On a particularly dark night in 2016, my suicidal thoughts were prevalent enough to change into plans and actions. In one last, desperate attempt to stay alive, I reached out to the local suicide hotline. The call lasted about 15 minutes before I hung up in pure frustration. For everything I said, there was a scripted answer. Empathy and compassion were non-existent. I didn’t feel safe and had to guard my words. The last thing I needed was cops pounding on the door.
I was distraught, suicidal, alone, and scared. As I sat on my bed pondering my next move, I became angrier about how crisis lines handle suicidal people. They are trained to ask open-ended questions to encourage conversation, but the replies I heard felt scripted. During this particular call, there wasn’t a drop of sympathy, validation, or compassion. I knew the words I wished to hear, and what would have helped me at the time, so I decided to write them down.
The result was an open letter to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions. I wanted people to know they’re not alone and left my email in case anyone wished to contact me. The next day I decided to send it to The Mighty, and they published it. I didn’t expect much to come from it, I was happy to finally be published somewhere.
Little did I know it would go viral.
What followed was surreal. Within the first day of being on The Mighty, emails started to flow in sporadically. Within a month I was answering at least six people a day. People were thanking me for being raw and open with my words, and telling me I saved their lives for at least one more night. Some shared their traumas with me, only needing to be heard and validated.
It’s been six years since I put the letter out there, and in many