My (relatively new, but close) friend, "Jeremy," over the course of some months, has been repeatedly saying things like "sometimes i wish I was never born," "without my mother and sister I'd probably kill myself," "there's nothing left for me in life," "I just want to reunite with the God-head and rejoin the cosmos," even though he has not talked about an actual suicide plan. He is only 47. He feels like he wasted his life. He does not look 47 and he acts youthful and a bit childlike. So maybe he still has much more time left than others his age. Like the boy who never aged. He is a bit odd sometimes, dresses Gothic, is into magick and paganism and occultism, and says some weird things. He is sometimes a bit naive, but not stupid. He has had lifelong depression (stemming from childhood abuse from stepfathers and bullying and trauma and an alcoholic mother) which has caused him to give up on college (he is very smart, was going to be engineer), take Klonopin, have health problems (kidney stones, allergies, asthma, bowel and nausea problems, sleep issues, depression, junk food and video game addiction, etc), and, I was assuming, perhaps have suicidal thoughts. "Jeremy" has low self esteem. He has abnormal amounts of guilt for stuff he has done as a child that is not that bad (especially considering his abuse). His past girlfriends have been needy or mentally unstable in some ways. I wasn't helpful in that regard at first. I judged him for something he did as a child which turned out to not be as bad as I thought. He lives with and takes care of his sick mother, washes her hair, cooks for her, but sleeps a lot and has been having junk food addictions lately. A year or so ago, he stopped the Klonopin without a doctor's care. Just stopped because it made him nauseus and messed up his sleep. Usually he is talkative and friendly, open minded, intelligent, ethical, loves animals, is a great conversation partner and is very laughable and sensitive. He seems to open up to me about a lot of his problems. He even talks about private personal health matters with me, and has a motormouth with no filter. That might be part of the naivety. He once got agitated over the idea he might lose my freindship. Things he has been doing and experiencing lately also made me worried he would commit suicide if I didn't act fast. *Last time I spoke to him, his mother was having brain surgery, and she was going to rehab, getting worse, better, worse, better...he HAD said without his mother and sister he'd kill himself... *Last phone call we had he said he was thinking of leaving his job, that he never gets called in anymore. He has no other job. *He has been isolating from friends and work mates lately, not going to job parties, staying home on the TV, sleeping, etc. He is social phobic. *He had recently gotten a prescription for Lorazepam, which can be very dangerous for certain individuals. Sometimes people get prescriptions so they can now have the means to commit suicide with. *He had been irritable with me and started a small argument on the phone during our last conversation (which I thought we resolved before we hung up- we went on talking about different things afterwards). *He has also been a mixture of a bit hyper and depressed, sometimes his brain moves a mile a minute and other times he is sluggish. *He's been experiencing kidney stones, going to hospital for them, and headaches and sleep problems lately. The story: After our last conversation, I didn't talk to him for two days or so. One night, I read about suicide warning signs online and they sounded just like him, so I tried to call him that night and discuss it with him. He wasn't there. So I called him again on his landline. He recently said he wasn't using his cell phone lately because there were "only" 200 minutes on it (isolating himself?) so I tried his home phone again. Then I looked his aunt "Muriel" and uncle "Anthony" and sister "Janeane" up in the phone book. I had never met them, but talked briefly to Muriel on Facebook, which I think I told Jeremy about. I had told her I knew him and his mother and once she told me about Jeremy's mother being in hospital. I called each of them several times. None of them responded. I figured they were with his mother "Alma" and that he was...god knows...doing the deed? He doesn't call back always, because of his depression, so this isn't what worried me. It was reading the articles and the fact that all this new stuff was happening in his life. Isolating from job, friends, mom sicker, picking arguments, getting new meds, kidney stones, etc. The next day or the day after, I found someone I was friends with on Facebook, "Tracy," who was also friends with his aunt "Muriel". I texted "Tracy" through Facebook and she said "Muriel" was her aunt, and that Muriel had married Jeremy's uncle Anthony. Tracy hadn't seen Jeremy in 20 years, since a family party, but she recalled him being kind, open minded, an individualist, smart, and she was the only person he talked to. He seemed an outsider. Tracy contacted Muriel, and I sent a message to Muriel through FB. Shortly after, Tracy texted me back on FB and said Muriel said Jeremy seemed fine. Tracy had also contacted a couple other people, trying to find someone to get through to, before Muriel responded. We both agreed that even if it turned out to be nothing, that it was the right thing to inform Jeremy's relatives. She told me she didn't know how they would react. That they were a bit old fashioned and though they were loving, she didn;t think they were good with mental health issues. They are opinoinated and talk all over each other. I thanked Tracy, we talked a bit more, I told her how much I cared about Jeremy, showed her some recent pictures of him, and then we said goodnight. My father picked me up with his car and said that Jeremy had called my house twice that day while I was out on the library computer emailing Tracy. Jeremy had asked to talk with me, and seemed calm. But his sister had also called, my dad said. Said she was a cop and that she didn't know if I was trying to be cute or what but that I better unfriend his relatives on facebook. She sounded pissed. When I got home I called Jeremy. I left messages on his answering machines for cell and landline, but he doesn't always check those, so I didn't know if he would see it. Then I called his sister. Janeane is Jeremy's half sister from his mother, and is known for being tough. She has a punching bag in her room, Jeremy said. I left a message on her machine. "Janeane, I don't know what you mean by being "cute" but I don't think it's "cute" to be worried about your brother's life." I said I did nothing wrong and didn;t mean to cause harm. She called back and told me that Jeremy is a very private person and that this was a very private family, and that they look out for each other. Calling up and getting his relatives nervous, as his mother is dying? "Not cool." She told me she was a police officer and said Jeremy gave her- a complete stranger- my phone number. She also said that a cousin of Jeremy's was a gang member and that he had seen the message, and that he is no joke. She didn't tell me who the supposed gang member was. I didn't ask. She said, when I asked her, that Jeremy probably was done with my friendship and he was almost crying when he called her, and that he called her because she was the most rational and level headed of his ten siblings. "We're a very close family," she said. "Our mothers were very good friends. Jeremy and I have the same father." Same father? But Jan- Suddenly, it hit me. This wasn't Janeane. This was Betty. Jeremy's other sister. Jeremy had told me about his father. He was involved in crime, Jeremy thinks he even did hits for the mob. He almost never saw him growing up, except when one of Jeremy's mother's boyfriends slapped Jeremy around; his father murdered the man with a hammer in front of his face. He had gone to prison and committed suicide years later. He had told me about "Betty" a couple months before. He said she told him she worked high up in the government. So high there were secrets she couldn't tell him. He is not stupid, but is naive with regard to people, so I didn't know whether to believe him or not. He had said he almost never heard from her growing up, but that she was calling him up lately, wanting a closer relationship all of a sudden. He didn't know why. She gets annoyed when he doesn't call her back, he said, like Janeane. Betty reiterated that Jeremy needed space and that he needs to "focus on mom now." We said goodnight and hung up. She had called me from the other side of the country. So many things Betty said contradicted things Jeremy said and did. She said they talked often. He had said she just showed up out of nowhere and wanted a relationship. She said he isolates from outsiders these past two weeks, with his mother sick. Not true, he was inviting me to come over his house and everything. He isolates from society in general when depressed, but not from me. She said his mother was dying. He said she was getting better. She said he blocked me on Facebook- he's never online so we never became facebook friends but he hadn't blocked me. What was going on? I texted Tracy again on Facebook the next day and we talked and I told her what went on. She texted me later, saying that Aunt Muriel had told her that Jeremy said that I was stalking him. Stalking? Jeremy was the one who invited me to spend the day at his house and couldn't wait to hang out and take his mind off the sadness in his life. We hadn't seen each other in a while, and though we were relatively new friends (half a year) we had bonded quickly. He had also told Aunt Muriel I hadn't talked to him in a while. Two or three days is "a while?" On which planet? Tracy said Aunt Muriel didn't want Tracy talking with me and wanted me to disengage from the family in general. But Aunt Muriel had never blocked me on Facebook either! And she nor Tracy never mentioned the gang member. What was going on? Was this whole family insane? Now I started thinking...was Betty telling Jeremy she worked for the government so he wouldn't question her need for secrecy about her life, and did she instead work for the mob, like their father did? I started to have conspiracy theories race around in my head. The more I thought about it, the wilder the likeliest conclusions seemed to be. was Betty trying to scare me away from talking with Jeremy because he would spill important "family secrets?" Were he and his family involved, not in benign paganism, but darker occult circles? Were they afraid of having him talk to someone on the "outside" because I might be able to rescue him from that? One of his former girlfriends had been a member of a cult, though not one he was in. Was TRACY a criminal, and was the family- or someone dangerous associated with them- telling her to talk with me to keep tabs on me? Tracy did start to imply, after a few days, that forgetting about Jeremy was the best idea. Was she trying to scare me away from him as well? Was she the gang member? Did she forward my message to him? On purpose? What about Jeremy? Did he really hate me? Or was Betty lying? Did she really get my phone number (which I gave Tracy) from Jeremy? Or from Tracy/Muriel/Anthony? Was Betty threatening Jeremy or me and telling Jeremy to break it off with me? Was she pretending he was angry at me to keep me from wanting to contact him and find out stuff I wasn't supposed to? Maybe Jeremy and his mother remembered crimes committed by the father and people who were still living who knew him. Perhaps they included mob characters, and perhaps these included Jeremy's mother's family. They are Sicilian American. Mother Alma's sister and four year old nephew were murdered in California, supposedly by an angry neighbor. A friend of mine looked up Jeremy's father's name. There were three names, all of which had ties to my friend's current home state and/or to California. And Betty's phone number came up...California. Were she and the father the murderers? Were Jeremy and Alma (who went on Xanax for the past thirty years since the murders) starting to remember things they weren't supposed to, and is that why Betty "suddenly" wanted a closer relationship? To tap his phone and keep track of what he said to whom? Was she- or someone else- somehow instrumental in getting Jeremy and Alma put on those medications, whose side effects include memory loss? Now Jeremy quit his Klonopin so was he waking up and remembering? Perhaps the most unbelievable theory of all to me was that this was just a crazy family who reacted weird to news about their relative, because they were embarrassed by his mental health issues. ***** I haven't called Jeremy since that night I left the messages on his machine, the day I first texted Tracy. This was about a week ago or more. He doesn't always check messages, and is busy with his mother, so he may not have seen them. Or, he may not know what to say. He did want to talk with me that night, though. Crazy conspiracy theories or not, I fear Jeremy is too angry to want to talk on the phone and I am afraid to contact him because he may pull away further. How do I get the best response from him? Should I call? Send a written letter? Call then send a letter? Letter then call? What should I say in either a phone call or letter? Should I apologize? Should I beg his friendship back? Ask him what he told Betty about me? Most of all, how do I keep him safe and happy and win him back?