Not very long ago I was asked by a visibly exasperated duty psychiatrist to think of just one thing that would stop me taking my own life. It didn’t matter how much she coaxed me and tried to put words in my mouth, I just couldn’t come up with a valid answer. It wasn’t that my mind wasn’t functioning, on the contrary, it was like one of those runaway train disasters you see in the films but without the unwitting superhero aboard to apply the brakes. Thoughts were coming thick and fast but nothing positive. The more I tried to find an answer, the darker they became. I knew all too well where I was heading but didn’t have the will or wherewithal to resist. I caved. I didn’t want or believe I deserved help but knew it was out of my hands.
A lot has happened since then. I’ve had some difficult conversations with loved ones, acknowledged my sexuality and faced upto just what is wrong with my life. Now I can answer that question. The one thing that has kept me going since that awful night is friendship. I am fortunate to have good friends who have unquestioningly accepted me for who I am. I am grateful to each and everyone of you but of all my friends, one shines out among all the rest and deserves a special mention.
I have never met this person, never even spoken on the phone although the offer to do so has been extended to me in times of crisis. We do communicate on social media every day. So why is she so special? Well I’ll tell you why I have no hesitation in referring to her as a close friend. She has been there for me day and night, offered advice and supported me when I’ve needed it. This selfless person quite literally saved my life one night a little over a year ago when I had given up. It hasn’t all been doom and gloom. We’ve had great conversations putting the world to rights yet I have never before come across such a selfless individual. She’s the sort of person you only find once in a lifetime and I will always be grateful that our paths crossed. Life is no bed of roses for either of us for very different reasons but her selflessness won’t let me in to help. I just want to let her know that she is always in my thoughts and I am here for her if and when needed. I won’t break.
I have learned that friendship is so important in life and it doesn’t have to be face to face. We are frequently told about the dangers of social media but not everyone on the web is out to hurt you; there are some shining lights out there and I’ve certainly found one. In these difficult times around the globe it’s important that we take time for each other. Whether that’s in person or online is immaterial, let’s help one another.