I Want To Talk About Gabriel – Mental Health Awareness Month

It’s been nine years, almost to the day, since I met Gabriel for the first time. It was warm, the sun shone and people were laughing and talking; it was fun to be alive. I genuinely thought life was good. I had just started a new job in a workplace that was very popular and my work was fun, something I was good at and enjoyed to the fullest. I had awesome colleges and made some good friends. It was a delight to go to work everyday.

Gabriel was an angel. Already before I met him I knew, just by the first glimpse in the corridor that he was too good to exist. A sweet guy; handsome, tidy, polite, attentive, generous, kind, funny – there aren’t enough positive words to describe him and there aren’t many negative words to say about him. In hindsight that should have been a hint that something wasn’t right.

It’s easy to look back and see but, someone like me couldn’t know. I didn’t know him well enough, he was already on his way towards the train tracks when I got to know him. How could I understand when the Gabriel I got to know was the perfect guy, the boy every mother in law would dream about? No one expect you too, of course and I don’t blame myself in any way. I couldn’t do anything, no one could. Still, he was always happy, smiling, laughing, joking. He shared all his secrets to success (we worked with customer service and dealing with horrible customers was something he was a master at. He had made a handbook on the subject.) and he helped everytime you asked him. He always made time for you.

His car was his baby. If anything was a clear sign that something was going on it would be the ad; he was selling his car. A car he had built from scratch. A car he would rather die for than sell. A tidy desk would be another sign. A smile too big. A laugh too forced.

I think a lot about him; I found a blog after he went down to the train tracks three months after I met him that first time. It was a side of him I could never have guessed. Chaos, demons, depression and anxiety. And hypomania. We shared a lot of emotions. The difference was; I had help, he didn’t.

I often come back to him, especially when someone decides to take their life. It’s not strange really, he is the one closest to me who have crossed that thin line between life and death. I can’t even imagine what went through his head when he chose to walk onto the tracks but I wish he had felt that he had even one person who could have helped him enough to stop him. He had people around him who loved him but sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes a person just is too good for this world, I like to think about Gabriel like that.

Suicide is horrible. It destroys families. Hurts the people around you. But the people who decides to kill themselves doesn’t do it out of ill will or because they are selfish. I know it is said a lot but still, people say it all the time, that taking one’s life is the most selfish thing you can do. No, it is actually the most selfless thing you can do. In your mind it is. All you wish is for your loved ones to have peace. You are the cause of the grief and the trouble in your family and there is only one solution; to disappear. That’s how the mind of a really sick person work.

Committing suicide isn’t the easy way out. It’s nothing you do on a whim. You plan it. Gabriel prepared his suicide. It’s sounds awful but it’s very clear; sell the car, clean up your workspace, say a proper good bye to all your colleges before you go on vacation, water your flowers, pay your bills. You make everything easy on your loved ones. But he was so happy you might say. Yes, but that is another sign. A clearly depressed person often lighten up and even become happy once they have decided to leave. It’s normal, if you can call anything in this situation normal, that your feel relief once you know what’s gonna happen. You know there is an end to your pain. Gabriel knew. All he did was to wait for his vacation to start. I’m sure because he didn’t want to trouble the company in the middle of the summer when there was a lot of temps who needed help. That’s the way he was, the Gabriel I knew.

Some people can’t be saved, Gabriel was one of them, but most can. Be aware if someone you love start to behave strange. It is not normal to suddenly become overly happy when they the day before was deeply depressed. It isn’t normal to suddenly want to get rid of something they dearly value. It isn’t normal to start to clean out all the closets or give away all their stuff. Not if they just suffered from depression. Healing from depression takes time and it isn’t magically cured over night. Be there, help them and take care of them. And seek help if they don’t have a doctor. In the end, only love might not always be enough.

Gabriel 1987 – 2010

Featured image: PiNe(パイネ)



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