When I was in high school, prom was one of the biggest events of the year. We planned the event for months; dress shopping, scheduling hair appointments, making dinner reservations. We all had high hopes that the night would be fun and memorable for all of us.
As the night approached, the excitement was palpable and contagious in the school hallways. I had everything set for the most amazing night, the details had been planned seamlessly. On the outside, it appeared as if it couldn’t get any better.
But on the inside, I was falling apart. Depression had its grip on me and I struggled with suicidal thoughts almost daily. I tried with every ounce of my being to hold it in, focusing on my friends and classes, refusing to acknowledge depression’s looming presence. “Just keep a smile on your face,” I thought, “no one will ever know that I am struggling.”
By the time prom day approached, my mental health was completely falling apart. The night was filled with friends dancing, but depression’s voice spoke louder than the music. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t drown it out and I began to withdraw from my friends as my thoughts became darker, the fun of prom fading into a fog. By the end of the night, I had convinced myself the only escape was to end my own life.
I wanted to die.
On the way home, my date and I sat in silence, my only focus was on how I was going to end living in this world. I had reassured myself there would be no hiccups in the process, as my parents would surely be sleeping this early in the morning.
But as I opened the door to my house, my parents were not sleeping. They were wide awake, waiting for me at the top of the stairs.
I found out a few of my friends had called my parents that evening, voicing their concern for my well being. At first I was angry, they put a hard stop to my plan, but later became ever so grateful for their intervention that saved my life.
It can be hard for those struggling with mental illness to voice their struggle. It can be difficult for someone to even acknowledge to themselves that they are struggling, much like the position I found myself in at prom.
Mental illness is nothing to ignore. Be there for those in need. Send a text, write a note, check in.
It could save someone’s life.
A phone call saved mine.