“COVID-19 almost killed my friend, but not the way you’re thinking. I debated on whether or not to post this. But I feel like this is something everyone needs to hear.
Last week, me and my really close friend, Ashley, took another good friend of ours to rehab. His addiction was not something anyone saw coming. Prior to COVID, he was a healthy, successful new business owner whose worst vice was smoking cigarettes and an occasional (weed) joint. But then COVID happened. And then his business was shut down. And then he couldn’t pay rent, so he lost his home. (Yes, we know it was illegal for them to evict him, and yes, we told him to take the landlord to court, but we’re beyond that now.) Then he sold his car to have money to pay his other bills, to try and keep his business from going under. But when that money ran out it went under anyway, because he was kept shut down for longer than what was expected. His business was still new, so it’s not like he had much saved up to keep him above water, either. He poured everything into his business and worked really hard to get it going. And with one virus, it was gone.
We don’t know exactly when he started to self-medicate. But he did. We don’t know how his depression and anxiety became so overwhelming he thought heroin and pills and meth would be a good way to numb the pain of losing everything. But it did. This isn’t someone who ever messed with hardcore drugs in the past. Not in high school, not in college, not ever, until the last couple months. We don’t know why he didn’t ask for help earlier, like before getting hooked on hardcore drugs, but he didn’t, and we really wish he had.
On Monday night he messaged us on Facebook begging for help. He didn’t want money. He just wanted food and help finding a rehab. He hadn’t eaten in 2-3 days and was withdrawing really badly. We called him and he was in tears. He said he didn’t want to live like that anymore. So, of course, we said okay. It took us HOURS of calling around trying to find a rehab with an open bed. We even called some of the psychiatric hospitals to see if they had a bed, so he would be safe there and he could detox and then go to rehab from there. No luck, and, by the way, psychiatric hospitals don’t like to take people who are withdrawing. We FINALLY found a rehab with ONE open bed, over two hours away in a different state, and took him. They were very, very accommodating, and did all the intake stuff there, including getting everything situated with the insurance. He is there, safe, and will be for a while.
What we learned, though, is rehabs and psychiatric hospitals are at capacity right now. There are so many people suffering right now, whether it’s from addiction or depression or what have you, and a lot of it has been brought on by the stresses of COVID. There are so many people who have suffered losses as a direct result of it—whether it’s the loss of a family member, loss of income, etc.—and that loss takes a toll. You can’t really get away from it, either. You no longer see people when you go to the grocery store. All you see is masks and gloves. I never thought I would miss seeing the faces of complete strangers at the stores, yet here I am, thinking about how much I miss that.
Our kids aren’t in school. Our news feeds on Facebook are full of friends arguing about masks, Trump and Biden, and Nancy Pelosi’s stupid hair appointment. We are constantly bombarded with numbers that sometimes don’t really make sense, but we are supposed to take it at face-value, and at face-value, it’s terrifying. But the mental toll is what nobody is talking about. There is (seemingly) endless media coverage on COVID, the political drama going with it, and everything else. But I have yet to see anyone come out and say we have a much bigger problem brewing, and this problem will last much longer and be significantly more damaging than COVID-19. At what point do we stand up and say, ‘Yeah COVID is bad, but the fix for it is far worse!’ When do we say enough is enough? THE CURE CAN’T BE WORSE THAN THE DISEASE ITSELF! And if it is, what are we really even accomplishing?
My point in posting this is: check in on your friends. Even the ones you would never expect to have an issue. You truly never know who is suffering silently. We have no doubt if he hadn’t messaged us when he did, he would probably have been dead soon. This was a wake up call for us like we ain’t ever had before.
Disclaimer—we also have no idea how he had the money for the drugs and we didn’t ask. So please, if you’re going to post a nasty comment about how he should have used that money on other things, save it. We know, we agree, but that’s not the point right now.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by a person who wishes to remain anonymous from Michigan. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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