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I was on a bridge. I wanted to die. Then I remembered the people I love

Emiliano with his girlfriend Trista
Emiliano with his girlfriend Trista

It was a warm summer evening. I could feel the sun on my back. I was sitting at the edge of a highway bridge.

The sounds of cars rolled both behind and under me as I looked down at what looked like my own final resting place. 

How did my life lead to this point? For me, it was more complicated than just one thing. I was overwhelmed.

Earlier that week, my mother and I had become homeless, and I was couch surfing with friends. Along with that, my girlfriend and I had broken up earlier in the summer, and I was not dealing with it very well. And one more thing: I had gotten news that I would have to repeat my senior year of high school. 

It was all too much for me to take. 

I felt hopeless, like I couldn't fix anything. I felt alone, so I thought my only solution was to end my life. And that's how I ended up on the edge of that highway.

As I sat there contemplating whether to jump, my mind went to the people that care about me. 

Also: What to do if a loved one is thinking about suicide Read more from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Warning Signs

My mother's voice raced into my mind. In my mind, she sounded sad and panicked. 

I could also hear the voice of my counselor Dillon in one of our previous sessions: "Just remember that you have people that just care about you." 

Even though my girlfriend and I had broken up early in the summer, I still felt a connection with her. Her voice came to me, saying, "I love you." 

As I sat there in tears, a police woman came up to me. She tried to calmly talk me off the bridge, but I wasn't budging. Then she called for backup. 

Soon after, another cop showed up. He was a rather large man. 

I could've jumped, but instead I just kept sitting at the edge of the highway bridge. I don't know why, but I stayed still. As the cop got closer, I could feel my heart racing. 

Then, before I knew what had happened, the cop grabbed me by my collar and yanked me from the edge. They loaded me up in an ambulance and took me to the hospital.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Emiliano behind the microphone.", "fid": "136867", "style": "placed_left", "uri": "public://201706/emiliano-voicing.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW/RadioActive Youth Media"}]]The ambulance people wheeled me into an empty room. They took away my belongings, to make sure I couldn't harm myself. 

After what felt like an eternity, a psychologist came into my room and asked me questions. She asked what I was trying to do, and I answered, "I was trying to kill myself." 

She told me that if I continued on the path I was on, I would go to a psychiatric hospital. And then she left me alone with my thoughts. 

After she told me that, I realized that I didn't want to end up in a psychiatric hospital, because I didn't want to be apart from my family and the people I cared about. I decided to make a change. 

Eventually, my mom came to get me. She ran in and gave me a big hug. 

I cried in her arms and told her everything that was happening in my mind and everything I was feeling. We stayed in the room and talked for a while. 

Before I knew it, the psychologist returned and told me that I seemed to be doing better. After a few more questions, we made a suicide plan, a list of people who I can contact for help in case I ever got to that point again. Once I had that, I was able to leave the hospital with my mom. 

You may wonder why I am talking about this painful topic. Going through this, I learned there are many people in my life who care about me and who need me to be alive. 

After this, my girlfriend and I got back together, and since then she's been living with me. When she first got the news of me trying to kill myself, she told me she didn't know how to feel.

"To know someone that close to you almost did something like that was kind of an arrow to the knee," she said. It made her stop everything and "think about life in a way."

I wanted to tell this story because I wanted others who suffer with suicidal thoughts and depression to know that there is an out. It doesn't have to end with your own or other people's deaths. 

Life gives you hardships to test you, to see if you can overcome them. Without hardships, life would be boring. But if you are feeling depressed and have suicidal thoughts, go to the people that care about you and find help. 

[asset-images[{"caption": "Emiliano waves to the camera on the last day of the RadioActive 2017 After-School Workshop.", "fid": "136869", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201706/emiliano-wave.JPG", "attribution": "Credit KUOW/RadioActive Youth Media"}]]Emiliano Alárcon graduated high school and he plans to pursue a career in psychology. He shared this story so other young people with mental illness know they are not alone. If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, call the Crisis Clinic at 866-4CRISIS (866-427-4747) or, for teens only, chat online at

This story was created in RadioActive Youth Media's 2017 After-School Workshop for high school students at New Holly in partnership with Seattle Housing Authority. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter