“I’ve thought about dying, a few times.”

As the monologue continued, it became harder and harder to breathe.

That’s something really special about Goshen Monologues. Now, I’m a male, and I can’t say that I identify with — or fully understand — the feminine experience, and not all of the stories speak to me. And that’s OK! I am not the reason this is happening, and it’s not something made for me. But some of the stories, the emotions, the experiences that were expressed in Monologues on Sunday night really rang true to me — and are the reasons for this column.

I like to think that I’m seen as a pretty positive person overall. My friends know I get stressed, and I definitely have off days. But generally, I keep my mood, and hopefully, the mood of those around me, up.

Now, it’s probably not a surprise to many that I’ve dealt with mental health issues in the past. I’m a college student, after all.

But what some of you don’t know is that in my first year here, I, too, thought about dying.

It was three years and three days ago, as of this publication. March 11, 2021. One more long day in an ocean of long weeks. I remember coming back from getting dinner, carrying my COVID-era green box, and walking past the train tracks as the sun was setting.

I thought about those tracks for a long time that day.

I got back to my room and just sat there as my dry chicken and mushy peas got cold. It grew dark, but I didn’t want to move. I was just so tired. Tired from school, from feeling like I didn’t have people to talk to, from thinking I had to do it all, from feeling like I wasn’t living up to my potential, from just being.

In that moment, I thought I was tired of being alive.

So I wrote a note, for when I wouldn’t be.

It was about a page and a half. I don’t even remember what was in it. Apologies? Condolences? Maybe it’s better that I don’t know.

I finished writing, and I sat there, staring at it. Not reading, just staring. My mind was racing … but it also felt empty.

After maybe half an hour, maybe an hour, I realized what I had written. I started thinking about my family, my friends, my community. I knew I didn’t want this, but I didn’t know what to do.

Without even thinking about it, I texted a close friend and asked them to come over. I didn’t say anything else until they came. The door opened, and I just started sobbing.

They hugged me and held me for what felt like years, sometimes talking to me, sometimes not. I felt so loved in that moment — and

that was when I knew I wanted to live.

I’ve never let that feeling go.

Before leaving, they grabbed the note, crumpled it up, and threw it away.

That friend saved my life that night, and I thank God for them.

I had planned on writing this column for a while, but a few weeks back, I decided I wasn’t going to. It felt unnecessary, too personal, too uncomfortable. But after going to Monologues, and then reading Micah’s opinion piece, I decided it was a story that should be shared.

My story has a happy ending. I got the help I needed, and despite other struggles, I have had an incredible past few years. But not everyone’s story ends like mine does.

So, know that you are loved, and that there is always someone to talk to. There is always someone to be your reason to keep going. It’s okay to think about dying — that’s not wrong, you’re not broken. Just hold on to the knowledge that you WILL find your reason.

And please, please check in on your friends. Even the ones that seem the happiest. I want to close by sharing one of the most powerful videos I’ve ever seen, which I’ve linked in the online version of this article — or, just look up “Norwich mental health video.” It’s worth three minutes of your time.

Daniel James, a senior history major from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is executive editor of The Record. “For the Record” is a weekly editorial.