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Author’s Note: Everything in this story is completely true, including all the dates. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Brooke’s Story

So there’s this girlie Brooke. She’s my best friend, and she means the world to me. There’s no one else in the world who has her laugh, her smile, or her personality. She’s one of the best peeps ever, and I’m so glad to have her as my friend. She’s like, the happiest person that I know; always cheerful and ready to make you smile. And she wants to die.
See, Brooke is really depressed. Her dad’s death when she was little really took a toll on her, and having a blended family now totally stressed her out. She has all the normal teenage problems, but people sometimes made fun of her because she’s so unique, and it really hurt her feelings. She feels like she’s worthless, just a waste of space, and a burden on her friends and family. This couldn’t be further than the truth- but it’s what she believes.
On October 17th, 2007, in the early hours of the morning, Brooke went into her bathroom and took over one hundred pills. Later on, her mother came into the room to wake up her daughter, who had just tried to kill herself.
Brooke was whisked away to the local hospital. She was really weak and scared, and they had to send her a few hundred miles south to a rehabilitation center for teens with mental illnesses. She stayed there for about two months, and then she came home.
But while she was gone, only a family friend knew what had happened. She had been sworn to secrecy, and so this left me and my sisters frantic. Brooke had just dropped off the radar and no one knew where she was or if she was okay. We pestered Janet to tell us about Brooke so much that she refused to sit with us at lunch and even bought caller ID in order to screen her phone calls. My friends and I became so desperate for any information about Brooke that we broke into a teacher’s desk to get the attendance record and see if she was still an enrolled student. She wasn’t.
Two months later Brooke sent my sister an email telling us about what had happened and to say that she was coming home. The next week she came to school and everything seemed perfect again. We had our girlie back, and we’d never let her go.
That’s when the teasing started. People made fun of Brooke because of what she did, and one boy even told her that she should’ve used his gun to shoot herself, because ‘that would have made a fun show at lunch’. Another boy gave her the nickname ‘Anorexic Emo’ because she’s so skinny. A girl that used to be her friend started to spread rumors about why she attempted suicide, saying that she tried to kill herself to make her crush feel bad. Brooke seemed to shrug it all off, but in reality every word was crushing her.
In early January Brooke slept over at my house after a school dance, and we had a grand time. We had a movie marathon, a picnic in my living room, and a popcorn fight. She told me that it was one of the best sleepovers that she had ever been to, and we decided to go see our favorite movie, Juno, together that Wednesday. But Brooke wouldn’t make it.
Tuesday night I talked with her until a little past midnight. I wanted to go to sleep, and told her to have sweet dreams as I hung up the phone. She said, ‘See you tomorrow love’, and I went to bed with those words ringing in my ears.
A few hours later, Brooke logged into her Myspace and changed her personal message. To this day it reads ‘Words are bullets and they kill as good as any gun’. It still says that her last log in was on January 16th, 2008.
A few minutes later, she walked into her bathroom and purposely overdosed on her depression and anxiety medication. She collapsed, and her little sister found Brooke unconscious in a pile of vomit that morning. She had been vomiting so hard that she couldn’t breathe, and blacked out. She was rushed to the hospital, where she lay on the edge of a coma for hours. When she was finally declared safe for travel, she was flown back to the rehabilitation center, where she, at just 14 years old, had a heart attack.
It has been seven months since she told me that she would see me tomorrow. Brooke will be spending her 15th birthday in rehab away from her friends and family, just like she spent her fourteenth. She’s expected to rejoin us on Valentine’s Day of 2009. She’s doing really well, with the exception of an episode earlier this year where she tore a large strip of flesh off of her forearm and had to be hospitalized.
In those seven months, I have gone into therapy myself and have been put on the same medication that Brooke OD’ed on. The lesson this has taught me is that suicide is a serious thing. I couldn’t tell that my best friend was suffering so badly inside before it was almost too late, but now that I know what to do and what the warning signs are, I can help other people with Brooke’s problem. And it’s all for her.
I think about Brooke every second of every day. Before all this happened, I didn’t believe that it was possible for your heart to beat for someone else. But now that’s what my heart is doing for my best friend. I wrote this story for her, and for everyone else who is like me, or like her. If you or someone you know is suicidal or depressed, do anything and everything you can to help them. Even the smallest thing can save a life. Trust me. This, I know.

‘Even if I say it’ll be alright,
Still I hear you say you want to end your life
Now and again we try to just stay alive
Maybe we’ll turn it around ‘cause it’s
Not too late, it’s never too late….’

– Three Days Grace, Never Too Late

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