When I’m at my mental rock bottom, it feels like I’m stuck in the bottom of a pit, surrounded by a blackness so overwhelming that I can taste it inside my heart. All I can see is an endless void that stretches on forever—the inverse of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen—and all I can hear is a voice that sounds so much like my own that I assume it is, repeating lies, half-truths, and self-degradation over and over again.
The vast shadows are so thick that they block the flashlights and tiny rays of sunlight that have somehow pierced through the unrelenting blackness. The voice is so loud that it swallows the sounds of my friends who are shouting down, telling me they are here to help.
I know this place because I have been here so often I should have it furnished. This is the place where hope and the well wishes and good intentions of close ones are not permitted to enter. This is where you start thinking about decisions that, once they are set in motion, become irreversible.
So, what I have done, is left a little bottle in the corner with a note in it. I wrote it after I tried to hurt myself, to end my pain forever. The next time you are here, turn on the flashlight on your phone (I know you have your phone and I know why: you have it so every time you don’t answer a call or a text you can feel worse about yourself and the voice can grow stronger). Go to the corner. Find the glass bottle and take out the note. It’s there for me, for you, for anyone who needs it.
If you need it right now, here’s what it says:
“Hello. We don’t know each other, but we do. If you are down here, then you are in the place of suffering that I have been to before and I will almost certainly visit again. You are convinced you belong here because you are a Bad Person. You always make things worse. You always feel alone. YOU CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
I often think these feelings are carved on the insides of my bones, they are a part of me, they ARE me. Maybe they are. Regardless, the reason for this note is very selfish. I will cut to the chase: I need you. I need you to stick around because I can’t do this on my own. I have tried and failed to do it on my own thousands of times.
You don’t see it right now but you matter. You make a bad day better by existing. You make me smile and laugh, you bring so much joy that there’s no way I could ever properly quantify it. Maybe not recently, but at points, you have answered my calls when I was on my way to this place and your voice made me stop from climbing down here. The small things you do: sharing an inside joke or rolling your eyes at the same dumb thing that annoys the hell out of us—these small actions add up. They create a mountain, on which I can sit at the top and see the world clearly.
You help me remember that there is good in this shitty, shitty world. Some days, everything is overwhelming and I can’t help but despair, but more often than not, I sit on top of the mountain you don’t even know you built, and I laugh and smile and know that I can make it through one more day. I don’t see the air I breathe, so I take it for granted. I don’t acknowledge it enough.
The same can be said of you. I try my best to tell you what you mean to me, but sometimes I forget or I’m lazy or I’m scared that this truth would frighten you. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. All I ask is that you stick around till tomorrow—before you do something that you will never be able to take back. If you leave forever, that mountain won’t crumble but it also won’t get bigger, allowing me to see the ultimate truth from the highest zenith: that I matter. Your existence saves me and I owe you my life.
You are a shining beacon, even when you’re down here. Your soul illuminates this cavern and seeps into my world bringing everything into focus. Please, just stick around, and I promise I will do the same.
There is a second empty bottle in another corner of this pit. See the pen next to it? Please write a note with your truth for the next person that comes down here. You can help someone by sharing your story. Thank you for being the flawed, weird person that you are. Let’s stick around and see where this all goes. There is a reason we are here. There is a reason you are reading this right now. There is always hope. I love you and I can’t wait to see you in the valleys and on the peaks. And when we reach the top, we can watch the sun come up together. You are my mountain.”