TW // suicidal ideation, suicide, death, pills
What happens when someone disappears without a trace; what happens when they decide to reappear?
How are you expected to react; how are you supposed to feel? Are you allowed to even be upset? I asked these same questions of myself every day for two weeks. I also spent a lot of time emotionally tearing myself apart.
I had an amazing partner who took care of me during a very busy time and lacked personal space; he cooked and cleaned for me, and sucked it up when my dog burrowed between us in bed. He even almost had me consider having a child. Flash forward to when I tried to break up with my partner the first time, all of my friends knew it was coming. But when I decided to try the relationship again, I didn’t tell all of my friends in fear that they would shame me or ask me why the hell did I do that again. And of course, it was pretty good for a little bit, but I was starting to catch on that something was off [with him].
A few months ago, my partner had went to the Dominican Republic to follow protocol for his work visa. I hadn’t heard from him for two days and I grew extremely concerned. It wasn’t until the following Tuesday or Wednesday that he finally admitted he was assaulted by a group of men and had his money/passport stolen (but still had his phone).
Why did it take him so long to tell me?
I had to fight tooth and nail to find out before he told me what had happened. It was exhausting, but I got the answers I needed & told him to please never hide safety things like this from me; he’s too important for that.
This wasn’t the first time someone had disappeared on me; not even two months earlier, I was dating someone and they also seemed to have disappeared into thin air. So albeit I’m a strong, independent woman, I still have triggers such as that one that will drive me into a dark place.
Although I didn’t want to believe that it would happen again, it would; a few more times in fact.
The Fourth of July is always a joyous weekend right? Everyone getting shitfaced with their pseudo patriotism and all – everyone including my partner. He and his co-workers partied the entire 3-day weekend, and I hadn’t heard one peep from him at all. Was I mad? Yes, but only because I hadn’t heard from him – I truly wanted him to enjoy his holiday weekend.
It was all sorry’s and “I promise it won’t happen again, I just wasn’t paying attention, then I lost my phone.” And again, I took the bait and went with it. Then it came back up another weekend, I hadn’t heard from him for almost another 3 days. I was mentally unable to handle much more, so I sent, “I cannot do this anymore, I don’t feel loved and I don’t feel cared about.” It was a long weekend of fighting, drinking, and coming back together over tears and FaceTime. However, I should’ve REALLY paid attention to the signs & listened to my instincts at that point. But, the hopeless lover and romantic that I am, I couldn’t give up.
Once again, things seemed to steady and he returned to his home country to fulfill the work visa requirements once again. He was living 6 hours into the future, and it wasn’t the first time we dealt with this. It made things difficult in terms of communication, but damn it, we tried. We texted and FaceTimed when we were awake at the same time, and I’d watch him cook dinner during my lunch time. It felt like he was back in my kitchen while I was working away. There’s something comforting about hearing the sound of a knife hitting a cutting board and onions frying in the pan.
Everything was okay there for the first week and a half; then it became much more inconsistent.
It started with a day where he didn’t text at all, which is fine, you’re doing the things because you just got home. And he would sleep such long days, his sleep was all messed up (maybe jet lag, but he was supposed to be good by now), and I really should’ve known then what was going on. Then he began to read my messages but wouldn’t respond; at first it was just two days, then three… then four. Then it went a whole week and the next, still nothing of mine had been read. It would’ve been exactly two weeks I hadn’t heard from him. However, as things go, he miraculously turned up.
So back to the questions – how am I supposed to feel? Am I allowed to even be upset?
It was a casual moment, I had been texting friends – specifically, texting with one who had been talking about a cute girl she’s talking to, with another discussing how my apartment is trash, and sending a third friend a meme about ADHD. Then I felt my phone buzz and I looked to the top of the screen, there his name was beside the green icon. As he was sending more messages, I felt my throat crawling down my chest and into my stomach.
To put it bluntly, within his two week hiatus, I had to come to terms with the fact that he has either: died, went off on a binge, or decided that I wasn’t worth contacting anymore. But to my surprise, it was only one of them, more like almost one of them…
As a girlfriend, you hope to be the person that your partner goes to when they’re feeling downtrodden or depressed. But sometimes, that same person that you love and trust may not feel safe enough to express that.
I knew he had been extremely tired the past few months, but despite the hard physical labor, him sleeping in so much when he got back to his home country, that wasn’t normal. Him barely texting me was odd; and not to mention he had confessed to me he had been feeling really sad one night, but he said this when I was barely awake. Yet, when I asked about it the next day, he only read my message and never responded.
Today, I found out that cause of his two week disappearance: he tried to take his own life. He took too many stress relief pills and overdosed, but someone luckily found him.
And although I know this is not my fault, knowing that night could’ve been our last conversation we ever had was absolutely soul-crushing to learn. I almost lost someone and would have never even known that he was gone. Losing someone who I told a few times that I, myself, had been feeling dark like that, would have ended me. So I have to ask as well, do I have the right to be angry? To be honest, I don’t even know how I am supposed to feel. I don’t get to be angry that he disappeared, I don’t get to be angry that I sat for two weeks questioning who I was and what I did. I don’t get to be upset that I was given less than an hour to digest two weeks of pain and confusion.
Now, I want to come back around and briefly talk about men’s mental health, specifically suicide awareness.
The 2019 statistics below come from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website and were collected by the CDC:
- 47,511 Americans died by suicide
- There were an estimated 1.38M suicide attempts
- Men died by suicide 3.63x as often as women
For the friends and family members who are concerned for their loved ones, reach out with something more than “I am here for you, I will listen to you.” Try something more like, “What can I do for you?… What can I provide for you?… I’m dropping off some snacks/food/movies/games that I remembered that you love at your door. I respect your space, but I am here to invite you out to wxyz thing if you would like to join me…”
And lastly, I want to say this: if you are in pain, if you’re feeling alone, if you feel like you have no other options – please remember, you are not alone, you are loved and worthy of love, you are wanted, you are seen, and you matter.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
- PFLAG Crisis Intervention/Suicide Prevention Hotlines
- South Carolina Suicide Hotlines
- International Suicide Hotlines