Personal: Don't Jump
In December of 2015, after a long downward spiral during my senior year of college I attempted to commit suicide. I'm not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "30% of colleges students reported feeling 'so depressed that it was difficult to function.'" Even as a Resident Assistant who was trained to help other students through their mental health problems. Even after coping and meditation training. Even after walking other students to the hospital or to counseling because of their suicidal ideations. I still attempted to commit suicide.
The question I get the most about the incident: "What stopped you?"
To be honest what saved me is what I have long considered to be my worst personality trait: GUILT. Everything makes me feel guilty and worried. At that moment standing at the top of that parking garage, I saw people walking on the sidewalk below me, people driving past in cars, a couple holding hands and eating ice cream. If I jumped and landed right in front of them, hopefully dead, I would completely ruin their days. That poor couple would probably think of a dead girl every time they ate ice cream... Is that really something I wanted to put on someone else? And as much as my suicide was about me, I realized that no matter how I did it, I was hurting someone else as much as I was hurting at that moment. To me, that didn't seem fair.
What drove me down this dark road was a large mountain of problems and feelings. But most of all what I felt during this time was loneliness. Even though I had some friends and parents who loved me and told me they loved me, I spent the majority of my time alone due to my ridiculous schedule. Since my depression and anxiety were so bad, I also found it difficult to be around people. I just wanted to be alone and asleep.
The day after my attempt, I went to the hospital for other physical problems unrelated to my attempt. In the emergency room they ask you questions about your mental health. I answered those questions honestly. I was sent to the psych ward. I was admitted on a Sunday and left that Friday with new medication, new friends, and an exhausted sense of hope. My parents, my sister, and my aunt and uncle were very supportive through this process.
Fast forward almost two years and I am back in New England at my new psychiatrist's office in Boston.
I am starting a medication that I have taken before again. I am beginning counseling again with a new counselor. I am fighting my depression every morning when I get out of bed and my anxiety every night when I return to my bed. I am trying to do all of the things that my doctors say will make me feel better. But it is really hard to do all of them and to feel like myself. As the days get shorter my appetite fades and my insomnia kicks in. I begin to see in myself that college senior and I try even harder to do all of the things that are supposed to make me happy.
Although at first I regretted it, I am glad that I got help.
I am trying my best to push on and that's all you can really do. If you are in need of help or you need someone to talk to the hotline is always available: 1-800-273-8255. I am also available through my contact form or any of my social media.
If you are planning a long hike, like me, it is super important that you’re mentally ready, especially if you are battling a mental illness. I know that the trail makes me feel better and happier, but it is also a mentally challenging thing and it will not solve all of my problems. Your depression won't magically go away, do something about it.
Thanks for reading,