I have an inner circle that’s flipping incredible. I can (do) text or email them at all hours of the day and night. I know if it came down to it I could call them at all hours of the night as well. But sometimes? Sometimes I can’t talk to the people who know me best. They may be the ones most used to talking me off whatever metaphoric ledge I’m standing on, but when I know my Inner Circle is already dealing with X, Y, Z, A and B I don’t want to be G, H, I on their list of concerns. This is what led to me calling the 24-Hour Crisis Line in Portland recently.
I wasn’t in danger of killing myself. I was, however, looking at knives with longing. A lot of times people who aren’t afflicted by major depression think there’s either coping or suicide, they don’t realize the many levels in between. For me, cutting is used as a tool so that the physical pain matches the pain in my head.
Over the past two weeks I’ve spent about two hours on the phone with the crisis line. Again, not because I was in danger of killing myself, but because I needed to speak with someone at three o’cock in the morning when my mind was whirling so quickly I couldn’t sleep. And I know, because my doctor has told me, that I could call his office at any time and the phone line would connect with him so I could talk with him regardless of time of day or day of week, but I’m not going to call my doctor at three o’clock in the morning. He’s amazing, he’d take my call, he’d help me, but he’s also a family man with small kids. I don’t want to be the person disturbing the free time he has – particularly at three o’clock in the morning when the crisis point seems to hit most often.
And, really, that’s what the crisis lines are there for. For the three a.m., nobody else is available crises.
So if you are in need of a person and none of your friends or family or inner circle are available at three in the morning, please call the line.
The number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. You’ll get routed to a center that’s local to where you are so if you (for example) live in Maine you’re not talking to a crisis phone rep in Southern California. What I’ve learned is that it’s not a line you can only call when in danger of killing yourself. You can call when you need support and someone to just talk you off the metaphoric ledge – or the literal ledge if you find yourself contemplating suicide.
It’s this point that has me writing so publicly about my mental health issues and battles. Even when I feel most alone, I know I’m not and neither are you.