Okay, so I'm really honored to share this best friend story with you. It's a story about survival and a best friend who made all the difference in the world. Thank you for sharing it Shaun. It's so great that you and Rachel are in each other's lives!!!
SHAUN HUTCHISON is the author of the upcoming YA novel, FML, out in June 2013. Look for it at your favorite bookstore or on GOODREADS
Rachel has been my best friend for over half my life. She's meant more to me than anyone outside of my mom and brother, and knows more about me than anyone at all. She's inspired me and believed in me and I wouldn't be the person I am if it wasn't for her. I probably wouldn't be alive.
Rach knew I was depressed growing up. We had a deal: if I was thinking about killing myself, I had to give her a one week warning. One week for her to help me or talk me out of it or do whatever it was she was going to do. When I was 19, I broke that deal. I waited until she was out of town and I tried to commit suicide.
A lot of things happened to me after that. I talked to a bunch of doctors, I examined who I was and who I wanted to be. But nothing had a more profound affect on me than seeing the look on Rachel's face when she first came to visit me in the ICU. Disappointment. Though she never said it, I knew she had to feel like I hadn't cared enough about her or our friendship to give her the week I'd promised. I was a selfish jerk who didn't deserve a friend like her, and we both knew it. But Rach never gave up on me.
Getting better and becoming the person I am today didn't happen overnight. In fact, I did a lot of running between 19 and 25, trying to figure out who I was. There were so many times I thought about quitting again. But I never did because even when we weren't talking, I couldn't bear the thought of letting Rachel down. I had to prove to her that she was important to me. More important than depression. During my darkest days, that was often all I had to hang onto.
Twenty years later, Rachel is still my best friend. She has a beautiful family up north and I have my odd little family down here in Florida, and we don't see each other as often as I'd like, but she's still in my thoughts every day. She is the person I most aspire to be like. The person who inspires me to be better.
I don't know who or where I'd be if I'd never met Rachel, and I'm thankful that I never have to find out.