How do you explain something that isn’t your fault?  What do you say?  I have never been able to know what to say.  I stand next to a person in shock, just staring.  I am the best person to come to when there is something wrong, as long as it is a little thing.  I can deal with boys who don’t know my friends exist, I can deal with an insult from a friend, I can handle a fashion disaster.

But you can’t fix a divorce, or a dead grandmother. So I just stand there when I know that even a hug would help.  It is almost that I’m scared of getting too close.  I like to run away from sadness.  I like to pretend it doesn’t exist,  like the paper lunch bag that has been sitting on my floor, next to my soccer bag for the last two weeks.  My friends have always come to me with little disasters that don’t matter.  A fight there, a hot guy here, but then someone comes to me and says they still can’t go to sleepovers because they get anxiety attacks I want to leave.  They said that they had this one thought about the pills in their medicine cabinet.

I tell them what every person should tell them.  Go to an adult, go to a parent.  I smile at them, ask how they are.  But all i want to do is run. I want to run and run and run.  I want to get the hell out of there.  Because I am scared.  I am scared that I will be the next.  I will be the kid with the divorced parents, the anxiety attacks and the suicidal thoughts.  I know that suicide isn’t contagious.  I know that if anything happens to me I want to be surrounded by friends.  But it is easier to get away from it all.  It is easier to pretend it never happens.

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  1. I’ve been the girl who can’t go to sleepovers because she gets anxiety attacks, and the most powerful thing is a person who stays even though they think they can’t. I know it’s hard. I know it’s almost impossible to watch someone hurt. But I promise, it means the world to the people who are hurting. So keep trying, Ali, because I know it’s one hundred percent worth it.


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