Today is a good day. Today is full of hope and joy and plans and excitement and happiness. Today is a day of brightness.
I wanted to tell you that because it is important to know that people who live with mental illness and depression have GOOD days. I am not always curled up in a ball when I make my sad depressing posts.
I also wanted to tell you that this post is purely one of reflection. I am not in a dark place right now. I just want to share some thoughts.
I was just laying on my bed when my gaze fell on a picture I have of my best friend and I at a concert a couple of days after I was going to end my life. I looked at that picture and I reflected on that day, and the days following. I remember my friends’ reactions when they found out why I missed school, when they found out the reason I had been absent physically and mentally.
And I remember the common phrase that came up: “Why didn’t you call me?”
I didn’t have an answer then. I was wordless, numb, and felt guilty. I felt selfish that I didn’t think to call ALL of these people who seemed genuinely concerned and shocked that I didn’t ask them for help. I didn’t have the answer then.
Now I do. I am sorry if you don’t like it but here I go…
I felt like I couldn’t talk to them.
There were two people I trusted when I had my crisis. They were people I talked to everyday, about everything. They were my trusted friends. I had invested in the friendships that I would rely upon, and they had invested in me.
And in the following days, my friends of acquaintances who found out what happened all said the same thing “You should have called. Why didn’t you talk to me?
I reply now with this:
You should have called. You should have talked to me. You should have invested. And this goes before a crisis happens. This goes the moment you decide to call someone a friend.
You cannot expect to be wishy-washy with people on the daily and then expect to be the first person that they call when they are at their lowest.
I share lots of posts on Facebook about what to say to your friends who are going through a mental health crisis, but here are some words that I feel people need to use more. If you really want your friends to feel they can talk to you when they need you, here are some things you should be saying more often. The people I ended up calling did.
“I’m here for you.”
“Call me whenever you need me.”
“Text me whenever you need me.”
“If you need me to come get you, call me.”
“How are you feeling today.”
“Will you be ok on your own tonight.”
“Are you okay. ”
“Do you want to talk about it.”
The biggest thing you can do for ANY friendship, regardless if depression is a factor or not, is to ask questions about the other person. Be selfless sometimes. Be genuinely interested in their well being.
The most important thing you can do for your friends is to be invested in them. Be present during conversations. Be involved. Be available.
If you can’t do that, you have no business calling someone your friend, let alone ask them why they didn’t call you first.
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.”
― Jamie Tworkowski