Not Alone

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When I first confront the subject of suicide, I am in elementary school, and too young to really grasp what it means. All I know is my uncle
is dead.

I can’t perfectly remember the day in question, but I know I don’t understand the reality of what happened and think it’s like when grandparents die of old age. Eventually I put it together and realize my uncle died
by suicide.

It’s a topic people hear a lot about, but never imagine it happening to someone you know… someone you call family. In my life, I come to see other individuals extremely close to me struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. I make a drive to the hospital with a friend of mine who thinks they are a danger to themselves. I have knots in my stomach for the entirety of the drive and am honestly in disbelief about what is happening. After I leave the hospital, it is hard for me to sleep because I am so worried.

More mental health issues arise with this same friend a year later, and don’t seem to stop. They struggle with an extreme substance abuse problem, which is hard to watch. It’s strange having to call inpatient facilities and say a “secret password” in order to talk to a friend. Not being able to just text and ask how they are doing is tough.

For weeks my friend attends outpatient therapy and every time things look like they are turning the corner, it all seems to come crashing down again. As much as I want them to get better, after each program fails it feels like it will never happen.

To this day this person I love and care about is still struggling. It seems to go in waves, but it’s hard. There are be months that go by where they don’t crack a smile or eat.

It’s weird thinking about how it is out of my control. It’s weird thinking about all the times my phone rings and my heart sinks because I think it is going to be the phone call I always dread. It’s weird that no matter how much I want to fix everything for this person, the only thing I can do is be there to lend an ear or share resources.

These aren’t the kinds of things you ever forget. It doesn’t go away. What it does, is make me want to help others, so they don’t have to experience it.

So they know they’re not alone.

The simplest thing I can recommend is to listen to your friends and family. Be there if they need to talk and let them know they don’t have to got through anything alone.

No one has to go through it alone.

 

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