What's on your mind?
"My sighs won't penetrate these walls." Jenna's mind dwells on that thought. Finding a familiar face, her interest slowly emerges. She reads aloud: "My favorite part of the day is being home after work with my kids." Jenna grins as she scans the group photo. Jenna taps her front teeth with her pencil's eraser. Her mind rolls over again, "Facebook isn't helping you with your homework. Jenna, Facebook isn't helping-" Returning to the top of the screen, she pauses, staring at the questioning comment box - What's on your mind?
Her finger's move across the keyboard, "Should I Kill Myself - Yes or No?" She clicks Post, then exits from Facebook. "This should be interesting . . . or terrible," Jenna speculates for her kitten, Fiona. Fiona purrs and curls herself into a pint sized ball on the heavy rug flattened near Jenna's desk. "Not a care in the world, kitty? Must be perfect, my little purr-ball." Fiona's paw presses into the rugs worn-down fabric décor. Jenna watches as the kitten's paw slowly draws itself back into a motionless pose.
Jenna finds where she'd left off from the assignment sheet. She spends the next two hours reading and re-reading problems and bookmarks, until her phone disrupts all focus. Her body jumps. "Hello?" A soft voice is recognized on the other end. "You have a correct phone number on Facebook," Melanie Pruitt laughs. "Seriously, what is with that question?" Melanie whines, "Please tell me-" Jenna cuts her off with ambitious decline, "It's not a serious inquiry."
Silence penetrates Jenna's reactive skills. She continues to speak, more eloquently this time. "Listen, you know I am still having a hard time over Shay. Right now, I am in the middle of studying for an important test. It took something drastic, I suppose, to let myself pay attention to it instead of how I feel inside."
Melanie sighs very slowly until she sounds relieved, then she responds, "Oh, so you are basically venting. Well, that's what Facebook seems to be for. I'm sorry to bother you, especially while you were finally focused, eh? Hey, just so you know, I'm not the only person out there who's worried about you. I'm just the one who took the initiative." Jenna's voice raises unintentionally, "Wow, that just shook me up a little. Thank you. My, hero." Jenna laughs. Awkwardly, they hang up and Jenna turns her eyes back to where she'd left off, whispering, "Cool it, this isn't about you. What's on your mind, Facebook?"
Jenna opens her Facebook account, staring once again at the lingering question at the top of her feed. She quickly types, "Thanks for the support in my agenda's guys. It's been a lot of work, with the studying and my job."
She pauses, lifting her head up in growing suspicion. "Four hundred unread messages? What, did they think I -" Jenna sat straight up in her wobbly desk chair, focusing her reaction on the likeliness that people may have wondered if she actually did the unspeakable.
Her finger taps Enter on the keyboard with such a light touch, she wasn't sure if it worked. Her post is now exposed for the world of her Facebook to read. Her eyes adjust, scanning the words, again and again. With a deep breath, she presses her notification icon. Comment after comment about the post, most from people she wasn't sure she'd even ever heard of. Jenna takes courage in curiosity, scrolling down the list to a name she'd recognize.
Her voice was sudden and hushed, "There!" Her expression of an anxious woman, catching a glimpse of herself in the darker places of the monitor.
She read on and on with an array of emotions that seemed to penetrate her through the screen; displaying her life as one of a monster, then as a troubled child, then an invisible corpse. How reluctant were many to gather any compassion for sharing, neither the memes a tactful description.
Finally, a new notification popped up. "Without a doubt, you will be able to do it. You have been so motivated for 'The Cause'. Love you, Jenna."
Jenna knew how Melanie has always been the one who would find the best in people, though the world would cast a net. "Thank you God for people like that in my life,"Jenna prays, feeling a tear drop roll, cooling her cheek as it went.
Fiona jumps into her lap, causing Jenna to flinch and laugh out loud. "Okay, Jenna, she stared into the eyes of her reflection, it's time to see just what you're made of." She scratches Fiona's ears, full of fluff and watches the kitten try to bite her fingers. Barely a minute of time passes before Fiona gives in to the pampering.
"You might be my best friend now, Fiona. Glad I can make you happy, love."
You are the beautiful scars.
Jenna had been practicing her soothing voice, hoping in time it could soothe her as well. Walking into the clinic that afternoon, Jenna spots her assignment. The girl looked to be about seventeen, at most. Congratulations were given, Jenna could overhear the end of the girl's phone call. The girl sat, twirling a pen in circles above the clipboard in her lap.
Jenna waits about ten seconds before approaching. Exhaling from a deep breath, she says "Hey, are you waiting for me? My name's Jenna Travis." The girl opened her eyes a little wider, portraying evidence to Jenna that she was feeling some relief. "I'm Tony Anderson." Jenna felt a rush of vigor, entangled with newfound focus. "You can call me Jenna, if you're comfortable with that."
There's a safe place for us to talk, outside by the coke machines?" Tony nods and stands up to shake hands, still mostly resting her eyes on her own feet. Jenna, gently patting the girl's back, walks out the patio doors and says, " I truly appreciate you calling for someone. We can be honest with one another. No one else needs to get into your business. I understand that. . ."
Jenna could hear the deep sigh from Tony, before they sat at the table. Tony looks her in the face, stating," I don't really want to 'kill' myself. I just don't know how I can make this day to day, anymore." Tony glances downward and past the coke machines, before saying, "I have a child on the way. . ." Tony's countenance appears burdened and tears rush Tony's words before she can continue. "Who will help me if the guy who gave me this baby doesn't even want to help?"
Jenna looks up into the sky as if realizing the words she was about to speak had been waiting for just this young woman to hear, this day. "Believe me, Tony. You are never really alone."
Jenna finds her sofa intoxicating. The scent of freshly laundered throw pillows nestling her head. The fabric on each cushion is sleek like a sheet against her freshly shoe-removed feet. She sits up, sipping on the fountain drink she'd picked up to treat herself, while she'd pumped her car full of gas.
The deterring thoughts of all those people's blind opinions still negated in a grazed-over pasture of thoughts. No matter how far she pushed, they were still noticeable on her mind's horizon. Her mind's eye, maybe, still reaping the harvest of emotions with their shared words. "Ah. God!" Jenna spits at the computer, nothing leaving her lips, except the aggression she was starting to realize couldn't be ignored.
She finds her seat amongst the keyboard of possibilities. Defining herself as competent, hopeful, doing the best should can - These words, traced by her eye movements: premeditated ideals to help her come back from more lashing, if needed, with her self-made image.
Her eyes find the ceiling, twirling around from one side to the other, when she exclaims for herself, "I've certainly studied hard enough to handle this like a professional. Don't let them bring you down - evaluate and execute." She nods to herself, opening the browser. "Evaluate and execute."
Jenna prays for strength, looking back two weeks ago. She reads:
I lost my own . . .
Please, don't do anything to yourself. Everyone suffers in this world. There's people out there to help. . .
Do it, kill yourself. One less whiner to bare. . .
I don't understand this post, Jenna, but I do know you are a good person. Don't forget that we love. . .
What is wrong with you! I can't believe you idiots post things like this. It's not funny. .
Jenna mouthed the word "wow", putting her head down and feeling her thought's image; a small boat on the ocean's rapid waves, winds smacking the sides and herself, trying to focus only on her compass.
"Okay, now time to evaluate. Well, first, relax." Jenna speaks the reassuring words for herself while walking to the tall mirror placed of designers' coercing in her living room and finding a stance she appreciated herself in. Looking down to Fiona, she divulges, "This is my stance of power, kitty. Learn it." Fiona ignores the order, for a scrap of crunchy food she'd drug across the floor and left on the rug the night before. "Fiona, " Jenna scolds, "Haven't you learned the five second rule yet?" Jenna looks boldly back into the mirror, as if asserting her dominance over the kitten gave her a higher ranking.
She finds the edit button, and begins with the ones who've been so angry toward her. She types: It isn't up to you what I do, now is it? If I were to remain silent, you would never know, would you? If I were to stray from Facebook, you would never know. However, I see how you could respond with such anger. It's not because you hate me, it's more of what the question at hand represents to you.
To the one's who find themselves recognizing the pain from losing someone to suicide, I do understand. It's all I could think about for years. My best friend, Sheila - I questioned everything we ever did and said before she finally gave control to the depression.
To the one's who don't seem to take things seriously, why did you say anything at all? What have you to benefit? Maybe, deep down you're actually wanting some answers and don't know how to find them. Let me know because I am trained to help. I want to help, more than anything.
It's been years since Sheila killed herself. It's affected me so much that I studied to help suicidal people find their way. It's affected me with emotional rollercoasters that went from condemning her for not talking to me, to blaming myself for being too selfish and critical. If you've ever felt that way, you understand the torment. I pray you have relief.
How she tried to cover her pain, for me. I couldn't stand the feelings she would portray, very often, and shunned her for it. I never realized why I was reacting the way I did until now.
She was great and I would find myself getting angry at her for no apparent reason, though my pride didn't budge. Pride. What has it done for any of us?
In conclusion, Facebook followers: I'd subjected you to a type of survey while I studied to pass my final exams-Not for a passing grade only, but rather for useful information. It is a real and emotional response I received, gladly.
Because of my best friend, my goals in life changed. I am now a licensed therapist. It took a lot of time and effort.
I've been given effective feedback on a post and the truth is, I have been aware of the terrible pain and heartache associated with my chosen career path. However, I am understanding that if I can utilize the reactions, comments, etc. with the skills acquired from my schooling, there's a brighter future awaiting for many who might be stuck in the dark.
Now I am capable of using these responses in my career for the purpose of healing and executing real - life advice. I appreciate the help, though you should have guessed by now it wasn't for my own sake. Reading everyone's responses sent an array of emotional response for myself to deliberate and frankly, experience. Here's to future life saving methods and comprehension. God Bless all of you.
Follow my page called 'Left Alive Together' and feel free to lend a hand with the wisdom you've attained from your own real lives.
As for the pain that my post must have brought some of you, I pray that you honestly know, it is not in vain. Let's keep those prayers up to keep depression down so it won't keep our loved one's down.
Left Alive Together
Her Name Remains
November 24, 1993 is the date Sheila Thompkins left. Years have passed, marriages have fallen apart, children have been born and now tower over their parents. Sheila is still dead. Does anyone else ever wonder what the deceased might be up to, or is it just me?
If I try hard, I can find a way to blame myself for her leaving me. I was too self-centered. I didn't like the way her words would irritate me for no reason, so I'd lash out - I'd punish her for it with silence and eye rolls. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me now; it wasn't what she said or how she acted toward me. It was the way her words made me feel.
Once, she talked about her fuzzy dog and how it was the cutest dog and I couldn't stand listening to it. Pepsi was adorable, but whatever was in Sheila's heart was too strong to be hidden. I understand now that she was trying so hard to pretend that she wasn't in pain all of the time. The backlash she received from people close to her was because they didn't want to feel the pain, too. At least, that 's how I reacted to her.
Is it alright that I've gotten to the point where I've been angry at her? She was my best friend and she hid her true feelings from me. Why? Was she trying to protect me or herself? Would she have been able to explain it, likely it is that she never understood it herself? My last question is pretty general and considering my ideas written here are correct. Why is it that we seem to want to kill, or in this case deaden, what we don't understand? What compels me, it is that I don't understand. What I'm compelled to do is 'kill' the depression, however there's so much more to process than only kill the killer.
I still love you, Shey-Shey Thompkins. I wonder if you're thinking about me too, right now. I wish I could have told you how much I did appreciate you, as my friend. My best friend.
© 2018 Courtney Grant