Suicide is Not an Option
My experience with depression and suicidal ideation.
This story is very personal to me as it was the lowest I've ever been but was also a critical turning point in my life. I share this because I want you to know that despite what your brain may tell you when you're depressed, it is possible for your mental health to do a complete 180! My experience with depression and suicidal ideation was situational. I'm now really happy and when I picture my future it looks hopeful. This site is home to some of my deepest thoughts and beliefs so although I've never talked about this to any of my friends or family, I feel entirely comfortable doing so here.
If you or anyone you know is struggling mentally please don't hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.
Where it all started
I started having problems with my mental health around the age of 15. I was in my sophomore year of high school and pressure from multiple sides of my life started to feel immense. I was taking honors classes, swimming competitively, volunteering, and other things were going on that I found really hard to process at the time.
One day I was sitting at my desk trying to finish a homework assignment and something in me broke. I just couldn't hold all the tension, stress, fear, and anxiety in my head anymore. I stood up, stepped back, and lifted my chair above my head. I remember every muscle in my body wanted so badly to fling the chair against the wall until it was reduced to pieces. It took all of my remaining restraint not to. I considered that my parents were in the next room over and would hear the commotion.
In my suppressed rage, I forcefully dropped the chair in front of me. Then I did it again, and again, partly to release some of whatever I was feeling, and partly because I almost wished someone would hear and inquire about what was going on.
No one heard.
From that moment onward, every day was a battle between lashing out and holding back.
When I was at my worst
Over the course of the next year, I slipped into depression. Every school day felt long and arduous. Even though I had plenty of friends who I shared fun times with, at the end of the day I still felt the same. I felt small, out of place, confused, confined, guilty, and more. Constantly underlying in my head was this terrible cocktail swirl of feeling like the scum of the earth. And the things that weighed on my mind felt inescapable. I remember having this constant headache from being in conflict with myself 24/7.
Most nights I would lock myself in my bathroom, sit on the floor, and sob. It was the most frustrated I have ever been in my life. I would try and try to reason through my problems but every single time I found myself at a dead end. I just couldn't see a resolution to anything and I was thus absolutely convinced that things would never get better for me.
Crying was a satisfying way to release my emotions but sometimes I felt tired of having to pretend I was ok when my head was nothing but chaos. Sometimes crying wasn't enough. There were several times when (as crazy as this sounds) I felt like literally cracking my skull open was the only way I would find relief from the pressure built up in my head. To this day I still have nightmares about falling from a high place, splitting my skull and it feeling good.
Eventually, I thought there was no point in living. I even remember thinking that my family would be better off without me.
A peer lost her life
In my junior year of high school, a girl in the grade below me lost her life to suicide during the school day. The news was a wave of heartbreak across the school, even though we didn't learn who the girl was until a few days later. It was really hard for me to make sense of the news and I tried to keep my emotions at bay by hoping desperately that this girl would make a full recovery in the hospital.
Sometime later I learned that she unfortunately passed away and was a friend of a friend. Although I didn't know her name at the time, I had seen her twice at separate social events. The most interaction I had ever had with her was a shared laugh at someone's funny dance moves. Despite this, I felt for her so deeply. The entire community felt for her. I knew what it was like to be in that dark place, I even had friends who were there too, but knowing that she had actually lost her life to it was eye-opening and heart-wrenching.
I was grieving a peer I had barely met, and it was only then that I realized the lies my depression told me were just that. If I could feel love and grief for someone I hadn't even held a conversation with, I knew that it was possible to be loved way beyond my comprehension, just as I and everyone in my town felt love for this girl.
I will never forget what our mutual friend said; "let this be a testament that suicide is not an option."
My message to you
When you're young it can be hard to imagine life beyond your hometown, your family, and what you've known for so long. But there is a whole world and a whole life ahead of you full of better things. You will find someplace where you are not only accepted but celebrated, you will do things that make you and everyone around you happy, you will find passions that excited you and make you feel fulfilled. Most importantly, things that weigh heavily on your mind now, will one day seem so small.
Your depression is lying to you. You are loved way beyond your comprehension. Know that suicide is not an option. It takes away all chances of things getting better. I promise you, the world is better with you here.
While I can only speak to my experience with situational depression, know that even if your depression is clinical, you can still get help and live a happy, successful life. If you're looking for resources please consider the ones below.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call text or chat the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is a resource for those with mental illnesses by providing education, support, advocacy, and more.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
DBSA offers peer-based, wellness-oriented support and empowering services and resources available when people need them, where they need them, and how they need to receive them—online 24/7, in local support groups, in audio and video casts, or in printed materials distributed by DBSA, our chapters, and mental health care facilities across America.
I'm not a psychologist or mental health professional in any capacity, but I care a lot about the topic of mental health. If you ever want to talk you can message me below or contact me on Instagram @ariels_view.
I've left out names for privacy but I want to say thanks to all of my friends who helped through this time whether they realized it or not :)