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Editor’s note: If you are experiencing any of the feelings described in this post, please reach out and accept help. You are loved, wanted, and so important. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

I know you’re hurting, but I’m here to say I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. In fact, my brain constantly and overwhelmingly convinced me that you are better off without me. I truly believed that I was doing you a favor. Now that I’m gone, I understand how sick I was. I get it. And I’m sorry I hurt you.

I didn’t know any better. Mental illness clouded me. It enveloped me like a thick fog and all I saw was darkness. Everywhere I turned. Darkness.

You see, even though the world will often say that I didn’t consider my friends and family at all, that I was so selfish, you were actually the only thing on my mind. I understand now how mental illness works. And just so you know, God understands it too. He’s here with me . . . or I’m here with Him. However you want to look at it. It’s cool. I’m good. 

I was in so much pain on earth. I just knew. I knew how much of a burden I was to you. I knew your life would be beautiful if only you didn’t have to worry about my problems. Yes, you tried to convince me otherwise. And I love you so much for that. I love how hard you tried. And I know you loved me fiercely on earth; I see that now. I saw it then, too, but my mental illness didn’t let me care. Sometimes I wanted to, but here’s the thing . . . I was really good at hiding the pain. I just didn’t want you to have to worry, and I didn’t understand I was doing more harm by not being honest . . . by not accepting the help you tried to give. Mental illness just wouldn’t let me; it held me so strongly in its grasp. So you need to know one thing:

This was not your fault.

Truth be told, it wasn’t my fault either. Mental illness won in that life, but it didn’t win in the life I’m in now. It is a disease—not unlike other diseases that cause death. I’m in no pain. It’s beautiful here. I’m OK.

I did take my own life, but please know I wasn’t trying to be selfish. The pain was intense, but not for myself. The pain I felt for you, for the pain I truly believed I was causing you, was unbearable. I love you now. I loved you then. I’m excited to see you soon. I’m here.

All my love,
Me

Written by Jeremy & Bailey Koch and originally published on Anchoring Hope for Mental Health: Jeremy & Bailey Koch. Jeremy, a five-time suicide attempt survivor, has lived to explain the reality of suicidal ideations. Bailey, his wife and primary support person, stands beside him and helps him accept help and share his story. This post was written based upon a suicide note Jeremy left for Bailey in 2012. As of today, Jeremy is nearly three years free of suicidal thoughts. Healing happens. Hold onto hope.

Bailey Koch

Bailey Koch is an advocate for those who can't easily advocate for themselves in every way. Married to her hottie hubby, whom has survived 5+ suicide attempts, and mom to two teenage boys, the oldest with High Functioning Autism and youngest with Epilepsy, Bailey is passionate about mental health and parenting through the messy realities. Additionally, Bailey is a Doctor of Special Education and works as an instructor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney preparing future special educators to be advocates for the learning of all. Bailey and her husband, Jeremy, have written and published two books. "Never Alone: A Husband and Wife's Journey with Depression and Faith" details their struggles with severe depression and the journey toward understanding their purpose, accepting help, and finding faith. "When the House Feels Sad: Helping You Understand Depression" is written for families, at a child's level, to open up a conversation about the reality of Depression. Follow their journey, the triumphs and the challenges, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/anchoringhopeformentalhealth and Instagram at @anchoringhopeformentalhealth.

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