Well, just like that, today is the last day of the Scintilla Project. I have absolutely loved this experience, and I have already started nagging the ladies to do it again soon. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my responses – and here is the last one:
Today’s prompt asks: Talk about a time when you intervened. What prompted you? Did you regret it?
To answer this, we first have to talk about a time I didn’t intervene - at least, not enough. When I was in high school, I had a very close friend, P, who was suicidal. And I knew it – she would talk about it, and I would try to talk her out of it, and I felt this enormous weight of keeping her alive on a day to day basis that no 15-year-old should feel. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking “should I tell someone? Should I talk to her parents?” but I felt like that would have been a betrayal. So I carried her load, her secret, myself.
I’m sure you can see what is coming. Despite my sometimes-hourly efforts to encourage her that life isn’t that bad, she attempted. She came very close to succeeding by overdosing on a truckload of pills, but woke up within minutes of a probable stroke and told her parents. After an in-patient hospital stay, a subsequent attempt, another hospital stay, and many, many medications, she recovered, sort of. A lot of things happened after that to strain our friendship beyond repair, although occasionally she reaches out to me.
So. When another close high school friend, A, became suicidal a year later, you bet your ass I intervened. I told a teacher, I told a guidance counselor. I sat in a guidance counselor’s office with her and begged her to promise to me that she would be alive the next day. She couldn’t promise. I begged more. I cried. She cried. It was a mess.
She was, in fact, alive the next day, and all of the days after that. She never did attempt to kill herself, as far as I know, and I believe she is much happier now, although we lost touch after graduation.
God, high school sometimes sucks, doesn’t it?
I absolutely did not regret intervening. Who knows? Maybe getting a counselor involved earlier with my friend P would have prevented her from ever trying in the first place. Maybe it was what set A on a better path. But I knew I couldn’t handle the weight of personally being responsible for someone’s life at that age. Better to let the grown-ups help.
As an adult I now know that what happened with P wasn’t my fault, but holy hell, it took me YEARS to get here. I felt so much guilt and so responsible for what happened with her. And it makes me so sad for 15-year-old me.
I just looked at the calendar and noticed that today is the anniversary of the day that P tried to kill herself all of those years ago. I still remember the date. What does that mean?