Yesterday I got an email via a social networking site from a young girl who read my book. I get emails like this daily, it is the reason I wrote the book, to reach young people and let them know they aren’t alone. This email was a little different. The young girl said she was cutting herself and using drugs and she could relate to my story. I emailed her back, told her she wasn’t alone and tried to talk with her about resources she could access. I noticed from her profile that she was a local girl—that she sat only minutes away from me across the river. We chatted back and forth a bit as she disclosed to me how lonely she felt, no trusted her or believed her. I told her I trusted her and I believed her. She said she hurt herself a lot but no one cared. I told her I cared. I asked her name and what school she went too. She told me. I immediately looked up the school and found the guidance counselor contact information. I called and left a message to speak with someone. I knew someone needed to speak with this girl. She promised me she wouldn’t harm herself tonight. It was getting late and I had some things to do around the house. I told her I would talk to her tomorrow. She said she would be okay for the night.
I went about my night, set the coffee for the morning, watched American Idol—did the mundane tasks of my evening. Something made me check my computer one more time and thank god I did. I had an email from her saying she was sorry and that she couldn’t maintain her promise to not hurt herself. She was taking an overdose. I checked her webpage and sure enough there were several messages about death and overdosing. I freaked. I tried to chat with her but got nothing but a blank curser blinking back at me…silence. I called the police in her town and told them everything.
I answered their questions, her name, her school, her date of birth which I had from her profile thankfully. They told me they had a couple addresses and would call me back. Just then the blinking curser came to life on my computer and she said…hello. She told me she took pills, lots of them. She felt faint, weak and dizzy. I told her to hang in there that help was on the way. I begged her not to fall asleep as she kept saying she was tired. She wouldn’t tell me her address for fear her mother would be upset. I asked her where her mother was—she said in her bedroom next to her room.
I kept chatting with her when the police phoned me back—they had an address they thought was accurate and were heading there now. They would call me back. I stayed on the computer with her. She said she vomited. I said that was good. She asked me if she could trust me. I said yes. She told me she was raped. She said no one believed her. I told her I believed her. She said she felt so alone. I told her she wasn’t alone. I sat with tears rolling down my face anxiously waiting for the police and medics to arrive for this little girl. Just then she abruptly signed off and once again I sat starring at a blinking curser… silence.
I waited. I prayed they got there in time. I sat wondering how many other young people were out there sitting in their rooms, feeling isolated and lonely like this young girl. I know on a very personal and deep level what that feels like. When I was young we didn’t have computers so I sat with music and a spiral notebook writing down my fears.
Then I played the What If game. What if I didn’t know her name? What if she didn’t live so close to me that I knew which police department to call? What if she never thought to pick up my book and reach out to me?
I kept waiting; 15 minutes….30 minutes….finally after an hour the phone rang. It was the officer who I spoke to earlier, he said she was on the way to the hospital and seemed okay. She indeed had puked which got up the over 15 variety of pills she apparently took. He said thank you—“You saved this girls life tonight”.
I hung the phone and cried and prayed that she gets the help she needs.
And now I just wonder….How many of you are there out there? How many of you are sitting behind your computers reaching out for help in desperation? How many of you feel alone? How many victims? How many of you feel you have nowhere to turn?
YOU’RE NOT ALONE. THERE IS HELP OUT THERE. IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT THERE IS AN ONLINE HOTLINE YOU CAN REACH OUT TO AT ANY TIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT:http://online.rainn.org/ CLICK HERE AND A COUNSELOR WILL TALK TO YOU.
IF YOU ARE SUICIDAL OR HAVING THOUGHTS OF HURTING YOURSELF, GO HERE AND TALK TO SOMEONE http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
There are resources out there for you….YOU ARE NOT ALONE!