Internet. I can’t relate to fighting it myself, ‘only’ depression and anxiety – but more than one of my besties, among others, have each struggled with their own thoughts of suicide. And it’s terrifying, not being able to help the people you love, who you know are hurting. I can only imagine that I have *more* friends who have entertained the idea of suicide, but whose brains tell them not to speak out or seek help, for varying reasons of helplessness, shame, fear, etc.
It’s incredibly easy to say “oh if you have these feelings reach out” or “call this number when you need help” (I am guilty of this myself) but I can confidently say that when you are in your darkest depths, that’s not always how it works. Brains are assholes. Fear is a liar.
One of the most liberating things I’ve found about being more open with my struggles with my mental health is that it encourages other friends and acquaintances to be more open with me. And that, in turn, strengthens our support network, because we know that we’re not alone.
Last week a friend texted me pre-panic attack. I couldn’t do anything but let her know that I was around if she needed me, or ask her “do you have meds? can you find a quiet place? did you remember to take deep breaths?” And that’s a special kind of helplessness. But we were in it TOGETHER. And even that tiny sliver of not-alone can help, in the darker times.
If I might recommend a source of hope, please take a moment to check out To Write Love On Her Arms. Founder Jamie Tworkowski wrote a book called If You Feel Too Much. I have purchased many copies, for my friends who need light in the darkness. And maybe it can be a light for you, too.