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The Four Words From an Old Friend That Helped Me Choose Life

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741

I was supposed to die on December 27, 2016. It would have been the perfect day; I had been dog sitting for the past two weeks for my best friend/roommate. It was with a concerned look on my counselor’s face, knowing that for two weeks I would be home alone, that I had to assure her I would stay alive for the dogs. They were my responsibility.

On December 27, my friend came home, and my plans, my ideas for how the day was going to play out had changed. I woke up feeling burdened by the thoughts that consumed me, that fueled me to write letters, to start making a “goodbye book” of all my favorite memories. I was sick. But I was not going to die that day.

Though what scares me, and in part why I’m sharing about this, is that my mind had been made up for months. I went to visit my sister in the States, my brother on the coast, reconnected with my dad, had good visiting time with those I loved… It felt like a perfect time to go. The depression fueled my suicidal thoughts, and my suicidal thoughts calmed me into thinking that “all will be OK.” My thoughts told me, I am a “burden,” I am worthless and unlovable. When I said goodbye to my friend two weeks before, I sobbed when she left. Right when I saw her car pull out of the driveway, I believed that would be the last time I saw her and her kids.

That’s the thing with suicide that I have been learning. When I lost my best friend in June, it completely debilitated me. It made me question everything and everyone. It left me with so many questions that will never be answered. It is hell. I have spent my whole life trying to make people happy, and these thoughts in my head told me, “Killing yourself will make people happy.” I believed this for months. So what changed? Why am I writing this instead of finalizing my goodbye note?

A week before December 27, I was working on a small project — just assembling pictures and writing out my favorite memories, and I got a message from an old friend. My phone lit up, I glanced at it and looked back down at my paper. All it said was “Hi, thinking of you.” It was like the cloud of “irrationality” lifted, and for the first time in a very long time I could see I had a choice. Chose wellness or die.

To someone who is in a rational state of mind, this might seem like an easy answer. But it’s been a battle, every day. For me, it’s a choice every single day. I have to sneak around the thoughts that fueled me and kept me going this long. I have to tell myself, “Well, you can always choose to die.” I know I am sick, but I am healing. I started eating well, doing yoga again, bringing the dogs for a walk twice a day. I started to tell my mind to start seeing things differently, to put all the energy I put into hating myself into building myself up.

I guess the point of sharing this is that there can be so much power in reaching out to someone — even if it’s just a “Hi, I’m thinking of you.” It might change someone’s life; it changed my life.

If there’s someone on your mind, please let them know. Spread kindness, and educate yourself. Educate yourself of signs and symptoms of mental illness; it’s real and it’s taking our loved ones away.

Be kind to yourself, friends.

Image via Thinkstock.

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 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: January 4, 2017
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