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The Question My Friend Asked That Gave Me Hope When I Was Struggling With Depression

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I went to grab coffee with my youth leader the other morning before I left for college. Through over five years of depression and close attempts to end my life, she has been there. She knows me. She knows when I get quiet, I’m thinking but don’t know how to put my thoughts into words. She knows that when I text her saying I’d like to get coffee because so much has been going on in my life, I won’t be able to talk as much I let on. She knows it gives me anxiety. She knows I need to hear basic truths because most of what I believe about myself during these times are lies, and I don’t always recognize that. She knows me really well.

I was going through a lot this summer and it wasn’t until I started talking to her that I realized how lost I was really feeling. How hopeless I was feeling. How just utterly and completely exhausted I felt. This was the first time I had been honest with anyone about all of it this entire summer. But it was the biggest relief. Just being able to sit there with it all on the table — open, honest and broken — it was unbelievably freeing.

But it was also painful. I realized I was feeling so far gone, and so incredibly hopeless. At one point, after a few minutes of silence, she asked me:

“What gives you hope?”

I replied, “Honestly, I don’t know right now”

She responded, “You don’t know or nothing does?”

As soon as she said that, it was like a lightbulb went off. It hit so hard. Like of course there are small things that normally give me hope, like sunrises and coffee shops and friendly smiles, but sometimes they’re not enough. Sometimes nothing is enough. Nothing gives me hope. But, the simple fact that someone realized nothing gave me hope, was the very thing that gave me hope.

Knowing that someone could look at me, as empty and broken as I was, recognize I couldn’t see any light right now and still sit there with me — that was beautiful. People like this are people who can give you that extra push just to make it through the day, which sometimes, is all you can do.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Unsplash photo via Jorge Flores.

Originally published: September 11, 2017
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