"Can my words really save a life?"

Words are the only things that have ever saved me. I have two stories that emphasise this, one from several years ago, and the other from more recently.

I think I must have been about 15 when a friend at the time caught onto the fact that I was planning another suicide attempt. They asked me outright, and I skirted around the question. It was late at night and I tried to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Eventually, I admitted that yes, I was struggling, and I was planning to take an overdose.

Rather than scare me further (yes, I was scared. It's scary when your mind is that dark) by telling my parents or calling emergency services, this friend decided to keep me up all night. I can't honestly remember what we talked about, but I'd be willing to bet that a lot of it was a load of you-know-what. At that point, my friend just wanted to keep me talking until I was too tired to act on the thoughts running through my mind that night.

It worked. In the early hours of the following morning, I said I was tired, and needed to sleep. I think it was a few months before I did eventually take an overdose, and that was because I didn't seek help following that night.

The more recent story actually comes from last week, when I was weighed down by all sorts of pain. The pain of past events, the pain of the US election results, the pain of not knowing what to do about the future. I wasn't planning an imminent suicide attempt, but I was planning ahead for if things got any worse.

I don't know what happened because I didn't tell anyone what was going through my head, but I ended up getting a lot of messages from friends. A lot of them were reminding me that I was loved, others were simply asking how I was, and some were expressing gratitude for the work I do on this website.

That night, before I went to bed, I put up a post on my profile. I admitted what had been going on in my head. I thanked everyone who had sent me messages. I said that the messages I'd received had pulled me back from an edge I hadn't been on in nearly a year.

The point is, whether you know it or not, your words could save someone. They may already have done so. Not everybody is going to stand up and say "yeah, I was thinking about giving up, but you convinced me not to"; and that's okay. But it's all the more reason to check in with your friends from time to time, ask how they're doing, tell them how much you appreciate them being in your life.

As simple as it sounds, it's those interactions that are keeping me grounded right now, and I know I'm not the only one hurting at the moment. So spread the love. Ask someone how they are today.