When 3AM Finds You

By Grace LaffoonNovember 21, 2016

3AM finds me an empty girl in an empty parking lot. Tears glaze my dull stare as I inspect the true weight of the black booklet in my hands. I store all of my goodbyes within its pages and then tuck it away under my pillow. I fall asleep each night with the tips of my fingers always on the edge of its cover—somehow, it’s a comfort to me. It’s a back door, an emergency exit that makes this life feel a little less like a trap—it eases my suffocation.

Christmas has just passed, and I could swear that the Earth has never hosted a harsher winter. The New Year is rung in while I am at home with a ringing head and trembling hands. There is some storm brewing in my gut demanding action, the black book at my side is screaming for my attention—but there is still one last dying spark in my shattered heart, crying that it was never meant to be this way.

And just as I’d begun to believe that everything true to me had long been drained away, determination rises hot in my chest. The black book is in my hands, and I am tearing out page after deadly page, weakly proclaiming through gritted teeth and beneath floods of tears that I will not live to die.

In the place of death, I write myself back to life.

I fill pages with the names of people who love me, things I have yet to see, places I have yet to visit, adventures I have yet to play a part in, feelings I felt once and desperately want back again. I make lists of lives I have yet to live.

I sing these lines as a lullaby to myself as I fall asleep that night. When I wake up, it is to the same fearful world I’d just left. Only now there is one small flicker of hope in the midst of the murk; I have found something to fight for.

There is a girl up there, in my head, somewhere—trapped beneath a thick cloud of depression and insecurity. She is screaming for help, and I will not desert her.

At first, therapy feels like being passed from room to room just to sit in chair after chair in the same position of shame and judgement, and I start to wonder if I shed more tears in the parking lot of psychologists’ office buildings than I ever did over my decision to die or my decision to live.

Soon, though, I find the right room.

There are flowers and incense and a machine that plays the sound of rain and pillows and a window that lets in just enough light to remind me that the day is still continuing on outside.

There are still times when I’m certain it does me no help at all—sometimes I still turn to drinks at night just for the sleep and self-harm just for the release. There are old voices in my mind that still need weeding out, always holding that I am broken straight to my core, rotten in a way that no one can cure. They whisper that I must remember who and what I am—we must be realistic here, dear; don’t get too optimistic, dear—but I respond that I do.

At the rise of every false claim made against me by my mind, I take to the walls. I scribble “beloved” and “precious” and “daughter” in every color and across every space I can find until my heart finally begins to accept them as words that belong to me. When my mind tells me I am alone and unloved and unworthy, I write down every person who would take my call if they got one and console myself with the sight of each letter.

When that voice swells up in false narration, dares to drag me down, spitting out insults that were born in someone else’s mouth, I scream until I sob that I will not be made into anything other than what I am. I will not be the actions taken against me or the pain of another soul; I will not be the names they have called me or the things I cannot control.

I take my head in my hands and tell myself gravely that I must never forget—every particle of the universe has been rushing forward in anticipation to meet me here. Every atom of the stuff that makes up every star is the same beautiful stuff that also makes up all of my parts.

I am beauty, kindness, love, and patience. I am every good thing. I am whatever I choose to create within myself, and I choose to go after the light.

Beneath all the dark and the grit, there is a girl fighting.

Breaking her out—being OK—it will take time.

But I am worth waiting for. And this life is worth fighting for.

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Comments (27)

  1. Diane

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing from your heart! Keep choosing to go after the light, Grace!

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  2. Victoria

    Absolutely Beautiful

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  3. Sarah

    This is the most beautiful and courageous piece I’ve read all year. Thankyou for sharing it. Keep going and keep writing. Yours is a story that needs to be heard.

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  4. Amelie

    This is the post I relate to the most, out of all the others I’ve read.
    Thank you for sharing and understanding even though you don’t know me.

    Reply  |  
  5. Jacob

    Stunning Grace, thanks for your words!

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  6. Carol (Clendenan) Stier

    Grace, I don’t know you, but your Dad and I have known each other since we were children of YFC dads. This is FABULOUS! You have a gift, for sure!

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  7. Anna

    Bless you for your courage and honesty and you fierceness. Everyone needs to hear these beautifully said things over and over and over again. I’ve been recovering from depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation for over a year now and I’m so greatful for sites like these and survivors like you who make us all feel less alone and filled with much more hope than when we came.

    Reply  |  
    1. Jessica

      Same here! It’s so nice to be able to relate to people about the real things in life that some of us experience…

      Reply  |  
  8. Anonymous

    I see myself in this post so much it’s unbelievable. Always keep fighting everybody 🙂 ?

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  9. Santana Cervantes

    I read this and tears were in my eyes. I’ve never related to something so much in my whole life.

    Reply  |  
  10. Jack Linares

    Oh girl, I really love this so much! Thank you for it! Still fighting for, you are not alone!

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  11. Lauren Carter

    This the most beautiful piece of writing I’ve read in my entire life. I needed to hear this so much; needed to know that someone relates almost exactly to how I feel. Thank you for sharing your story with us in such a raw, vulnerable, and beautiful way. Your words inspired me in a way that nothing else has. Keep fighting x

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  12. Anon


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  13. María José

    This was beautiful to read. Sometimes, when you are dealing with depression and anxiety it seems like you are alone, and the only one in the whole world with this kind of issues. It seems like you can’t get out because no one has ever done it. But when I read this I can relate so much to each of the words and sentiments and thoughts beneath the letters, that I’m in awe because of how much I feel this.
    I’m not alone.
    I’m beauty too.
    And I’m worth fighting for.
    Thank you <3

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  14. Sue

    Thank you for this, on this night at this time, I desperately needed to read these words

    Reply  |  
  15. Mariana

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing this…
    Keep fighting…you are not alone!

    Reply  |  
  16. Chelsea

    Thank you for this.

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  17. Bunny

    i needed this… this gives me hope.
    thank you.

    Reply  |  
  18. Valerie

    It is comforting to read about people feeling the same way I do, especially concerining the “writing” part of your text. When I read the line “In the place of death, I write myself back to life.”, it felt like a hug, so understanding, more than anyone in my environment can. Thank you!

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  19. Cheyenne

    Oh, my love, that is beautiful. Thank you for putting this into words. Thank you for sharing your strength and struggle. You have given me the strength and encouragement to go forth and seek help myself.

    “She is screaming for help, and I will not desert her.”

    This spoke so loudly to me. You are amazing. Peace&Love

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  20. Becca

    Truly encouraging. Made me look at things differently.

    Reply  |  
  21. Martina

    I always love to read this blog.
    They give me hope and make me want to write my own but somehow I never write.

    Reply  |  
  22. Tatum Wells

    I cried while reading this, thank you.

    Reply  |  
  23. Amanda

    I feel alone and unloved a lot. I have battled depression and anxiety for years and have hurt myself by overdosing on sleeping pills because I don’t want to feel anymore. I have overcome a lot in the past few years but I still get those thoughts that try to pull me back into darkness. Thank you for writing this and reminding me that people love me and I want to live.

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  24. Evelyn

    this hit pretty deep, had me teary eyed. I’m only 13 but i feel like i can relate to this on another level. I’m happy i found this article, even though I feel like I won’t make it, that I’ll make the decision to end it all at some point. I think i know deep inside I’ll find a way to cope.
    thank you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Evelyn, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. We are certain you will find a way to live and continue your story, too. But please know that you don’t have to do it alone:

      You can reach out when you need someone to listen by emailing us at [email protected].
      You can find resources in your area here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/
      And if you ever need to speak to a professional immediately, you can text TWLOHA to 741741. You will be connected to a trained counselor via the Crisis Text Line.

      We know it isn’t easy, but you are strong. Sending hope.

      Reply  |  
  25. Eden

    Dear lord, it’s been three years?
    In that time, I’ve come back to this post over and over and over again. I’ve written the words “I WILL NOT LIVE TO DIE” on my wrists in sharpie more times than I can count. There were very, very few things that gave fourteen year old me any sense of hope, and this was one of them. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your heart—it honestly saved me. Now I live each day gratefully, full of light, and I’m so glad your words could help me get here. Thank you. Truly.

    Reply  |  
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