Shannon Beveridge On Being There


Hi, my name is Shannon Beveridge, and I have had a lot of personal struggles with both mental health and suicidal thoughts, starting when I was in high school until sort of the beginning of college, because I was struggling with my sexual identity. It's a really hard thing to talk about, it's a really awkward thing to talk about. Sometimes it can feel like almost impossible, but I'm so grateful for the friends that I had around me, because if I didn't have people encouraging me and just being there for me in general, literally just being there, I don't know where I would be today. I think that being there for a friend can be anything as simple as just a text message or an invitation or for me personally, I mean, I don't really like talking about my feelings very much so sometimes my friends being there for me was just them sitting on my couch with me and watching Netflix for like hours, and that was enough. Just to remind me that there are people out there who care about me and wanted me to stick around. It made it less awkward for me to talk about my feelings the more I realized that my friends were being open about their own feelings. Just knowing that they were going through struggles at all, like anything was bothering them, it was nice to know that like I wasn't alone in feeling kind of like different or upset. If you have friends who are being honest with you, it makes it way easier to be honest with them. Talking about how I felt at all helped me so much, and I was really lucky to find a platform online, but I think you can get that in a lot of different ways. I think you can do that with therapy, I think you can do that at a counselor at your school. With teachers, with mentors, with neighbors, with friends, with anyone you feel like you can speak to at all. If you're just opening your mouth and you're saying the words out loud, there's so much power in that and it will make you feel so much less alone. Something that I do with my friends and how I try to be there for them is just to like be around. You don't even have to say I'm worried about you, it's more than that. It's just being like, I see you. I see that something's going on and because of that, on this Friday night, I'm not going to go out. I'm going to sit on the couch with you and we're going to hang out, and like, we don't have to talk right now. But just letting them know that they can talk to you eventually, whenever they're ready, I think that's super duper duper important. I had a lot of friends who were like, Shannon, come do this with us, come do that with us, and inviting me places all the time, and that was such a big reminder to me that there was life outside of my room and there's so much to live for, and this world is so beautiful and there's so many things that you can and should experience. And if you just open your door, and you go out and you be around people, it's like a huge reminder that your life is so worth living.