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Why I'm Thankful I Kept My Promise to Reach Out

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Ten months ago, I walked into my psychiatrist’s office expecting to go back on antidepressants for major depression. Instead, I walked out with diagnoses of anxiety and type II bipolar disorder.

In the days and weeks that followed, I made promises to friends that, if there ever came a time again when I didn’t feel safe, I would reach out. In short, I promised I wouldn’t try and deal with suicidal thoughts and impulses on my own anymore. Last week, to the surprise of several medical professionals, I kept those promises.

As I sat in my car last week in tears, not wanting to be on the Earth anymore, I remembered the promises I made to those dear friends last year — those same dear friends who walked down every scary path with me. One part of me was sure that reaching out and asking one of them to go to the ER with me would change everything. I was sure it would change how they saw me. And still, clinging to those promises I made last summer, I called one of those friends.

By the time the ER released me several hours later, four friends were there with me in addition to my parents. That night and in the days that followed, I told other close friends what had happened. And you know what? It didn’t change how they saw me, at least not in the ways I expected. Some of them were even proud of me for keeping those promises I had made.

Going to the ER that night, reaching out to that friend, changed me. I never expected it to happen to me. I learned reaching out isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. It’s a recognition you can’t do it on your own. When the right people are in your life, they won’t think any less of you because you had to reach out. Those friends in my life aren’t afraid to show they love me. They showed their love for me by making me promise to reach out.

So please reach out. Promise someone you’ll reach out. You’re not 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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Highwaystarz-Photography

Originally published: May 22, 2017
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