Her name was Amy. I think a lot of us, too many of us, have an Amy in our lives. Amy is the reason I am alive today. Amy is the person who answered the phone and dropped everything to save me from myself.
That sounds so very dramatic, and I apologize for possibly sounding melodramatic, but the long and short of the matter is that Amy stopped me from hurting myself. I honestly don’t know how far I might have gone that night had she not been in my life, and I am glad that I don’t know. There really are some things about yourself that you don’t need to know.
Amy was one of those people that could make just about anyone laugh. It was quite common for her to greet new people by licking their face. She had a darker side, too, which I couldn’t understand when we first met. She was gorgeous, she was funny, she was open, and I couldn’t understand why she sometimes thought that she wasn’t worth anything. I always thought she was part magic.
The reasons why I had to call her that night aren’t important. In short, I was exhausted, I was angry, I had been rejected, I was overwhelmed, and I felt completely alone. I wasn’t alone, but I couldn’t see that. I remember going through a list of people in my head that I could call, and checking each one off for one stupid reason or another. He wouldn’t understand. She wouldn’t care. Would he be at home, or still at school? She’s off with her friends. One by one, I went down the line, until I got to Amy. Part of me didn’t want to call Amy. That part of me didn’t want to call anyone. But Amy would understand. So, I called.
And Amy came.
What Amy did that night for me isn’t as important as the fact that she came. I want everyone out there who ever gets a call like that to understand that one fact. Although what she did was fabulous, it was the answering the phone and the showing up that made the difference. Everything else was just icing on the cake. That night, I was more important to her than anything else, and that made a huge impact on me.
What she did when she showed up, though, was all Amy. She listened to me rant and rave, watched me chain smoke, and then made me laugh. She dragged me to the local grocery store and bought a huge box of large dog biscuits. We spent the next hour or so writing funny words in dog biscuits on the front stoops of our friends’ homes. It rained a little that night, and the dog biscuits had some kind of coating on them. I think I heard one friend say that the word “kumquat” was stained into the cement for a while.
After that night, I was depressed for a while, but never again did I feel the urge to hurt myself. I’m lucky, I know. In the months that followed, I tried to make my life as simple as possible, with the goal of just existing. What happened, though, was far better. Slowly, I started seeing the people around me who cared, and I connected with them. What tripped the final trigger in my head, though, was something unexpected. A philosophy was introduced to me that should be depressing, but to me, it was the answer.
Very few of us will make an impression on the world that will be remembered in 100 years. None of us will have done anything that the wide universe will consider consequential in 10,000 years. The only meaning your life has is the meaning you give it. So, find something that makes you happy and makes you feel meaningful and do that. You can’t expect meaning and happiness and fulfilment or whatever you want to just fall into your lap. You have to look for it. And it won’t be easy. Nothing worth doing is easy.
On a personal note, if someone out there thinks that your meaning is stupid, so be it. There will always be someone in the world that doesn’t like you. There will always be someone saying no. Chances are there are fewer people even paying attention to you than you think. So go be fabulous. Lick faces. Write silly words on sidewalks and stoops. Find whatever it is that makes you smile and go do it. You’ll be surprised at how many other people join you.
I know that there a lot of people out there struggling with mental illness, addiction, depression, and situations that are a lot heavier and harder to overcome than what I went through. I’m not suggesting that turning things around is easy, or even possible, without help. What worked for me might not work for you, and that’s okay. This was my story, and I felt the need to share it so that there’s just one more voice out there saying, “Me, too. It’s okay to talk about it. Someone’s listening.”
Finally, if you’re thinking about hurting yourself, call someone. Tell someone. Find your Amy. She’s out there, I promise. Just because you can’t see her now doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist. Whatever it is you feel like you’ve lost, it’s still out there, and you just have to keep looking. It’s been over twenty years, now, since Amy answered the phone, and I have been thankful for her every day. Everything I thought I had lost, I have found since that night. I just couldn’t see it.
To Write Love On Her Arms – http://twloha.com/home
Mark Henick “TEDx Toronto – Why We Choose Suicide” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1QoyTmeAYw&feature=youtu.be
Jared Padalecki’s “Always Keep Fighting” shirts (benefits TWOLHA) – https://represent.com/jared
SPNSurvivors web site – http://spnsurvivors.com/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walks – http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.home&eventGroupID=9AA117B3-F522-BB6D-359D1AA2D75A7958&cmsContentSetID=21937E3D-C299-258B-B47FF6955996ED6C
The Boy Next Door – https://mrswhozeewhatsis.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/the-boy-next-door/