Hiding alone in my bedroom, I listened to my flatmate Kate talking and giggling with her friend in the lounge room.
I should join them, I thought.
But I couldn't bring myself to face anyone.
I'd been struggling with depression and PTSD since I'd been sexually abused as a child, and bullied all through school.
My friend Jessica had killed herself two months earlier and I felt so guilty that I hadn't been there for her when she needed me.
At 20, I was struggling to see any hope for my life.
I won't be a burden for the people I love any longer, I thought jotting down a note apologising to my family and friends for any pain I was causing.
Then, I took a deep breath and climbed out my bedroom window.
I went to the local park and called the police.
"I'm going to kill myself but I don't want my family to find me" I said, telling them my location.
Then it was a race against time, I had to get it over with before anyone arrived.
I had no idea a patrol car was attending a job across the road.
Within seconds, two officers bolted over and wrapped their arms around me while I hysterically pleaded with them to let me die.
"Please let me do this, I can't go anymore" I begged.
I kicked and screamed as they dragged me into the car where an officer held me firmly in the backseat.
Glancing up, I was surprised to see tears in her eyes.
"Let me go," I begged, but she just squeezed me tighter.
When the ambulance arrived, she came with me to hospital and stayed by my side long after her shift had ended.
Once I'd calmed down she introduced herself as Constable Meika Campbell.
"You need to text me tomorrow to let me know you're okay," she said softly, punching her number into my phone.
"Hold on to hope. You don't know it yet but you're strong and one day you'll change the world."
I couldn't understand why a stranger cared so much about me but I was grateful she did.
Next day, my friend Esther visited and I broke down.
"I'm so sick of fighting for my life", I told her.
"Oh Jess, you haven't started to fight yet, you're just barely surviving" she told me.
Hearing this was a big turning point.
I'd spent so long trying to avoid my suicidal thoughts that I hadn't thought about what type of life I actually wanted to live.
Over the next year, every time I had a negative thought about myself, I wrote it down.
Then I documented something one of my friends or family had said or done that disproved it.
I enrolled in film school and found myself waking each morning with excitement rather than dread.
I'm glad you've found something you're passionate about, Constable Campbell texted during our regular exchanges.
For my first project, I made a short video called Dear Suicidal Me.
In it, I read out bits of my suicide note, along with those from other survivors, followed by new letters we'd written to our younger selves.
It got over 80 million views on social media and people all over the world sent messages saying that it had given them hope. I was so proud.
My friend Gen and I had the idea for a suicide prevention charity called Voices of Hope and we decided to focus on making online content.
"Teens sit alone in their room scrolling through social media so it's the perfect way to reach them" I told her.
I decided to make a short video telling Jessica's story.
My teacher Kate, convinced me to pitch it at Doc Edge, an annual competition for people who wanted to make documentaries or short films. I was shocked when I won.
It provided me with funding and mentors to eventually make a documentary called Jessica's Tree, which shows the last day of my friend's life and the aftermath of her suicide, told through interviews with her family and friends.
Congratulations on the film! Constable Campbell texted me after hearing about it in the news.
I met with her at the police station a few days later.
We'd been keeping in touch through messages but I hadn't seen her since that life-changing night.
I was so nervous, but as soon as I threw my arms around her, I felt safe.
"I'm so proud of you. You're really changing the world," she told me beaming.
We spent the next hour catching up on all the amazing things that had happened in our lives.
She'd become a mum and I was an award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Thinking about who I used to be the last time we'd met, when I wanted to take my life, I barely recognised myself.
Thanks to Constable Campbell's kindness, I realised I wasn't alone.
Now, instead of focusing on my past, I look towards my future and all the amazing things that could happen.
I can't wait to see what comes next!
If you or anyone you know is struggling to cope, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au
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