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The 3 Words My Friend Said to Me After My Suicide Attempt

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I often think of 2011 as the hardest year in my life. And it’s not because I was a high school senior and then a college freshman. My classes were easy enough for me, I was getting As. The hard part was I attempted suicide in March and it affected the whole rest of the year.

To be honest, my problems didn’t start in March. January and February had been hard, too. In fact, it was in February when I wrote my suicide note. I was seeing a “prevention specialist” at my school and trying to find a counselor outside of school.

I liked my prevention specialist. I don’t blame her for being unable to prevent my attempt. Preventing suicide is really hard. There was almost no way she could have stopped things from happening the way they did on that Sunday.

But the day after my attempt, she got me into a psychiatric hospital where I stayed for 11 days.

On my return to school, my best friend said something I still find incredible. I told her why I’d been out for so long and she said, “I don’t care.”

No one else has ever said those words to me about my suicidality. In fact, most people care a lot. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not.

Sometimes people care about the fact I’m suicidal in a way that makes them want to rush me to a hospital. Other people care about the fact I am suicidal in a way that makes them stop being my friend and treat me like a leper.

That’s a strong phrase, I know, but I really feel that way. There are people who I have known who will see me coming and literally turn and run. I’m not contagious, guys.

But my best friend didn’t go to these extremes. She said I was the still the friend she had before the suicide attempt. Why would the fact I had just gotten back from the hospital make me any different? Nothing had changed.

That’s not quite true. My attempt did change me. Everything that happens to us every day changes us in some way. But my attempt and her knowledge of my attempt didn’t change what made us friends.

We still joked about penguins. We still played Rummy in the hallway before classes started. We still watched “Firefly.” We still studied for the Envirothon (and won first place in the county, by the way).

To her, it was probably a very simple and insignificant thing to say. But to me, it was the most significant thing she has ever said or done for me.

She showed me unconditional friendship at a time when I felt very alone.

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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Photo via contributor.

Originally published: February 15, 2017
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