We often hear some make statements or remarks such as “I could just die” or “I wish I were dead,” but they are rarely meant as serious comments. Some or most tend to say statements such as these when they are having a rough day or out of frustration. What if I told you that there are people out there who actually considered or even attempted to end their life at one point? Maybe it’s even someone you know. Someone you could have never pictured ever thinking or feeling such things. The amount of people who have considered ending their life is quite shocking. We could be sitting next to someone who has had serious thoughts or actions about ending their life, but we would never even know it.
I live with bipolar disorder and I haven’t told many people about some of the excruciating low points in my life. Many who don’t know me all that well may see me as a happy-go-lucky, silly, yet soft-spoken, young lady. They probably would have never imagined that I have had such thoughts or feelings before.
My mental health began to drastically decline in my early teenage years as I entered junior high. I had terrible anxiety to the point where I couldn’t function during the day. I could hardly even tolerate being at school anymore. I became afraid to go to sleep and to be alone. My innocent mind seemed as it had almost transformed overnight as I began to experience severe depression and anxiety. I was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the young age of twelve after a few years of therapy and evaluations. I didn’t understand what bipolar was back then, but I was too preoccupied to care and was just trying to get by each day. School undoubtedly became too much for me to handle, I began losing all my friends, and my mom and I never seemed to be on good terms during these adolescent years. The anxiety became so much that I was afraid of myself and what I would do. It seemed nothing could put me at ease. I was an unstable mess and I witnessed what seemed to be my whole world shatter before me. Everything I once knew no longer existed and I lost interest in nearly everything I used to adore. Each day became an endless struggle to survive, to go to school, and to participate in life. My struggles with severe anxiety alone had me hospitalized two different times in my life – once at age twelve and again at thirteen due to my mind being terrorized by obsessive, intrusive, and frightening thoughts. I was honestly terrified of myself. I was afraid I was actually going to hurt someone – someone I truly cared about. I am a sweet and caring person and I couldn’t even begin to fathom why I would ever think such awful things. I felt as if I were the most evil-minded person in the world and that I was truly going insane. I kept reassuring myself though that if I were really “evil,” would I actually fear acting out on these troubling thoughts? I thought to myself, “no.” An evil person wouldn’t be afraid. An evil person wouldn’t feel wrong or terrified about these types of thoughts like I did. They must just be thoughts or anxieties and they don’t define who I really am. I struggled for a few years with these types of thoughts and it took me a long time to realize that it was just anxiety and that I am not going to act out on these thoughts. I am not going crazy.
My mental health was still in decline by the time I reached high school. My family and I had just moved to a new town and I was in a new school surrounded by new faces. I was looking forward to getting a fresh start. From day one, my insecurities kept me from making any new friends and succeeding in school. I was super shy and self-conscious, full of worries and was convinced that no one liked me anyway. Why try? As the school year went on, I felt that everyone began to notice I was a bit aloof and “different.” A couple of girls at different times had come up to me and invited me over or to hang out, but I felt too awkward and nervous to reply or go out and actually do anything. I became a loner again, just like in junior high. I felt like a troubled misfit and maybe I was at times. During my sophomore and junior year, I became utterly depressed and “needy.” I began to cry out for help in the most negative ways. I would threaten to kill myself even though I didn’t really want to die – I wanted to be saved. I wanted to feel alive again. I hated how I was feeling inside. Lost, broken, scared, and inadequate. I began to use attention seeking behaviors with my teachers in school. I wanted them to make it better. I wanted them to help me, but I became more of a nuisance than anything, a problem student who no one wanted to deal with. I went home one day after telling a faculty member at my school that I had thoughts about ending my life. I told her and my dad that I’d be fine. Before exiting the car at home, I called my mom to say goodbye. I told her that I loved her over and over whilst sobbing. I hung up and immediately rushed for the stairs. My dad saw me and gave me a big hug and told me he loved me and I replied painfully with “I love you too, dad.” I then ran upstairs and I shut my bedroom door. I took two big handfuls of my medication followed by a couple big gulps of water. I then laid on my bed with a sudden feeling of relief. I instantly felt calm and I was no longer crying, but about five or so minutes later I realized that I may have made a huge mistake. Frantically, I came downstairs to where my dad was sitting watching television and I told him that I had just overdosed on my medication. He quickly called the paramedics and then phoned my mom who was still at work. I was still conscious by the time the paramedics arrived at my house and was able to walk into the ambulance by myself. My temperature began to rise on the way to hospital and my anxiety was intense. I asked the paramedic “Am I going to die?” and he kindly responded with “no, we’ll take good care of you,” but I honestly knew he didn’t know for sure and that he was just trying to comfort me. As soon as I was wheeled in the emergency room doorway, I blacked out and I don’t remember much of anything after that. As I woke back up, the lighting was insanely bright and I heard ringing in my ears similar to that of having a hefty case of vertigo and I got sick to my stomach. I began yelling for my mom in horror. I then blacked out for a second time and found myself awake the next day in a recovery room with a catheter. A few days later, I was admitted to a mental health hospital where I stayed for about a week or so.
About a year later after that terrifying experience, in my junior year of high school, I attempted to end my life once again while on my way to school one morning. Life obviously just wasn’t going well for me during this time. I felt unstable and extremely depressed almost every day and I didn’t want to go to school because it made matters much worse when I did attend. I honestly wasn’t trying to be defiant at all like many thought. I was truly struggling. I just wanted to be saved, to be loved, and to be better. I really hated who I was, how I was acting, and who I was becoming as a person back then. That morning, I decided to bring some medication with me in a Ziploc bag and I took one handful. I guess this would be considered as another cry for help, but I felt quite desperate. After the paramedics came to my school and took me to the emergency room, I was immediately taken to the mental health facility again where I participated in group therapies and met with my psychiatrist for a new, adjusted treatment plan.
After this last suicide attempt, I vowed to never try ending my life again. I set a new goal for myself which was to never be hospitalized again either. To this day, at age twenty-five, I have never taken more medication than prescribed and I have never returned to the hospital. I wish to never relive or go through that type of experience ever again. It was truly the worst years and experience of my life thus far.
Luckily, I made it through both suicide attempts, but others aren’t or won’t always be so lucky. I wish I would have known then that it will indeed get better one day and know that I am loved even if I don’t always feel it. Everything has a way of turning out just fine. I didn’t need to harm myself or put myself in danger just to make a point or to take away the temporary feelings. I just needed to get through the mess I was experiencing even if it seemed unbearable and terribly uncomfortable.
Life isn’t always going to feel so awful and there is so much to enjoy and live for in the future. Never resort to ending the beauty that you are. You have so much to live for even if you don’t believe or see it at a given point in your life. Take care of and love yourself. You only get one life. Treasure it. Live it. Love it. You are loved by someone out there. Always know that.