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The Song That Helps Me Forgive People Who Didn't Help Me Face My Mental Illness


The song Tassez vous de d’là” from the Québec band Les Colocs helps me understand how difficult it can be to support a loved one with a mental illness. The song goes like this (my translation):

Move out of the way I need to see my friend
I haven’t seen him in a while
He was gone he wasn’t there
Last time I saw him
His heart was badly turned
His head was in a vice he didn’t look pretty

He had cocaine in his eyes
He had heroine in his blood
His whole body was leaning forward
He wanted to puke
He wanted to die
What does one do in this situation?
I wanted to run away

I left him alone on the edge of a catastrophe
Forgive me, forgive me
I didn’t mean it I didn’t mean it
I didn’t mean to abandon you in the roughest moment
I am the weakest of the weak
Not the toughest of the tough

(singing in an African language from Senegal)

I’m making my way though the crowd
Hoping for one thing, to see your face
Or to hear you scream
With your immense voice and your exploding heart
Help me, help me

I’m making my way though the crowd
Hoping for one thing, to see your face
Or to hear you scream:
I’ve had enough but it’s not yet an overdose
Help me, help me

These words get to me because though I have heard this song a million times since I was a child (it came out in 1998) I never realized the depth of the lyrics. The person feeling bad is not the one abusing drugs, but the one who should have helped but didn’t. Through my struggle with mental illness a lot of people could have done things differently, but instead of resenting them, I should rememberer they are only human.

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Thinkstock photo via SergeKa