My Best Friend Committed Suicide

Dawn Stergin
6 min readMay 17, 2020

Her Suffering is Over. Ours has just begun.

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

The US has one of the highest rates of suicide among wealthy nations with about 123 people killing themselves each day. It’s a national health crisis. How could we not have saved her?

I want to scream at her to take it back. I want to run to her house as if that will put me back with her. I want a rewind. I want her not to have murdered herself. Maybe another chance to talk to her would make it better, lessen her pain, convince her that outside of her mind life wasn’t so bad. But as if the twisted thinking of mental illness wasn’t bad enough she had physical ailments too. She spent years going to doctors trying to find out why her body hurt, why she was so exhausted, but couldn’t sleep. Fibromyalgia. Chronic Fatigue. They didn’t know but they landed on these diagnoses when all other tests and treatments failed. It was better than the doctors telling her it was all in her head or that she was a hypochondriac. Yes, they did this.

She went to every medical center in a 100-mile radius, saw holistic practitioners, acupuncturists, reiki masters, biofeedback, naturopathy — everything she or someone else thought might work. Some treatments gave some temporary relief. However, as time went on she became sicker and had fewer “good days”. She was put on many different medications, initially for depression, then mood disorders, and then she stopped bothering to mention what she was on. Some of them made her worse. There were periods in the last year when she didn’t leave her bed or eat for several days. Those of us closest to her took turns sitting with her, bringing her smoothies, trying to get her to get up. The last time I saw her I was able to convince her to sit on the front porch with me. After five minutes she went back to bed.

I first met Beth when I was running an animal rescue that began after Hurricane Katrina. The very first dog I pulled from the side of the highway in Mississippi was a little black Border Collie mix. He was as sweet and happy as any dog I’ve ever met. I wanted to keep him but already had three of my own. Beth responded to my adoption post. They loved each other immediately. Beth and I hit it off just as well. We found it difficult to stop talking and get back to our lives.

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Dawn Stergin

Former addictions counselor, empty-nester, activist, animal lover, writer and lover of what it means to be human.