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To the Friends Who Worry About Me

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You’re the closest people in my life. Not even my parents know as much as you do, and sometimes I don’t know if they ever will. You have to understand when I talk about things too much and it’s the last thing you want to hear from me (especially as I’ve probably brought it up a million times before), I need to say it. I need you to listen. I need you to believe me when I tell you my fears and worries are real and rampant in my mind at all hours.

I don’t need you to say everything will be OK. See, I struggle between not knowing what is real or imaginary. When I come to you saying I cannot sleep because I fear a man is hiding in my closet, it hurts me so much when you say this couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t need you to tell me no one is in there. In my mind, there are several people in there, waiting until I turn out the lights and close my eyes to get me.

When you come into my room while tears are streaming down my face, as I’m rocking back and forth and using everything in my power to not harm myself in some way, I don’t need you to sit next to me and tell me it’s going to be OK. I know it’s going to be OK, but right now, it’s not. At this moment, it might never be OK.

When you see the cuts I forgot to cover up, please don’t think I’ve fallen off the wagon again. Please, don’t question me and make me feel alone. It’s not about bringing more pain into my life or punishing myself. Honestly, I cannot explain the reasoning behind why I need to do it sometimes, but don’t at other times. When I do it, it just feels like I’m releasing the pent up feelings I don’t know how to properly express in any other way.

Finally, when I close my eyes, look away, dig my fingers into my skin or close the door for too many hours, please don’t ignore me. Please, give me my time and space and don’t attack me with a barrage of questions, but also don’t leave me. I know that’s hard to do.

I know it’s difficult to know what I need and what I don’t. Just don’t forget about my little tells that something is not right. I appreciate when you ask later in the day if something you said bothered me or if I was having flashbacks. It makes me feel better when you come to me and ask those things, rather than asking why I didn’t come to dinner or why I didn’t speak up when you were talking to me.

I know you worry about me. I know you think I’m OK until you see me in a fit. I know you think telling me things will calm down will in turn calm me down. It doesn’t. What I need from you is to take me inside my closet and sit with me until we both believe with all our migh there is nobody inside. I need you to stand with me as I flashback into a negative moment in time. I need you to be strong with me and not write off my problems or pretend I don’t have as many problems as you do.

While you worry about me, I worry about myself, too. But I also worry about you. I worry you won’t ever see myself as someone who is healing, as someone who is strong enough to know when to ask for help. I want you to know when I come to you, it’s a big step. I hope you won’t write me off again.

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. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Originally published: September 20, 2016
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