Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Open Thread- The World Needs Friends

Tyler Clementi’s suicide is distressing me in a way no other news story did because it hits close to home.

I cut my wrists when I was 20, suffering from extreme depression and just giving up. Five of my friends saved my life, and they’re still my friends.

Tyler must have felt so alone, like there was no place in the world where he fit. He must have felt like an outsider, looking in on society like a poor cold homeless man in the snow looking in on a happy, warm, wealthy family at Christmas dinner. He may have saw everyone else happy in their place in society, while he stood alone, not part of anything. He must’ve been so scared…so petrified that jumping a few hundred feet into a freezing, rushing river was a lot less scary.

Hopelessness hurts, like literally hurts. It’s like being young and healthy is a curse because it means you have to live this painful, miserable experience for another 50 or 60 years.

If I could’ve been on the George Washington Bridge last week, I would’ve been. I would’ve told Tyler to breathe, to think of the people he loves. Think of how they would react to his death. I’d tell him there is no way you won’t come out of this stronger. You’ll have battle scars to show off in the future. Your life will go one, this is not the end. You’re not alone, you’re never alone. Hang in there…please, just hang in there.

The world needs friends, they’re like air.  


  1. fogiv

    …when I heard the story on NPR.  If there had just been someone to say, “this too shall pass”.  He was eighteen.  Just eighteen.

  2. I make them easily.

    My cynical friends might say too easily, but I’ve never found it to be a problem, at all. What? You open yourself up to being let down? Big deal. You take bigger risks getting in a car, embrace the occasional heartache to gain the reward of having a society.

    Perhaps the biggest problem people have with making friends is expecting too much of them. Everyone is who they are, as I mentioned previously there is no reason to expect them to behave differently. Everyone else is as fallible as you are, don’t make more of a fuss over theirs than you would want made over yours.

    On Facebook I have hundreds of friends, many of them from some dumb game that required lots.  Most of them I don’t know, maybe a hundred or two I actually know or have had ‘real’ contact with. But out of this cloud of random individuals I’ve made actual friends with an interestingly chaotic mix of them. Comment on a post I like (or don’t), share some words with the person, build a rapport that randomly reflects and builds.

    The friends I have made here helped me through stressful times. I’ve never had too many, by my reckoning, and I’m glad I’ve added all of you to that list.

  3. jsfox

    years ago  I had my own commercial production company. It was mildly successful for awhile but then the bottom dropped out and it went bankrupt. Most of the reasons it failed were mine and it was totally defeating. The night I had to call my brother-in-law and say it was over the money he lent to  keep the business going was lost. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. After I hung up the phone I was just sitting at my desk crying. The phone rang and it was my best friend from growing up. ( FYI he lived outside of Boston and I was NYC and we didn’t talk all that much) The first words out his mouth are you OK? He went on to say: that he had just been sitting at home and got this weird feeling about me that something was wrong. We talked for a long time and by the end of that call I felt better, not great but better. I realized my world was not going to come to an end. Without that phone call   . . .

    A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

  4. spacemanspiff

    I remember thinking where I was. What if I called him like I did sometimes for some random shit? Why did he go through with this when he knew that even if the situation was rough in his house he had all of us, his friends, to back him?

    A lot goes through your mind when you’re young and have to deal with the nature of this kind of death. I’ve been depressed before and it’s a scary place to be. It’s not that you want to die all the time. Sometimes it’s that you don’t give a shit if you live. There is a difference. You slowly stop caring. You’d rather sleep than face the thoughts that will surely be there… waiting for you to wake up. Torturing you and making you feel like it’s to hard.

    I’ve seen countless suicide attempts in my time in hospitals. We always knew who really thought about killing themselves for a long time and got around to doing it, and those who did it on a spur of the moment thing. Usually those that thought it out achieve their goal more times than not. Patients with a terminal illness. Those that are greaving a big loss. All sucides are sad. But the ones that really get to you are the ones you know that person gave it little thought. Because you know that it could of been preventable if he/she had reached out. You see it in the face of their family members. The guilt. The pain. All those thoughts I had when our “bigger brother” took his life come rushing back. The really really sad cases are those that attempted “suicide” as a cry for help or call attention to themselves. Never expecting that they would actually die. Taking to many pills of an over the counter medicine instead of rat poison ( warfarin). Thinking that they’d get their stomachs pumped and that would be the end of it. Not thinking of renal shutdown or cardiac failure. The look in their eyes when they are wheeled in to the I.C.U. Scared to death of dying…

    I read the young man was seen leaving his room with his earphones and iPod on. What was playing? He was focused. He wasn’t thinking about anything. He did not want to think. Lots of people passed by him as he walked towards his death. This is why I try to be nice to everybody and smile a lot. Everybody has their own cross to carry. You don’t know what is going on in anybody’s life the moment you meet them or see them.

    After posting the Facebook comment he committed himself. Maybe he had second thoughts and knowing he had taken the step of announcing his intentions made it less likely for him to turn back. ::sigh:: I just wish he had reached out. He was so young.

  5. …and perhaps others can illuminate me. But it’s very sad when someone that young, with so much to live for, commits such an irrevocable act.

    I think most people understand the mindset though. Sometimes you can’t see out the tunnel. You forget that there was a time when things weren’t bad. You think life will always be this way. It doesn’t seem worth living.

    Sometimes life is so hard. I had a friend of mine who stood, once a month for two years, on Hammersmith Bridge, with a rucksack of books to weigh him down in the brutal Thames tidal waters. He didn’t jump, thank God. Because he’s one of my best friends, and the probably the most talented Flamenco/Rock guitarists in the country, and a ball of energy and enthusiasm. Five years later, he lives in a lovely cottage in the countryside with his new wife and baby, who was born two months ago.

    Life is hard – but being life it always changes. That’s what has stopped me in the past, no matter how low I’ve felt, doing anything irrevocable, my curiousity.

    Some of you might know I had an awful summer. My lovely 17 year old daughter was driven to the brink of insanity thanks to a terrible drug experience in Glastonbury (she reacted badly to weed but we still think her drinks were laced with GHB or ecstasy – a lot was going down this year). She thought she was dying, and for two months suffered such acute panic attacks she was hospitalised for three days with all kinds of ominous neurological diagnoses. But it just turned out to be a traumatic panic disorder brought on by a near death experience.

    She was in complete agony for several weeks – all her muscles in spasm. In the darkest moments of pain and confusion in hospital in France, she said she wanted to die.

    But I talked to her and asked her. Do you really want to die? Or do you want your life back?

    She said she wanted her life back.

    Slowly, surely, with great strength and love and affection, she been able to fight the panic attacks back. Now it looks like she’s on top of them. In a few weeks she may even go back to school. There were times me and her mother thought we might have lost our lovely daughter forever, so severe were the symptom. But the dark days are over. And she’s coming back.

    Life can be good. Life can be bad. My daughter thought she was in heaven for a moment in Glastonbury, and then was convinced she was dead. Life can be ecstatic. Life can be horrific. But it always changes…

    And anyone who ever contemplates suicide should try to remember that.  

  6. What an amazing collection of stories and insights on this thread already.

    What a lovely bunch of wise compassionate people you all are.

    Proud to count you as my virtual friends.  

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