“I’m good man. I’m good…”
Around this time last year, depression became a real thing for me. Not that I was suffering from it, but I had watched what it had done to my best friend. Someone who had always laughed and joked around. Someone who was so smart and witty, now reduced to what seemed to be just a shell of his former self after the death of his parents, his sister, and the multiple suicide attempts that followed. When I wrote those six blogs on Jaquan last year, I figured it would be a way to get him some help. Maybe he would even read it and see how his actions have effected me. That he would see how much I cared and would snap back to the old Jaquan I used to know. He sat right in my kitchen, listened to me tell him how much love I had for him, how I wanted him to be in my wedding… and then a few months later, tried to kill himself again. My words had no power over the depression inside of him. His demons as bad as any drug, he listens to them and they often win. I hadn’t seen Jaquan since last January but I called him nearly everyday, trying to check on his whereabouts as he went from the house of family member to family member. Then around June, nothing. He had disappeared again, and I had no clue where he was. I contacted as many people as I could and finally found a family member of his that told me he was back in the hospital. She gave me a number for him but it was the number I already had and it was no longer good. I called every hospital in NYC and asked if they had a patient by the name of Jaquan but no luck.
I don’t know why I won’t give up on him. I feel like there’s nothing I can do. He’s too far gone and whatever I attempt in saving my friend and restoring him to who he used to be will only and always end in failure. But something inside of me refuses to turn away. I don’t know if it’s because I’m selfish and just want my friend back or because I’m naive and believe that I’m strong enough to fix this situation myself. That interview I did with Jaquan made me believe that I had solved my problem. That I made everything better. I was wrong. In both my belief and my approach. I approached it trying to make things better for me, when in truth, Jaquan’s life and depression has nothing to do with me. I kept telling him how his actions made me feel when I should’ve just listened to him the entire time and heard more of how he felt.
I finally caught up with Jaquan a couple weeks ago. I called a hospital in Staten Island where he had been admitted since the beginning of June 2019, around the time we had lost contact. A family member on Facebook contacted me and gave me the hospitals number. Now to call a hospital is weird enough, but to call this hospital in particular made me feel sick. First I was transferred to what seemed to be a mens dorm. The person who first answered the phone sounded as if he were a zombie. I asked to speak to Jaquan but he wouldn’t get off the phone. He kept repeating Jaquan’s name instead of going to find him and let him know that there was a call. Then another man got on the phone and sounded angry. Again I asked for Jaquan. The phone went silent except for the sound of a television in the background. Then a familiar voice picked up the phone. I tried to sound positive, happy. But Jaquan was not in a happy place. He sounded tired and exhausted. The first thing I asked him was if he was okay, even though I knew he was not. His response was “I’m good man. I’m good..” Every time I asked him a question on how he was doing, there would be a long pause before a short answer. I got off the phone but not before telling him that I would call him back the next day. When I tried too, the phone just rang and rang. I haven’t called back since.
I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do. Usually I feel like I can handle anything but this seems beyond anything that I can handle. I want to be a good friend to my best friend, but like usual, I might be holding onto something that faded away long ago. I hope I’m wrong about that more than anything. These next couple of months are extremely important to me as I’m getting married in May. But it’s hard to focus on my own happiness when someone I care about is in the situation that Jaquan is in. I don’t want to be selfish, but maybe a step back while he gets the help he needs is the best option I have. I’m afraid though. Cause if he doesn’t get help, I would’ve done nothing, and my best friend could be gone forever…