I’m here to tell you about one of the darkest times in my life, a terrible few months that I never thought I would be able to overcome. The tragedy of unexpected death. The fact that I was able to get out of that mental situation and move forward is enough for me to tell you that you can too. To understand why I felt the way that I did, I’m going to have to go back in time a bit.
How It Started
It happened three years ago. My cousin and I were going out to a concert that we wanted to see that was three counties away, and we were taking his mother’s car. I was nineteen, he was eighteen, and it this was going to be the furthest we’ve been from home unsupervised. The good news is we were what you’d call good kids, so our parents did not have any real issues with us going so far away.
The good news is the concert was great, but it let out a bit later than we thought it would. The both of us had been awake for about fifteen or sixteen hours by that point. We should’ve found somewhere to sleep – even a truck stop – but we didn’t. I told my cousin that I would take the first driving session and he could get some sleep, but he insisted on taking the first shift. At some point, we ran off the road. We rolled the car, and he died right there when the paramedics were trying to get him out. I only had a few bruises.
The death was unexpected, and it felt like it was entirely my fault. Why was I still alive? I was supposed to be the one who was driving. If it had been me, I would have been dead. Or maybe I wouldn’t have had the accident at all. I had all of those thoughts and so many more just swirling around my head when I was in the hospital recovering. They called it survivor’s guilt. No matter what the name might be, I felt rotten and I kept replaying those events. I didn’t go to my cousin’s funeral because I felt ashamed, even though I told people it was because I was still in pain from the accident. I didn’t think those feelings would ever go away. I killed my cousin was the only thought in my head, and it dragged me down to a very dark place.
My family saw what was happening to me emotionally and mentally, and I’d even stopped taking care of myself. They stepped in and got me the help that I needed, and they assured me that, terrible as it was, it was not my fault. I’m not going to lie and say that I just snapped out of it. It took time. The point is that I did come out of that depression. The good news is that no matter how bad and bleak things seem right now, you are going to be able to get over the depression you feel. It’s hard when there is an unexpected death, and you are going to be angry around the circumstances, just as I was. With love, guidance, and positive feelings, you can get through this.