I wish I could reach out to at least one of you when I’m in a crisis. I know it’s hard for you, my friends and family, to receive my call from the Emergency room, but that’s how these things play out for me. After twelve years of suicidal feelings, I still feel ashamed to ask for help, and the fewer people I have to talk to in my “weak” state, the better. I’m sorry.
I feel terrible about keeping you at a distance because I know what it’s like to be on the other side, to worry and wish I could do something and never be given a chance to help a friend. It can be frustrating, even insulting, to be left on the outside. Often my reaction to a loved one hurting or wanting to hurt themselves is extreme: How could they do this to me? Don’t they know how much I love them?!
If you are one of the people who have been directly affected by my recent crisis, I really hope you understand this post, because I don’t know how else to convey this message. The guilt I am carrying around is halting my recovery, and I need to express this to move on.
This is why I don’t reach out:
When I’m with someone I care about, I literally can’t think about my own needs. I always put your needs before my own. Always, always, always. So when I need something badly, like a safe space so I don’t hurt myself, going to you for help is counterproductive. I see the concern in your eyes when I share my dark feelings, and then I feel so guilty that I start to back-pedal, trying to erase the impact of my words. I’ll lie and tell you it’s actually not that bad, that I’m fine and not to worry.
I’m working hard at changing my approach to reaching out, but it is very slow going. For now, when I’m in crisis I’ll probably push you away.
Please know that it’s never personal. I hope it can be some comfort to you to know that if I’m pushing you away, it’s because I’m trying to take care of me, and for now, this is the only way I know how. I will be in touch as soon as I can be; I never forget about you.
I’m sure there are others out there who feel like I do, who pull away when times get rough. My friend Maranda Elizabeth wrote a similar post recently that you should check out, too. The more we talk about this stuff, the better.