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the photo from my last post was taken during a time when i was encompassed by darkness - a time when i considered taking my life as being the only resolution to ending my pain. that was back in 2015. and if you look closely at the picture, you’ll see there wasn’t much of me. i weighed 61kgs; 135lbs. i was sick.

towards the end of last year, i went through another really difficult patch. i felt the darkness suffocating me again and i wanted an escape. i recall telling people i was really struggling, telling them i wasn’t okay, and my pleas for help were met with, “you need to see someone.” these responses, despite being offered with the best of intentions, did not help. if anything, they made me become even more isolated.

so what did help? how did i pull myself out from the darkness? how did i somehow manage to find the light again?

firstly, i didn’t pull myself out. i had help. back in 2015, i was forced to get help. i was institutionalised. and i felt like i only got to that point because my previous cries for help were not heard - somehow telling people i really wasn’t doing well, that i needed help, and that i was self-harming were not concerning enough to warrant others taking action. so i took action.

i was already seeing a therapist before i was institutionalised, so for me, it wasn’t individual therapy that really helped. it was the group therapy. it was being held accountable for my actions. it was being able to relate to others, to talk to others in a safe environment, it was these connections that truly helped.

but help doesn’t have to be formal. and that’s what i experienced towards the end of last year. i had someone who stuck by me, through my darkest days and darkest nights, without threat of her leaving. she saw me at my absolute worst, and instead of getting angry, she responded with warmth. care. compassion. but most importantly, she showed up. if i alluded to suicide at all in my texts, she would be there. physically. no matter the time. she showed me love during a time i didn’t think i was very lovable. and it was that love that helped. that love that saved me.

i also had friends that made time for me, that met with me, that invested in me. they didn’t just send a text, they physically showed up. they gave me their time, their presence, and their care. the reality is, you don’t need to know how to respond to someone who’s struggling. you just need to be there. show up. listen. and take action. lastly, if you are concerned about anyone being suicidal, ask them. according to the data from the Crisis Text Line, asking someone if they are suicidal does not “plant the seed” in their head. but it does show you’re concerned. and remember, action is better than no action.

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