Recently I have been informed by a classmate that another classmate of mine has died. I ran into the later classmate about 10 years ago while he/she was working at a local coffee shop. Later I contributed to an account/fund to help him/her get through what appeared to be a rough patch due to illness.
When addressing my high school classmates last week I suggested that this person might have been suffering from illness including depression or addiction. Come to find out he/she did have a history of addiction. And that was made known at his/her memorial service.
While I was supposing about my classmate, I wrote a personal account of my struggles with bipolar illness so as to take the secrecy out of anything this other person might have been suffering. It has been somewhat to very destabilizing for me to share this story with classmates for the first time in about 40 years. It has also been destabilizing to realize I was wrong for sharing/supposing private information about this classmate even if it was well-intended.
In any case, I know now it was wrong to try to identify depression or addiction on my classmate’s part. The story was not mine to share. And even if I did mostly tell my story it was wrong of me to link that disclosure to his/her memory.
All in all, I feel like I f*&^%#ed up badly even though my intent was to take away stigma associated with behavioral health including addiction issues and other health concerns.