My best friend [Nancy*] became good friends with a boy in our grade last year because they had classes together. She started hanging with him and a bunch of other people on the weekends. They would go out on the weekends and she would drive him around. He started smoking [weed] around her and stuff got really out of hand. It came to a point where he would do it by himself a lot, which was really bad.
He would tell Nancy that he is really confused about himself, that he’s not sure if he wanted to live and that he was thinking of suicide. He stopped eating before he would drink so he could get drunk faster and he would throw up. He realized that if he wouldn’t eat and then drink, he wouldn’t really have anything in his stomach. He was really getting out of hand with drinking and trying to lose weight. He would tell Nancy about all of this and she would tell me. He told Nancy that he was dealing with depression and bulimia. He told her that he has a lot of insecurities instigated from middle school things. She tried to comfort him by telling him how important he was to her and how funny he was and reminded him that she was always there. He told her that his grades, his body, moving to Clayton when he didn’t want to leave all played a large role in his insecurities.
At this time, he really hated himself and it was getting really bad. Nancy would tell me all the time about this and I told her, “Nancy either you have to do something about this or I will. If it’s actually that bad, you need to tell someone.” It sounded like he was going to kill himself. She told me that he was contemplating it, but said things like, “It’s fine though, because he won’t actually do it.”
She was threatening me and told me that if I told anyone she would never talk to me again. She was getting so mad at me, but I didn’t really care. I waited a week to see if Nancy would do anything about it. She told me that she would think about it and that she really didn’t want to. I told her that if she’s not going to do anything about it, I would. She told me that it wasn’t my place to do anything and that it wasn’t my problem. I couldn’t understand how she was being so ignorant about it.
I drove this one girl home during soccer season and she brought him up and his depression in the car one day. I told her that I was going to go to the counselor on the upcoming Monday if Nancy didn’t change her mind. She told me a story about someone else that she knew that was depressed and it got to such a bad point that she caught them while they were trying to kill themself. All I could think was that I couldn’t let that happen to him. So I invited her to come with me to the counselor since Nancy wouldn’t come. So I gave Nancy her final warning and she wouldn’t do anything. I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to do something, but I couldn’t really tell anyone. I also didn’t want my best friend to hate me, so I was really conflicted. I also wasn’t sure if I was being over dramatic or not and if he was fine. I decided to go in with my friend from soccer to the counselor that Monday, it was so hard.
I emailed Ms. Bell [the grade level counselor] on Saturday and said, “I have a friend that is trying to hurt themselves and I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know if I’m being overly dramatic about it, but I want to hear your opinion.” She told me to come in before school on Monday, so we did. I told her that she couldn’t tell him that I came in, especially because he didn’t know that I knew and I didn’t want him to be embarrassed or to hate himself more. She told me that she would call him in about college or something. She said that she could tell by the way that they talk to her what they are feeling. You can tell by the way that someone talks to you if they are confident or not, how they’re feeling in school or outside of school, she said, “I can basically figure out where he is.” She told me that she had it from there and so she called him in on the same day. I didn’t really pursue the subject after that because I felt like once I had told an adult, I had done my part.
I think that saddest part about it is that it’s possible that no one would have ever said anything about it and he could have gotten way worse.