How To Reach Someone At The Bottom, Maybe.

Once, I was put on academic probation for failing all of my classes, and summoned to meet a panel of (presumably deans?) so that they could evaluate me.
I never went to the meeting. It was set for early one morning, around 9:30 AM, or something like that. I thought about going and explaining myself, but I was scared.

I hadn’t gotten up, clean, and dressed for an appointment (or class) at that hour in quite a while. Most days during that time, I slept well past noon; usually into the mid-afternoon.

My parents were aware of this meeting so, the tension mounted as the day approached. I would have to report something.

I walked timidly down the hill towards the admission building, past hundreds of others on their way to classes and study groups. But I never went inside.

On a busy college campus, you can walk around anonymously … pretty much forever without getting questioned about where you are going.

Later that day I would lie to my parents over the phone, telling them that the meeting went well, and that they would be giving me another chance to stay at the University.

I had bought myself some extra time.

One could certainly look back at actions such as these and deduce that I didn’t really want to die; after all, I was doing everything possible to avoid making an attempt.

I lied, I ran away – like, really far away, for a whole week – and then I lied more.

I guess that’s true. I didn’t want to die. Few people do; suicide is the ultimate conundrum from which there is no turning back.

But, I didn’t want to live like that either. As each lie piled up, one after the other, I began to put myself into an increasingly cornered and stressful position from which I believed I had no other choice.

So after every class skipped, after every lying phone call home, after every meeting missed, the reality that I would have to face up to the truth mounted.

Getting high on alcohol and weed helped me to forget. Sleep was a welcome insulation. But neither one lasted forever.

I’m not sure if my attempt could have been avoided, or if anything that anyone could have said to me could have possibly made a difference. I wasn’t really listening.

However, I can write myself a letter in hindsight that might make sense to the next boy or girl wandering around their campus:

No matter what you’ve done, you can come and talk to me. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve failed, lied, stolen, missed, cheated, or taken; amends can be made. If you are already at the bottom then you have nothing to lose anyway.

2 thoughts on “How To Reach Someone At The Bottom, Maybe.

  1. I hope this works. I say similar things to my son all the time (…well, on a level that a 6yo can understand) but I don’t know if they’re taking. I really hope they are.

    1. This is an important concept in your comment, and, also the reason for the word ‘Maybe’ in the title of the post.
      I have little kids too. I definitely think about this.
      We do what we can, and we must be able to take comfort in that. Some things are beyond our control.
      Letting go of the ideal that they’ll always be safe, that they’ll always follow our advice, that’s hard to do.

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