Miranda’s story contains this important lesson:
I wish someone would have told me that my friend’s suicide attempts were not a remark on my abilities as a friend. My belief that I should have been able to talk her out of her depression and suicidality was a horrible cross to bear, but it also made my friend feel responsible for me on top of everything else she had to cope with. When I experienced my thoughts of suicide years later, I told my mother and she had a similar reaction. It was apparent that she saw my feelings as a personal failure as a mother. This filled me with guilt and did little to alleviate my despair.
If you know someone struggling with depression, and possibly suicidal ideas, by all means do what you can for them. Don’t walk away because you don’t know what to do, but be with them, even when you feel like you’re not helping. But, never, ever, let their struggles become how you define yourself as a supporter. Sometimes, you can do everything right, and the depression will still win. That’s not because you didn’t help enough. It just is.