We were sitting and talking one day before I left for college like we did most days, and she told me one of the scariest things I've heard in my life. She told me she was thinking about killing herself and had been for quite some time. I was in shock. She was the popular kid in school and beyond gorgeous. I was in a moment of panic. I didn't want to say or do the wrong thing.
I could see the look in her eyes. She trusted me and needed my help. I had one chance to say the right thing; one chance to change her life. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug her. But I couldn't do any of those things. Instead I asked why. I simply stayed calm and asked the young girl why she wanted to commit suicide. I didn't know what to expect. She told me her thoughts and her secrets and what had lead her to this point. I sat there and listened. I didn't interpret. I didn't ask questions, I sat there and actively listened. When she was finished, I told her that I couldn't even imagine having to deal with what she was but that I appreciated her for trusting me and telling me. I told her she was strong and capable of great things.
It was then that the perfect girl I knew broke into tears, the silent kind of tears. She hugged me tight and didn't let go. The hug was so innocent... Yet I could feel the pain of my friend. We sat there for a long time, just holding each other tight. No words came to me so silence filled the air.
The next day we went together to the school counselor. We talked and she gave each one of us "tools for our toolbox." My little friend, now years later, is doing most wonderfully! She is genuinely happy and so am I.
We are lucky that this was the outcome. Not everyone has that. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be afraid to admit you do not know. For me, it is better to live with having someone hate me for “telling” then having to live with the guilt of someone being dead when I could have prevented it.
- Graduate Student