).

Obviously the medicine is only a piece of the puzzle, but it's a big piece. She isn't even resisting taking her meds -- her prescriptions have run out and she's just not making the appointments to get them refilled. (Too busy, she says.)

It's mostly my mother who deals with Emma on these issues -- and she's firm with Emma and makes it clear what she believes is best for her, but she doesn't force her. And you can't. You make her get the prescription and what? Drive down to Ohio every day to make sure she's taking it?

The whole thing just sucks. All you can do is love her a lot and be there for her and -- I don't know. Keep working through it, I guess.

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