I’ve had problems with anxiety and depression my whole life, but looking back on the months prior to being admitted into the hospital, I was suffering. Everything that had worked to make me feel better in the past stopped working. Hobbies I used to love felt pointless. I felt desperate and alone. I began to injure myself. I felt like it was the only escape I had from my problems. I felt like a failure because I wouldn’t leave my bed. I told myself that I was a disappointment every day.
My indifference scared me. It was like part of me didn’t care about my emotions or myself. I was slowly giving up and losing control. I often told myself to “just stop being so upset” or to “get over it,” but I couldn’t. The feeling of not being able to help myself tore me into pieces and drained me of any motivation.
One particular night, I wanted to take my own life. I was hesitant, but I called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I can assure you it saved my life and prevented me from doing extreme harm to myself. The woman on the line was kind and talked me through my panic. She stayed on the phone with me for about an hour and told me about all the resources I had. Eventually I agreed to put my therapist on the line. The woman and him decided that it was best for me to get outside treatment. I was angry at first, but I knew that I needed help and had to go somewhere safe.
So, I was brought to an inpatient center. The first night there was lonely. I felt like I had disappointed everyone. I was very angry at myself and wished that I had never told anyone about my thoughts of suicide. A man checked on me every few hours, and I knew that I would be safe. I tried to find comfort in that. I knew that this was the best I could do for myself.
That morning, I was greeted by six or seven girls on my hall. They asked me my name and why I was there. I was shy, but they were extremely kind and compassionate. They know what this feels like, I thought. I’m not alone. I felt drawn to hear their stories.
We would stay in a bright room with games, some music, and art for most of the day. Papers lined the wall. I read messages like “stay strong,” “there can’t be sunshine without a little rain,” and more. I spent most of my day drawing things for the wall and journaling. I kept thinking to myself, When I leave here, people can know that I got through it. They’ll know that I found hope.
While I was there, my medicine was adjusted. I had been taking the same medication for years, but it had no effect on me. Being in the psychiatric ward gave psychiatrists time to find the medications that I needed. I began to understand the importance of treatment and self-care. There were nights where I felt just as bad as I had felt the night I was admitted, and I always had a counselor or a staff member to talk to. They seemed to understand and guide me through my thoughts (we called it “processing”). There was a particular staff member that would offer to talk to all of us as a group, even after lights out. Sometimes I would talk to her one-on-one if I needed it. She told me that the reason why she worked in the hospital was because she had been through what we had. And that’s when I knew that I had to share my story and make a difference.
Even though I still have problems with depression and anxiety, I’ve learned that I am more than the problems I face. Recovery can’t happen in a day. Little by little, things do get better. I still get therapy and take medication, and I’m learning new, healthy ways to cope. I hope that through sharing my story I will inspire someone.
If you are ever feeling hopeless, stuck, have thoughts of suicide, or need emotional support, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also chat with a counsler. You can get through this.
In addition to the Lifeline, here are some links you may find helpful:
–Self-Injury Foundation: Research, information, and resources on self-injury
– Sirius Project: A collaborative, recovery-focused website for people with past or present experience of mental health problems and their carers. Our aim is to share the resources and ideas which have helped us. We now focus on all aspects of mental health as well as self-harm.
– Metanoia: “If You Are Thinking About Suicide, Read This First”