Ten Years Later: I Still Miss My Best Friend


8-25-14  While my schedule keeps me from responding to all of the emails that I receive, I do read all of them. I especially enjoy reading personal stories. Here is one from a reader in Australia that I wish to share. While it is a sad note, it also describes the beauty of friendship. Having friends is important, especially when someone has a serious mental illness and often feels isolated and alone.  

Dear Pete,

I had a friend who took lithium for 25 years. It kept her sane and she was able to work fulltime, but it eventually destroyed her kidneys.
She was on dialysis for four years before she died in a private hospital.

When her kidneys began to fail, she had to be taken off lithium, and all sorts of other medication was tried to keep her thinking straight. Before she was on lithium, she was suicidal and jumped off the Auckland Harbor Bridge. She landed near a boat where men were fishing, and they dragged her aboard. The police picked her up and took her to hospital.

She was in a voluntary mental health ward for several months, after this followed a long road to recovery for her mental health.
Not many people knew her history, as she did not want people to know about her mental illness.  In your book, CRAZY, I recognized a lot of her symptoms and problems she had over the years.

She was diagnosed at aged 22 and died at age 50.

I had never had any dealings before with anyone with mental illness before I met her. We started working for the same company on the same day, and became best friends. It is very hard being a friend to a person like this, everyone else she knew gave up on her, but I stuck it out. I went to meetings with her mental health workers, with her mother and brother. I felt like they needed support.

She would say she hated me and did not want me at the meeting, but I refused to leave.

I shed many a tear over the years. I miss my best friend. She has been dead over 10 years now.

Best regards,


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.