How Alex Found Me – A Volunteer’s Story

*Trigger Warning

Every volunteer of IMalive joins the organization for different reasons; they’re looking to help others, they know someone who’s died by suicide or had suicidal thoughts, or maybe even the volunteer themselves had those thoughts at some point in life.

When I was fourteen, I was very closed off from my parents. I had reached a point in my life where I was having these thoughts, but was also good at hiding them from them. I thought my parents were better off without me, that I was a burden. One night, I had it all figured out. I was home alone (with my dogs), had a note, had the pills. There was only one thing left to do. 

Looking back, I can’t quite remember why I made the next step, but I did. I think it was because I had talked to a few of my friends about how I was feeling, thinking it was typical. They told me they were concerned, and to reach out whenever I was feeling low. So, that’s what I did. I IMed my friend (back when Instant Messaging was a thing) and told her what I was going to do. She told me to stop. That people cared, and I needed to talk to someone. She was close to our school Guidance Counselor and suggested talking to him. It was 7 o’clock at night when I sent him an email stating I felt it was an emergency to see him the following day. My friend sent him an email as well. She made sure I put the pills away and was far away from them. I locked them in my bathroom while I was outside of it. While all this was going on, my black labradoodle stayed with me the whole time. It was like she knew I wasn’t okay but didn’t know how to help. 

As the years went by, I used to always give her credit in saving my life. She always kept an eye on me until her last breath. As the story goes on, my guidance counselor made an appointment for me and when I saw him I told him everything: how I was feeling, that I didn’t know where to turn, and what my friend had done the day before for me. School had a protocol, and while it’s never easy to follow through with, if it wasn’t in place I don’t know where I would be today. So, he called my parents who came to school and brought me in to get an evaluation at a hospital, and it went on from there. 

At first, my family looked at me like I was this fragile thing and they didn’t know how to handle it. As time went on and we talked more, that look went away. They were just confused, because they didn’t see it coming. I went to therapy, found someone to talk to, and eventually opened up more to my family about everything going on. 

It’s never easy to tell those we love how we’re feeling. It’s been almost 15 years and it’s still never easy to talk about, but my friend showed me that if you share with someone, anyone, people are there to care. You have to trust in people that when you share your feelings, they will do what they can to help. I mean, if I didn’t reach out then, I wouldn’t be here to share my story. I wouldn’t be able to be here on the other end as Alex for you. That’s the one thing I remind myself about, and remind others about as well…. if you leave this world too soon, what are all the things you’ll miss out on? Graduating, getting a job, living on your own, moving to a new city! We always think we’re alone in this world, but we never realize that anyone could be feeling the same way we are.

*If you are in danger of hurting or killing yourself, please call emergency services. If you are safe and need to talk, please come chat with us.

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