5 pm at work and my cube-mate told me to wrap it up because he knows I have been having anxiety all day. He was dealing with it too. I told him I was actually going to go straight to the gym to see if I could work it out. Then, the person in front of him told me not to drive south….there was a jumper and heavy police presence along my route.

For a moment I debated if I should just log onto the gym website and cancel but then I figured it was a “late cancel” regardless of whether or not I canceled at 5 or never got there and had to call and cancel from the road. It was too late for them to fill my spot either way. I figured I would at least hit the ladies room on my way out of the office and hope for the best.

Hope for the best. Can you believe that? Someone tried to kill him/herself (and likely succeeded) and I’m trying to figure out if I’ll be able to cut through it fast enough to get to the gym. I’m an empath. I’m mentally ill. Of all people, my pause should have been immediate.

By the time I got into my car, it did catch up with me what I would be driving through….the hopelessness someone must have felt…..how it seems like recent years have just been harder on all of us….the potential drug addiction….the potential lack of access to mental health care….the loved ones left behind getting ready to go home from work only to find police at the door. I braced myself for the impact. Suicide is the kryptonite of all the mentally ill no matter where we are in our journey….good or bad. We feel the hollow insides and brain cells peeking through rear view mirrors….even from strangers. We all know how it goes down.

Eerily, there was hardly any traffic, no police and no evidence that any news alert went out just 20 minutes before…kind of like driving through the end of the world as one of few survivors wondering where all the other people went. Whatever had happened within the hour had been passed through and evidence completely wiped away as though nothing actually happened.

The feeling of “and life goes on” as the cars passed through on our way to our gyms, supermarkets, day cares and homes was unsettling. It made me think of when someone famous kills themselves, Facebook becomes full of platitudes and suicide hotline phone numbers from people you never hear from day to day. They drop their status update and keep driving as though they saw nothing and still have important places to go.

Is that just a decoy for not actually giving enough of a shit to be present in people’s lives enough to notice something is wrong? Absolution from doing anything more than giving a mentally ill person a phone number. I mean, if someone is ill enough to think killing themselves is a good idea, do you really think they are of sound enough reason to ask for help? They’ve asked for it when they still could….many, many times in a plethora of ways. You just weren’t there to hear it.

Just like driving home and seeing no police, no ambulance, no EMTs, no evidence and getting to your appointment on time because the world outside your immediate perimeter isn’t your problem. Whose problem is it then?