6 Months

6 months ago today, a boy I knew committed suicide.

He was one of my brother’s closest friends, and I was good friends with his younger sister (my school was small, so everyone was friends with everyone, you weren’t just friends with people in your year).

I was pretty fucked up after he died, but I kept it hidden from my friends and family, because I felt like I didn’t really deserve to grieve. I was not particularly close to him, and I felt like I needed to be strong for those who were.

The only person who really experienced how messed up I was (besides me) was my flatmate, and after a while this put a huge strain on our friendship, which we’re still trying to mend. I had already hit a rocky patch with my mental health, and after this boy’s death, I was completely thrown off track. My flatmate was the only person who usually made me feel okay (my boyfriend does too of course, but he’s only able to visit every 2-4 weeks, so I was quite reliant on my flatmate), and as he’d got a new girlfriend and was spending a lot of time with her, I felt very alone with the scary mess inside my head. I was pretty resentful of him. Eventually, I got past being completely broken and became consumed by rage which I directed at him. It wasn’t his fault, and I shouldn’t have resented him, but I did, and neither of us treated each other right.

This was the first death I’d properly grieved. Even though I didn’t really know the boy, my grief was intense.

When my grandparents died, I hardly cried. I didn’t feel very much to be honest. When I was younger, after various experiences, I’d learnt to keep my emotions at a distance. I numbed myself to them, because it was easier. Last summer though, I finally started to let my emotions in again.

I did not know how to deal with them.

Suddenly  I was really feeling properly, for the first time in years, and learning to manage my emotions has been… Fun. That was part of why I hit the rocky patch before the boy died. Most people learn to manage their emotions in their teens- I didn’t. I cut myself off. So now, at 20, I’m actually learning how to manage them. It’s hard. Everything in me says “Pull back, separate yourself,” but I know that’s not healthy. Part of the reason I have this anxiety disorder is because I didn’t deal with emotions when events were happening, so they’ve been dragged out and caused problems later. And now I’m a “proper adult”, I can’t blame having weird emotions on teen angst, I have to suck it up and deal with them.

It is not fun.

Erin

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