Make thatphone call
A year ago, I called the suicide hotline. I tried waiting on the line thrice but would hang up whenever I got connected to a representative. I didn’t know what to say.
I was embarrassed and afraid to talk to friends or family because what I was feeling seemed stupid and insignificant. I was convinced that I would get the stereotypical remarks, like “It’s just a guy. Just don’t think about it. Use your common sense. Use your brain. Just get over it.” But I knew it wasn’t just about a guy. Maybe it was partly a huge tipping point of my self-destruction.
I’ve been through breakups before. I’ve been dumped before. Getting lied to and cheated on by pathetic low lives weren’t new to me. But this time it was different. It wasn’t just about a guy. It was about me.
I couldn’t just dismiss anxiety attacks in the middle of the street. There was nothing normal about recurring headaches and daily vomiting. Insomnia, randomly bursting into tears, and shaking weren’t things that you could just shrug off.
I knew I should know better than succumb to the intoxicating sadness inside me. I would keep telling myself that I’m smarter than what’s happening. But for the first time, I couldn’t control the overwhelming emotional weight that was dragging me down to the point of drowning. I didn’t have any plans to kill myself. I just felt very hurt, confused, and lost. I just wanted to disappear. That sadness had been living inside me for months, and it made me write a stack of apology letters to people who mattered to me. I knew I needed help.
On my fourth call, I finally mustered the courage to talk to a stranger over the phone. “How do you know if you’re just sad or when you already need immediate professional help?” I asked as I ran a knife along my chest while trying to muffle my sobs. I tried to be calm and to pay attention to everything that the representative was saying. I dropped the knife.
And from that phone call, I ended up in a hospital. In a parking lot. In a house that made me feel lonely. In an empty hotel room. In the middle of the sea. In a loud and smoke-filled bar. In airports. In docks. In strange cities. With strangers. With friends. With people who I thought were my friends.
That phone call has led me to so many places. It made me rediscover who I am, meet new people, and realize who and what really matter.
I still take pills and other weird drugs. I still keep returning to the same hospital that brings back so many bad memories. I still cry about so many things. But I am healing. The pace might be slow and different than expected, but I am healing spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
If you managed to reach this point, thank you for reading my story. If you are experiencing an emotional crisis right now, make that phone call. Someone is always listening. Someone truly cares.
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Jodhie Mae Cabarles, 23, is a lead research specialist.
Stories from the young Filipino
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Center for Mental Health hotline at 0917-899-USAP (8727); (02) 7-989-USAP; or 1553 (landline to landline, toll-free).
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