let me say a bit more

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 at 2:43PM :

In Reply to: & why this depresses me posted by Sadie from D007143.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Thursday, July 03, 2003 at 2:20AM :

The following is really all I want to write about my friend, because the details of his life should be more or less private. This has nothing to do with anyone on this forum, but I want catharsis, so ignore this if you want. He was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic at age 25, which is a late age of onset. He was originally from another country, & I believe that separation anxiety coupled with the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001 (he was in New York when the buildings were hit) contributed to the onset of the disease.

He became very withdrawn, until he was put on medications, but even then it was something he didn't know how to deal with, emotionally. Yes, it's a disease, but it's not something that will cripple a person once that person has had enough time to adjust to the disease & medications. Until then, the patient has to be watched very carefully, because he/she can't be trusted to take his/her medication on time or at all.

Though it's a disease, I think it is an exaggerated form of normal things humans experience. & learning what I could from his life has helped me to see not only myself, but other people, more clearly.

My friend was a very brilliant, handsome, & caring person... caring, that is, until he started to withdraw. It became nearly impossible for his friends to speak with him right before his trip to New York in 2001, 1st suicide attempt (which we all learned about AFTER his death), & initial diagnosis. We didn't know that he was hearing & seeing things that weren't there because he never spoke about these things with us. We just thought he was severely depressed because he was so withdrawn & obviously unhappy.

He never told us what he was diagnosed with & none of his friends tried to find out what it was, once he was on medications & he made us believe he was OK. He stayed at home for a year after his diagnosis, but then came back to school here, promising he would take his medications.

His medications were being sent to him by mail from overseas, since he didn't want to see a psychiatrist immediately, but they were delayed by a couple of weeks due to the mail inspection processes that have recently been enforced. We didn't know that he was on medications, much less that he was off his medications 2 weeks before his death. But he had jokingly spoken about suicide to my then-boyfriend a year before, who was disturbed by the "joke" at the time, but we forgot about it. I remember the night before he attempted to kill himself. I was sitting next to him at a dinner, & he was starting to become more & more withdrawn, again. Speaking to him was almost painful for me, because he wouldn't laugh at even a silly joke. I got up to use the bathroom, & he was gone when I came back. A friend of mine returned to the table, & reported to me that our withdrawn friend had gone home.... & I remember being incredibly worried about our withdrawn friend's state. My friend at the table told me, after my quiet questions (I didn't want to bother the other people at the table), that our withdrawn friend had been very concerned about his life - that he'd asked such questions as:
"How can I support a family in the future?"
"How can I live like this?"
We didn't know what he was talking about, but the questions were very telling about our friend's state of mind. The next day, 2 mutual friends stopped by my withdrawn friend's house, completely by chance, on instincts that he should be taken to see a psychiatrist & they would physically take him there. They opened his room door only to find him coughing up blood....

After the ER, he spent one week in surgical intensive care, under surveillance by not only his assigned surgeons, but by a couple of residents that I & one of his friends knew. It was through these residents that his friends FINALLY found out about his diagnosis (though it's illegal, to do this, but we HAD to know because we all loved him so much). He woke up once (they keep a lot of patients in the surgical intensive care unit under heavy sedation because being in the hospital & having some profound changes in one's appearance can be very traumatic for the patients). When he woke up, he struggled to move, but he couldn't, & we stood around him broken hearted, telling the doctors to put him back under heavy sedation. At the end of the week, his surgeons & parents decided that he was unable to be saved, & he was taken off the machines.

But we all loved him very much - he was beauty in male form, & even that illness, once it was managed, would not have altered the beauty we saw in him. Only death could take away his beauty.

-- Sadie
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