What I Want You to Hear in My Whispered Screams


I’ve screamed at you for the past week. At you, my friends who face similar demons, who have come to me for help, who have held my hand and loved me unconditionally. I have screamed at you and you haven’t heard.

But it’s not your fault my screams come out as whispers.

I scream at you when I send the group text: “Let’s go stargazing.” When I call you and ask if you are doing anything tonight. When you ask what I’m thinking and I tell you “I’m just bored” or “It’s been a long day and I need people I can talk to.”

You don’t question these answers. It’s not in your nature. You have accepted these answers for as long as you’ve known me. They are common answers, even when I’m not screaming.

But tonight I am screaming at you. Because I know I will not go up the stairs and tell my mom I want to hurt myself again. I know I will not call a helpline or find someone online to help me. I am screaming at you because I want your attention, but I don’t know how to get it.

I have never learned how to assert myself and put my needs before the needs of others. I have never learned it is OK to tell you how I am feeling. I have never learned you will not judge me, belittle me or tell me I am wrong. I have never learned I am a whole person with feelings that are valid and real.

Between my former, abusive friendship where my feelings were always wrong and the anxiety that told me I was just overreacting, I never quite learned how to scream louder than a whisper.

So I’m writing this instead. Hoping someone’s friend will realize they are screaming in a whisper, because I can’t be the only one who does this.

In short texts and impulsive, unusual plans, I scream. I need your help during this time because I will never look you in the eye and tell you what’s going on. Because I have never learned to let another person outside of the family I grew up with love me, and allowed them to break down every wall between me and my demons. I have never learned people do not want to hurt me and turn against me when they get close enough.

But still I scream at you because right now, you are the only one I hope will hear my whispered screams.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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