Amy's Story

A text message can be a lifeline

Amy and Jen were both on the swim team in college when they became friends. One day, Jen told Amy about trouble with her dorm roommate. To help Jen feel more comfortable, Amy asked Jen to hang out in her own dorm room or somewhere else on campus. That’s when Amy learned that Jen’s struggles went beyond just roommate issues.

Jen didn’t talk much during their hangouts. When Amy asked a question, Jen often said “I don’t know.” So, Amy patiently sat by Jen, until she was ready to share more about what she was going through—piece by little piece. Amy knew she needed to let Jen open up in her own way. Face-to-face conversations seemed to limit Jen, so Amy tried sending text messages. Jen was much more comfortable texting than speaking.

When the two were apart during winter break, they would FaceTime. But, Jen wouldn’t express her struggles until after the call, when Jen would text her.

Amy felt like she was managing Jen’s life, texting constantly and talking frequently.

Once Amy started to realize that she was worrying about Jen being alone and was scared for her safety, she began to identify that she might no longer be able to help Jen. Amy thought that it might be time to help Jen see a therapist.

After winter break, things got worse and Jen was self-harming. Jen wouldn’t talk to her parents or anyone else other than Amy. Amy felt she like her friend required more support than what she could provide, but she also felt extremely conflicted about breaking Jen’s trust by reaching out to others for help. However, Amy also realized that Jen’s safety was more important than breaking her friend’s trust.

Trying to figure out what to do next, Amy confided in her own mother – who fostered an environment that mental health is as important as physical health. With Amy’s own support system, she navigated how to talk with Jen about seeing the school psychologist. Jen was resistant at first, but Amy reassured her and even joined her during the first session.

It took a long time to get Jen to the point she would seek professional help, but she got there with a friend like Amy.

After Amy graduated, she visited Jen in her hometown. They went to a therapy session together.

“When you're depressed or anxious, you are not in a place to support yourself. Having someone there to help and push you along makes all the difference,” Amy said about her journey as an Emotional Support Human.

“I truly believe this sort of support comes in waves and sometimes you need more support, and that’s okay. You don’t always have to be on one side or the other. You’re not defined by your experience of needing help or support.”

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