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Normal People by Sally Rooney Read Online (FREE)

One of my friends committed suicide in January, he says. A friend from school.

Oh, how sad. I’m very sorry to hear that, Connell.

We hadn’t really kept up with each other in college. He was in Galway and I was here and everything. I guess I feel guilty now that I wasn’t in touch with him more.

I can understand that, Yvonne says. But however sad you might be feeling about your friend, what happened to him is not your fault. You’re not responsible for the decisions he made.

I never even replied to the last message he sent me. I mean, that was years ago, but I didn’t even reply.

I know that must feel very painful for you, of course that’s very painful. You feel you missed an opportunity to help someone who was suffering.

Connell nods, dumbly, and rubs his eye.

When you lose someone to suicide, it’s natural to wonder if there’s anything you could have done to help this person, Yvonne says. I’m sure everyone in your friend’s life is asking themselves the same questions now.

But at least other people tried to help.

This sounds more aggressive, or more wheedling, than Connell intended it to. He’s surprised to see that instead of responding directly, Yvonne just looks at him, looks through the lenses of her glasses, and her eyes are narrowed. She’s nodding. Then she lifts a sheaf of paper off the table and holds it upright, businesslike.

Well, I’ve had a look at this inventory you filled out for us, she says. And I’ll be honest with you, Connell, what I’m seeing here would be pretty concerning.

Right. Would it?

She shuffles the sheets of paper. He can see on the first sheet where his pen made the small tear.

This is what we call the Beck Depression Inventory, she says. I’m sure you’ve figured out how it works, we just assign a score from zero to three for each item. Now, someone like me might score between, say, zero and five on a test like this, and someone who’s going through a mild depressive episode could expect to see a score of maybe fifteen or sixteen.

Okay, he says. Right.

And what we’re seeing here is a score of forty-three.

Yeah. Okay.

So that would put us in the territory of a very serious depression, she says. Do you think that matches up with your experience?

He rubs at his eye again. Quietly he manages to say: Yeah.

I’m seeing that you’re feeling very negatively towards yourself, you’re having some suicidal thoughts, things like that. So those are things we’d have to take very seriously.

Right.

At this point she starts talking about treatment options. She says she’s going to recommend that he should see a GP in college to talk about the option of medication. You understand I’m not in a position to make any prescriptions here, she says. He nods, restless now. Yeah, I know that, he says. He keeps rubbing at his eyes, they’re itchy. She offers him a glass of water but he declines. She starts to ask questions about his family, about his mother and where she lives and whether he has brothers and sisters.