What a perfect writing prompt for the upcoming Suicide Prevention Week! September 9th through the 15th is quickly approaching, so I wanted to do something in regards to that.
***WARNING: THIS POST TALKS ABOUT VERY PERSONAL SUBJECTS (DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF THIS MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE***
This is my story. I’m sure that my outcome is not typical, simply based on the speed of recovery. However, my hope is that I inspire someone who may be struggling with Depression or suicidal ideology to seek help. That has always been my goal – increasing awareness of Mental Health issues as well as speak out for those who do not feel capable of doing it themselves.
I am a survivor. For a good 10 years of my life, I suffered from Mild to Moderate Depression. However, because I did not know that the feeling of worthlessness was abnormal, I did not know that I needed help. Perhaps it was the fact that I was only Mild-Moderate and I was able to semi-function that I did not say anything to anyone. Maybe it was just the Depression itself that kept me from asking for help. Whatever the reason, I suffered for years.
While I don’t think that it had anything to do with my parents’ divorce, I believe that the resulting lifestyle from that sparked it. Even they will admit that the divorce was not an easy one. Also, I was bullied relentlessly in school, especially high school. Long story short, I did not have a ‘safe place’ for me to de-stress. I felt a sense of toxicity in the two places in which I spent most of my time – work and home.
Suicidal ideology transformed into a few attempts in my teenage years. Up until recently (almost ten years after I finally got help), I did not feel comfortable discussing the fact that I was very close to ending it all. I was in a very dark place and I wondered whether it would be better if I no longer existed. It wasn’t like I had many friends. Part of me was even under the impression that my ‘friends’ were only using me or that they pretended to like me. I believed that everyone was talking about me behind my back.
In high school, I had three rumors going around about me at one time. 1. That I was pregnant. 2. That I self-harmed. And 3. That I was a Satan worshiper. Being that I was in a private school, the third one ostracized me further. I was the ‘Goth’ kid in a place where everyone was preppy. Truly, I felt alone. None of these rumors were true, but people would come up to me and ask to see my arms to make sure I wasn’t cutting. It was embarrassing and demeaning. The school knew about it and did nothing.
My grades began to suffer tremendously. I never felt motivated to do homework or even to show up to class. Each year, I stayed home more than the allotted days and would walk through the halls at work like a zombie when I was present in school. Sophomore and early Junior year was when I made attempts at my own life. Luckily, I am still here today.
At that point in my life I was fed up. My school counselor called me a liar when I told her that my grades were starting to improve because the teacher had not updated assignments and she only saw the grade that was available. They refused to put me in the yearbook Senior year because, when I got my Senior pictures done, my hair was blue, purple, and pink. The teacher only decided to tell me this with a 2 week notice. So, I’m not in the yearbook that year. Not to mention, someone I knew in the Yearbook class said that the teacher was upset that I didn’t get my photos redone although other students were not depicted in the book along with me.
I finally exploded. I told my counselor that I was literally going to kill myself if I did not get help. It was a burst of anger and confidence to finally talk about how I had felt on a daily basis for so long. The darkness had become a part of me and I was done letting it take over my life. I wanted to feel happy again. I didn’t want to dread waking up and the daylight hours. I wanted to enjoy my life.
My dad was kind enough to turn around on the highway on his way to an out of town work event and take my sister and I to therapy. In only 1.5 years, I was given a new chance. I did a complete 180* in a short amount of time. Turns out, all I needed was proper coping techniques in addition to the self-esteem to love myself for who I was. I would never have been able to help myself in the way that my therapist helped me. And that, my dear readers, is why I think that therapy is so vital to the healing process.
Because of my experience, I went to college and received a Bachelor’s of Psychology. I was awarded Psychology Student of the Year at my Community College in 2013, made the Dean’s list every semester (Community College & University), received a scholarship for academics, and even became a Research Assistant at my University. My goal is to help, however I can, to raise awareness for the insensitivies towards Mental Health in America. By squashing myths and educating the general public, I can hopefully reduce the stigma and taboo associated with suffering from a Mental Illness. Hopefully my books will give me enough popularity that I can spread my voice over a wider audience.
Fast forward to today. I am 26 years old and finally feel like I can fully love myself. My life has changed so much. I have a beautiful daughter and I am confident I am on the right path with my life. There will be some drastic changes in my life soon, but I feel freer!
This, readers, is a seemingly bad situation that turns into a life change. Never be afraid of who you are and what you struggle with. You are NOT alone. If you feel like you cannot life another day, know that there are others who are on the same path. YOU CAN BE A PHOENIX AND RISE FROM THE ASHES!
I hope this inspired some of you to write your own story. If you feel comfortable, comment with your own bad situation that turns into a positive life change. Spread the love!