Editor’s Note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following story may potentially be triggering. You can contact Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741 from anywhere in the U.S.
For the past two years, I have had a lot of difficulty with my mental health. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic depression and generalized anxiety disorder. For about a year and a half, I was treated by three different therapists, each of whom recommended that I try medication; my parents were adamantly against it. In October of last year, I finally acted on these recommendations, and I received a prescription from a psychiatrist for antidepressants and an anxiety medication to be used as needed. However, due to the worries of my parents, I had a very bad, anxious reaction to them. The week after first taking them was assuredly the worst of my life.
Right before I started the medication, my parents told me everything that could go wrong in a last-ditch attempt to prevent me from taking it. I took it anyway, but I ended up convincing myself (through my anxiety) that everything my parents warned me against was going wrong. I had frequent, debilitating panic attacks. My professor called 911 because I thought I was having a heart attack in class. I could not get out of bed for class in the mornings. I could not eat. My heart raced constantly. Finally, the weekend came, and I went home. I thought things would get better in a familiar environment with my family around; they did not.
My panic did not get better at home; it persisted, and I felt out of control. I called my therapist, who tried to reassure me. My dad didn’t understand how to help. I felt hopeless and alone, and it felt like it would never get better. I began to have suicidal thoughts. Then I made plans for suicide. First I made plans at home, but felt bad about my family finding me. So I decided when I went back to school, I would do it there.
It was at this point that I realized I needed to reach out for help; I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. I was ashamed. I went back to school with my terrible plan and decided to hang out with my friend both out of hope that I would get the courage to tell him, or so that I would see him one last time; I didn’t tell him. However, he convinced me to go to the health center to get my heart checked; it was still racing uncontrollably. The health center kept me overnight, but I was not going to tell them about my suicidal thoughts.
It was about six in the morning when I woke up to a nurse coming into the room. It was a different nurse than the one who took care of me the night before. She asked me how I felt and if I thought I would be calm enough to go to class. At that moment, I felt the strength I had not felt in days; I told her, “I am having scary thoughts, and I don’t feel safe by myself.”
Saying those words felt more freeing than anything I had done before. The nurse and I cried as I explained, and she held my hand as we waited for the next steps. I was seen by the counseling center, who arranged for me to have a week away from school. I then was admitted into the hospital for a day, where all my belongings were taken and I was put under constant watch. They released me to go home, but I was still afraid to be alone.
A few days later, my medication finally began to do its job. My anxiety lowered, and I could finally eat again. I went back to school, and I managed to do well that semester. Now, a few months later, I feel strong and well.
This was the darkest time in my life. I was afraid to be alone for months. I know my parents still worry when they get a call from the school. And every time I hear about a suicide, I think about how it could be me.
I want to emphasize that while I did not think there was hope, I survived. I am okay. I still get anxiety attacks, and depression still hits. However, I know I will get through it.
When you hit that lowest point, seek out help because it’s worth it. You’re worth it.