Dear Annabel,

Annabel_Image

I remember the day my phone rang.

I was on the train on my way home from university. I had received a few messages from my friend Annabel.

But there was one message from her that really stood out.

The way I see it is everyone is asking me to push through all of this and not really understanding that I genuinely don’t want to be here.  If I died, everyone would be sad for a fraction of their lives and then they’d move on. But if nothing helps and I have to live every day like this, then that’s asking me to live out years of emptiness and pain in exchange for a fraction of it.  Eventually, either something will work or I will have tried everything and will be able to say ‘Yep, nothing works, so I can be selfish now and end it all.’

I wasn’t sure what to do but I knew I had to do something. I wrote to her.

Dear Annabel,

You are one of the most talented human beings I’ve come across in this world. It may seem overwhelming to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself all that much. I can’t even imagine how you are able to stay this strong with the thousands of demons attacking your mind.

It’s so fucking brave of you. The truth is I’m afraid… Some days I feel utterly useless because I’m not sure how to help you defeat these horrible demons, I’m afraid they’ll take you away from me.

I believe that we do not grow to become healers. We came as healers; we are healers. It’s just that some of us are playing catch up. I believe that we do not grow to become storytellers. We came as carriers of the stories we and those before us lived. We are our own story. It’s just that some of us are a few pages behind and don’t know how to read the next few words to continue.

There will be days when we forget this, and it’s the most awful feeling in the world, but we mustn’t stand around and do nothing. There will be times when we feel as if we aren’t meant to be here, but we need to remember that survival itself is a talent.

At the very least I believe that we came as a reminder message. The blood pumping through our veins still continues to cycle the same way it always has, we only need to remind those who are struggling to fight the thoughts in their minds which tell us otherwise. We need to love and remind them that they matter. You matter.

So, here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to put as many reminder messages out there in the world as I can – in our morning quotes, on our t-shirts and on our cars, and I’m going to tell our friends and families to do the same. But most importantly I’m going to put one inside of me. Do you want to know what gave me that idea?

It was you.

You carried the same reminder message inside you. About two years ago when I was going through one of the lowest of lows I’ve had in a very long time, when I believed the lie that it would be better to just give up, I had forgotten that I mattered.

I told you I was breaking and despite battling your own demons you unknowingly reminded me that I mattered. You said you were breaking too. You listened to what I had to say and together we were afraid. You reminded me that I wasn’t alone and that allowed me to begin picking up the pieces.

If you still believe you are alone and worthless, you are incredibly wrong. For you, along with millions of other human beings, there will come those days where we forget that we matter. But please, try to remind yourself of your own message.

You have purpose and your story isn’t over.

Your friend,

Berty

I first met Annabel when I was 12 and over the next half-decade we grew to become great friends. After high school I continued on to university here in Sydney while she decided to study overseas. I hadn’t really spoken to her in the 3 years she was away but she opened up to me about her battle with depression.

You may not know Annabel, but this is for sure: there is a good chance you know an Annabel. Maybe you are an Annabel. Either way, you are breathing, living, reading these words and reflecting on the life that led you here.

This life may bring you more pain than you know what to do with. Sometimes it might include carrying the pain of others. No matter what it looks like, use your voice. Speak up and out. Do you need help? Is there someone who needs your help? Whether it’s a push to get out of bed today, an encouragement to say no to those voices, or enough drive to reach out to someone. I hope you will fight, for them and for yourself.

Tell us: What drives you?.

 


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please reach out. Call 13 11 14 for Lifeline’s 24hr Telephone Crisis Support or contact a mental health professional. If you are looking for other mental health resources, please browse our Find Help page.

If a life is in danger call 000 immediately.

Author: Berty Nghiem

The Cars For Hope movement is a dream come true. It’s been an amazing ride since 2011 and a privilege to bring my heart to work every day. I get to wake up every day and write things that I really believe and say things that I really believe. I get to be creative trying to encourage people and move people to know that it’s okay to be honest and that it’s okay to ask for help. And the other part of it is I get to hear the best stories and compliments, sometimes even people saying they’re still alive and getting help because of the work that we do. It’s so incredibly humbling and encouraging.

2 Responses to "Dear Annabel,"

  1. Steve tutton Posted on 02/09/2014 at 12:23 pm

    I lost my best friend to suicide, it was the darkest point of my life, getting the phone call saying he was gone. It was the 30/12/2008. I felt I had lost the something inside of me. I went to a dark place, the road of self destruction.. My friends and family watched as I tore my life apart and pushed everyone and everything I had ever loved away, including my son. It took a few brave people to stand by me to make me see the light, make me see there was more to it then the pain, hurt and despair. Know there r other people out there who r fighting the same monsters in there heads as I am makes me see hope. Coming together for a cause to help build a brighter future for others. I love cars so did my friend. I am very happy to know that it is helping so many people get through the pain…

  2. […] For Hope began as a way to tell the story of our friend, Annabel. It was our way to remind her that she matters and we love her. She was growing up and starting to […]

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