Guest post: What if I Had Died When I Tried to Commit Suicide?

September is Suicide Prevention Month and when one of our debut cast members shared an intimate look at what life is like for a survivor of a suicide attempt, we knew we needed to share her words. Thank you so much, Elaina, for teaching us we are meant to live.
 

My post is a little late this week because I wanted to write something for today – World Suicide Prevention Day.

You see I have made that choice – whether to continue living or to die. I have held my life in the palm of my hand in the form of many, many tiny pills. It is hard to explain because I don’t remember having a plan and, as far as I am concerned, I showed none of the signs – dwelling on death, giving away of my things, etc. I had been much more depressed in the past. For years I had struggled with depression before being diagnosed as beautifully bipolar. But that night, a week after starting my new job as a Style Editor, I decided to end my life. I swallowed all those tiny peach pills. I wrote a note and I lay down in my new bed, in my new apartment, and went to sleep for what I thought would be forever.

My new roommate found me passed out on the kitchen floor. An ambulance came for me and I ended up in Intensive Care. From there it was on to the psych ward for the first time.

When I was released I was so fragile, both physically and mentally. They had me on a mountain of meds and I had to be wheeled through the airport with my mother by my side as I headed back to Oklahoma from California to “rest and get well.”

It was a rough road to wellness, one I hope to never travel again. I lived on the love seat in my parents’ living room. Sometimes I made it to the bed in the guest room. Sometimes I didn’t. I saw both a therapist and psychiatrist weekly.

That year of my life fucking sucked.

That was nearly 6 years ago and here I sit typing. What if I had died when I tried to commit suicide? There would be broken hearts – my mom, dad, brother and sister. My grandma and my cousins. My uncles. My best friends who had watched me struggle and had tried to help.

I would have never gotten together with my boyfriend – someone who has made me happy for the last 5 years. I wouldn’t have “Hope,” my gorgeous beast of a dog that was named entirely for that reason. She came along when things were dark and hard and in her I saw a hope, a future.

I would have never written my memoir – a book that I hope will find its way into the hands of others trying to navigate this illness.

All the birthdays and holidays and learning to cook a killer lasagna and minutes in the sun and days at the beach and kisses and hugs – I would have missed them all.

I would have never known that I was beautifully bipolar, that there was a reason for all the madness.

There would be no words here to encourage you, dear reader, to live. Because I can tell you – living is better than dying and that voice in your head that tells you any differently is lying. I know what it sounds like. Seductive. Convincing. Like it knows what the hell it is talking about. I have been suicidal many times. I KNOW that voice. But that voice is an amalgamation of chemical deficits in your brain, a bit of bad wiring. You are not meant to kill yourself. You are meant to live.

If you or someone you knows is contemplating suicide or maybe just needs to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

And as a final thought, here are the lyrics to Lady Antebellum’s song “One Day You Will,” appropriate on such a day as this.

“One Day You Will” by Lady Antebellum

You feel like you’re falling backwards
Like you’re slippin’ through the cracks
Like no one would even notice
If you left this town and never came back
You walk outside and all you see is rain
You look inside and all you feel is pain
And you can’t see it now[Chorus]
But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you willYou wake up every morning and ask yourself
What am I doing here anyway
With the weight of all those disappointments
Whispering in your ear
You’re just barely hanging by a thread
You wanna scream but you’re down to your last breath
And you don’t know it yet

[Repeat Chorus]

Find the strength to rise above
You will
Find just what you’re made of, you’re made of

[Repeat Chorus]

One day you will
Oh one day you will

~~~~~~~~~~

headshot 2014 Elaina J. Martin lives and thrives with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder. She is better now, better than before. Today she has hope.

She writes the blog, “Being Beautifully Bipolar,” at PsychCentral.com, as well as a personal blog at ElainaJ.com.

In a former life she was a fashionista who styled celebrities and models, worked on New York Fashion Week shows, and had a fashion radio spot and television gig. She has been published in half a dozen magazines including Jane, Women’s Wear Daily, Budget Living, Brilliant, Tribeza, RARE, WILMA, and both the StyleShaker and Zimbio websites. She has been an editor for two magazines and for a website.

You can follow her on Twitter @ElainaJBipolar or visit her Facebook page. {portrait photography by Shoot Photo Inc.}

Guest Post: What I Learned From My Son’s Suicide Attempt

Today we’re sharing a post {with permission}, from the blog of Diana M. Rodriguez, a freelance writer in Alexandria, VA. It’s a powerful look back at her then-25-yr-old son’s attempt to take his own life and what they both want people to know about depression and attempted suicide: you are not alone and through awareness we can help save lives.

How can this be happening? What I learned from my son’s suicide attempt

Paul and Diana

It was November, 12th, 2010, when I got the phone call every parent prays they’ll never get.

It was my 25 year old son, and he was distressed and agitated. He was talking about feeling completely hopeless – in emotional and spiritual pain, and just wanting it to be over. I tried to console him, but he was too deep in his pain to hear my words.
“Where are you?” I asked. He said he was in a park, but would not give me the exact location. He had taken a lot of pills, and he just wanted to go to sleep, forever.

In that moment, I realized I had to keep my head and try to figure out what to do. I frantically started calling his friends and asking if they knew where he was. I called his dad. In the midst of this controlled panic, I was hoping this was all a misunderstanding, and that it wasn’t as serious as it sounded. But I knew I couldn’t afford to be wrong.

Thankfully, the end of this story was not the tragic death of a young person. With the help of many people, we were able to locate my son, and get him to a hospital in time to pump his stomach, and save his life. It was a wake-up call for our family, and we realized that my son’s depression was a serious, and life-threatening problem.

In the days that followed the attempt, we all realized we had not understood how desperate and hopeless he had become. It wasn’t that we weren’t listening to him; we just hadn’t understood the signs, and the depth of his despair.

I called my son to ask his permission before writing this blog post and share this important story to help others understand.  I told him it was completely up to him, and that if he didn’t feel comfortable, I would write it in a way that did not identify him. Without hesitation, he encouraged me to write it, and hoped it would help others who have fallen into despair about their lives. Then he asked me if I remembered the Facebook message I had posted the day after he woke up in the hospital. That message said: “I was awakened to a wonderful and blessed sound this morning – the sound of my son’s voice.”

By telling this story, a very personal story, my son hopes that this project can help another family, or person who is struggling. He wants others to know that he isn’t ashamed of what happened and isn’t keeping it a secret. At the time of his attempt, he was in an emotional state that prevented him from having hope. He was in deep pain and confusion. Through sharing this story, without shame or anxiety about telling this important story, he said he hoped someone else could benefit from knowing what happened to him, and that they might realize that suicide isn’t the solution.

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The stigma of depression and attempted suicide is what leads many people to finally end their lives. It is important to talk about how suicide happens, and how to find ways to help prevent people from taking their lives.

Have you ever heard someone close to you say any of the following things?

“I just want the pain to stop.”

“No one can help me through this.”

“I’ve lost control of my life.”

“It’s too late to get help.” 

“Life has nothing for me anymore.”

“I don’t know how to fix this.”

There are situations and events that can bring a person to the point of despair. We’ve all had experiences that have caused us to question the direction and value of our lives. Each event will affect each person in a different way, and if there are multiple stressors happening all at once, it can become dangerously overwhelming.

As an example, a person going through a divorce or separation from a spouse may feel isolated, defeated, and hopeless. If that person is not sleeping well, or becomes physically impaired in addition to this emotional strain, they are further at risk for suicidal ideation. If additional problems with finances, children, or employment come into the mix, there can be a breaking point for the individual who is struggling already.

You may ask, “But what can I do to help? It isn’t any of my business.” Of course it is. Anytime we see someone in our community, family, workplace, or social group struggling, we should do whatever we can to reach out to them and let them know that there is always a way out of a bad situation. It isn’t easy. There isn’t always an immediate, quick fix in these situations. Awareness means being able to recognize when a person is at the breaking point, and working with them to find help.

There are resources available. Education and awareness is key to understanding the reasons  for suicide attempts. I hope you won’t need to use these resources, but as I found out, it can happen to anyone, at any time. It is my sincere hope that through sharing my story, and helping others become more aware, someone else may be able to save a life.

9k239RMxDiana M. Rodriguez is a freelance writer, blogger, philosopher, social media fiend, commentator, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend. She founded a freelance company called Write Type Communications. Follow Diana via  her blog, I Say What I Mean, but I Don’t Say it Meanly, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Iowa City We’re Coming to You!

Anne Marie and I were thrilled to announce Boston as our first expansion city a few weeks ago. We cannot wait to bring our concept of mental health advocacy and awareness in the form of our signature production to other cities and communities across the United States. We’re excited to finally reveal our second production team which will be bringing This Is My Brave to the mid-west!

CityLogos

When you look at Brook Easton you’d never know her hidden battle with mental illness. On her blog, Redhead Reverie, she writes about her long lineage of mental illness crossing three generations – her father, herself and her son. Brook is passionate about raising awareness and together with her team, Lisa Baum and artist Michelle Pendergrass they are excited to produce This is Your Brave  in Iowa City, Iowa.

So this coming May we’ll have three This Is My Brave shows – Washington, DC, Boston, and Iowa City. Each city will be auditioning and choosing their own cast of brave individuals willing to stand up on stage and share their stories of living with mental illness through music, poetry and essays.

If you are interested in producing a This Is My Brave show in your city, please email us at apply@thisismybrave.com to learn more about our application process.

 

I Have an Illness, Bonnie Stafford

I-Have-an-Illness

I have an illness. I will have this illness for the rest of my life. I will be on medication for this illness for the rest of my life. I will not allow this illness to define me

I have been very lucky to be healthy most of my life. Other than the occasional strep throat or cold, and what I thought to be a mild case of low serotonin, I never had to see a doctor with any real frequency. I went on a low dose of anti-depressant about 6 years ago but only saw a general practitioner once a year to have it refilled. Things were much better than they had been before, so I figured everything was good to go.

After taking my current job, which drains every ounce of my strength, I started having more problems. I finally sought help from my general practitioner about a year and a half ago. They did a broad spectrum blood test, and sent me to a sleep clinic neither of which produced any helpful information.

Continuing to press the point, my general practitioner decided to shake up the meds a little. He put me on a different anti-depressant. Well, this one was great. It gave me more energy. I had motivation coming out of my ears. In fact it bordered on obsession. Unfortunately, although I felt a little better, it didn’t fix the problem, it actually made it worse.

A few months later when I come into my general practitioner’s office at the end of my rope, insisting that I had walking pneumonia or mono, but with a list of symptoms that described a textbook case of clinical depression, he finally referred me to a psychiatrist. At my first appointment, a few short days before my 30th birthday, the psychiatrist listened to my symptoms, took my medical history, and diagnosed me with Type 2 Bipolar disorder. I was devastated! This is the same illness that my dad has. This is the same illness that allegedly caused so many of the behaviors that still haunt me to this day. Happy 30th Birthday, you’re a monster! Let’s just say that I did not weather the milestone birthday with the grace I was hoping for. 

The first thing my psychiatrist did was put me on a mood stabilizing medication. He warned me that I might be more depressed until we got the medication and dosing right, but I was not prepared for the crushing, overwhelming, suffocating, drowning experience that would follow. One of the biggest challenges with an illness like bipolar is that I’ve never really experienced “normal,” so I have no ruler, no standard, by which to compare my moods. When I first went on the mood stabilizer I felt like I wasn’t at home in my own skin… like I was consistently trying to crawl out of my skin to be free of the sensation. That subsided thankfully, but it left behind the most suffocating experience of clinical depression that I’ve ever experienced. If I was not as stubborn as I am, I would not have gotten out of bed as often as I did. 

It took my psychiatrist about three months to figure out that I would not call between visits. I didn’t want to “bother” him and figured I could suffer through until my next visit. Once he figured this out, he moved me from coming in every four weeks to every two, and after listening to my complaints; he upped the dose of both my meds. 

Just a few days later… I stepped out of the fog that had been the last three months of my life. Scratch that… the last 30 years of my life.

It’s amazing how feeling so bad can make you so appreciate feeling good. I still feel like I have an unsteady hold on my sanity at the moment. Hopefully as the days turn into a week and the weeks turn into months, I’ll be able to trust this new feeling of stability.

I have an illness that will affect me for the rest of my life. I will not let this illness define me.

******

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Bonnie lives in Charlotte, NC with her high school sweetheart and their 3.5 year old daughter.  She is a Social Media Marketing Consultant by day and helps run Babywearing International of Charlotte, a non-profit that helps caregivers learn to “wear” their babies in slings, wraps and carriers.  Babywearing allowed her to thrive as a mother in the face of challenging circumstances, and she is passionate about helping other parents do the same.  She likes to say that she wouldn’t trade the world for her husband, her daughter, her iPhone or her Boba baby carrier.

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If you’re interested in sharing your story with us, please visit our Submissions page for info on how to submit your song, poetry or essay.

Announcing Our First Expansion City for 2015: BOSTON!

 

Announcing-2015-Boston

Back when Anne Marie and I launched This Is My Brave, we were so overwhelmed with the possibilities of our new venture we had to continually remind each other that our goal was to put on the best possible show we could, first and foremost, and to let the rest fall into place.

Things are falling into place.

The debut performance was a tremendous success. We acquired our 501(c)3 non-profit status. We’re in talks with our local high school to host an encore performance with follow-up Q & A guided by Dr. Mark Komrad, our advisory board Psychiatrist and several counselors and therapists in October. And we’re getting ready to start planning for our second show in DC during May 2015, Mental Health Awareness month.

Our mission of encouraging people to talk openly about mental illness, sharing their personal stories in order to end the stigma surrounding brain diseases through music, poetry and essays, came to fruition and continues to thrive. Both here on the blog, and in personal connections we’ve made through talking with individuals who share our passion for mental health advocacy work.

We are thrilled to announce that in May of 2015, This Is My Brave will be coming to Boston, Massachusetts! Through social media we were able to connect with Logan Fisher, a brave mom and writer who has the ability to describe the pain of mental illness from both the patient side and caregiver side. Logan is joined by Amy Quinn and together they have formed our production team for Boston.

Logan Beth Fisher and Amy Fisher Quinn are creative partners who recently finished their first picture book manuscript–Cinderella Wore Glasses.  It breaks the mold of a popular princess making her more accessible to all girls.  They are passionate about mental health issues and often write about and champion causes that help break down the stigmas that coincide with mental health issues.  Amy and Logan are honored and ecstatic to be co-producing/directing Boston’s first This Is My Brave Show.  You can find Logan’s writing at: www.muddledmother.org, on Facebook, and @muddledmother on Twitter.

We’re currently in talks with several other brave mental health champions in cities across the US to hopefully allow This Is My Brave to touch more lives in 2015.

If you are interested in producing a This Is My Brave show in your city, please email us at apply@thisismybrave.com to learn more about our application process.

Robin Williams’ Suicide: What only those that are depressed know.

14708892989_2668a70147Photo Credit: s.tassinari via Compfight cc

Robin Williams is dead.  The funny man, everyone’s uncle, thespian extraordinaire…killed himself perhaps as a result of an all too prevalent disease; depression.  As expected, the world came out wearing black, mourning, lauding, crying for this brilliant brilliant light of man.  I, like most people, read tweets, posts, watched CNN, unhealthily wading through text and mass media alike to try and make some sense of something so senseless. As I read, one line kept showing up…over and over in one form or another; “If you are in pain, please seek help.”  “If you are thinking about killing yourself, find someone to talk to.” “Here is the suicide hotline’s number.”  I have to tell you that the cavernous pit in my stomach grew a bit larger because although these words were written or spoken with good intentions, they show how deeply depression is misunderstood. 

As a fellow clinically depressed human, let me assure you…{to read the rest of this eye-opening post, please visit Logan Fisher’s blog: A Muddled Mother.}

Follow Logan’s writing via her author Facebook page and also on Twitter.

The Face of Depression & Anxiety

Maria Jose Ovalle lives up to her blog’s name: Very Busy Mama. A wife and mother of two small children living in Alexandria, Virginia, Maria Jose is an Independent Media Strategist blogging about fashion, style, and kid’s stuff. She’s also the Social Media Manager for VisitAlexandria.com, and is an Ambassador for PBS Kids, in addition to juggling her other various writing obligations. She’s incredible at what she does. One might never suspect that Maria Jose has experienced depression and anxiety.

This past May she suffered a panic attack while on a business trip 2,500 miles away from home. She courageously vlogged about it when she got home, posting the video the day before our show took the stage, and graciously agreed to share her video with the This Is My Brave community because she believes in our mission of encouraging people to talk openly about mental illness.

Thank you, Maria Jose, for your raw, honest, brave look at anxiety and depression. We’re behind you 110% in your fight to get well and are so proud of the progress you’ve made so far. Thank you for being an amazing advocate for those struggling with mental illness.

“We deserve better. Talk about it please. Just talk. Tell someone and get the help.”  - Maria Jose Ovalle

Hear Me Roar, Damara Hoskins

***TRIGGER WARNING. This post contains potentially traumatic subject matter. Please use discretion.***

Free, I am happy

Peace is my best friend

Often I’m super giggly

I’ll stay this way to the end

 

Joyful, full of glee

Living in serenity

There’s only a bit of

Darkness present

Still keeping on

I’m happy, just shy

Really, I’m okay

Maybe though, I’m off

Slightly slipping

 

The light is still there

But something has changed, I’m off

I don’t feel like me

 

It’s like I’m broken

Torn and deflating

The pain is almost numbing

Where has that peace gone?

 

Am I monster, ugly, maybe worthless?

I can’t know; I never have.

I’m told the opposite,

But what is the truth?

Am I really somebody?

Or is it just life, playing

Another cruel joke on me

 

Ah, it’s back again

That blissful light that saves me

Keeps me existing

 

Maybe, just maybe it will stay

I’ll remain happy, stable

That nothing will fade,

Leaving me alone in

Utter darkness

 

Of course it wouldn’t

Alone I am again

Battling with my soul

Living, but dying slowly

Collapsing from the inside out

I’m fading, slipping away

I cannot be helped

 

Where did I go wrong?

How did I end up this way?

Lifeless, struggling

 

I wish for simple things

A hug, for those times I need it

And nothing else

Hope, for when everything

Comes crashing down

Around me

Love when I feel nothing

But pain

Peace, when my world is

Ruled by chaos

Most importantly though

I wish for the words

“I’m here for you”

When I’m lost and alone

 

Life sucks, like really

It’s just that simple, I swear

I only fall, hard

 

But what did I do?

I’ve done nothing but

Suffer

Yet still it

Keeps coming, tearing

Me down

Ripping me apart

Destroying me

 

Please just let me be

Let all this chaos be done

I want to be dead

 

The dark is my friend

I welcome its embrace

I don’t stop it from

Laying cold, numbing

Yet burning kisses along

My arms, my thighs

 

I lay down, alone

Allowing it to

Swallow me, cocoon me

In a sheath of blackness

 

Slowly it stops

My thoughts, my feelings

They cease, it has happened

Finally I have succumbed and

It Is Beautiful

 

Blood drops are red

Lifeless lips are blue

You’re not alone

If you wish this were you

 

Pain is all around

But in the midst of it all

I find myself freed

 

STOP!

Inhale, exhale

What have I been doing?

Inhale, exhale

My life has meaning

I’m worth it, all of it

Inhale…big exhale

I deserve the happiness

The peace, joy; all of it

It’s mine to take, embrace

Reside in

 

That moment happened

When I looked in the mirror, and

Saw something beautiful, perfect

That I saw myself as irreplaceable

Unique, rare

Where nothing, nothing can stop my smile

My smile that is genuine

 

In that moment, I remembered I was worth it

That I still am worth it

People care about me and for me

They need me, almost more than

I need them

 

I’m wanted, desired

Necessary for

The balance of others,

For family and friends

I have a place in this world

A place that I will not give up

 

I am alive, I am strong

I have overcome

I am NOT a victim

 

Hear Me Roar, loudly

Feel my inner strength beating

Nothing can stop me

~~~~~~~~~~

this is my brave pictureDamara is 18 years old and never thought she’d be here today. Yet here she stands, alive and free. A stronger person because of her past.

We All Need This Book: You Need Help!

You Need Help!: A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get CounselingYou Need Help!: A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get Counseling by Mark S. Komrad

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book holds the keys to saving the life of a person in the midst of a mental health crisis. I wish it had been around for my husband and parents in 2005 when they were faced with helping me navigate my way through two manic episodes followed by an entire year of debilitating depression. Even after receiving a formal diagnosis and some success with psychiatric treatment, a few years later I suffered two relapses and again this book would have been invaluable to my support system as I made my way back to recovery.

My family members and several close friends were an instrumental component to my treatment and recovery path. I can only imagine how much faster I’d have been able to overcome my severe depression and suicidal thoughts if they would have been armed with Dr. Komrad’s book, specifically Chapter 10 on How to Continue Your Support, which describes how the concerned party can assist in the treatment of their loved one through contact with the doctor.

I am so glad Dr. Komrad wrote this life-saving book. Since creating my theater show and non-profit, numerous individuals have approached me to ask if I had any advice on how they can help a loved one recover from mental illness. Now I have an excellent resource to recommend. You Need Help! is the ideal starting point when seeking guidance on how to get a mental health evaluation for a friend or family member who is struggling, where to go to find effective treatment, and how to be a critical part of that person’s long-term recovery from mental illness.

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You can order You Need Help! A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get Counseling on Amazon. Read further reviews of Dr. Komrad’s book on his website.

Letter to a Friend, Jennie Gibbs

7176240410_26e26557dePhoto Credit: silvia sani via Compfight cc

Dear Friend,

I know you want to give up. I know you look around, and all you see is pain, or shame, or self-hatred…just stop. Let it go. You are SO beautiful, and you have an amazing life ahead of you. You have so much to give, and you have so much love to receive.

I am so sorry that you have had to suffer so horribly. I’m sorry for the stinging words, the barbed insults, the ignorant judgments, the acts of violence, everything. It is not okay that you went through all of that. Even if the people who hurt you never apologize, I am here to say, on their behalf, and on behalf of humanity, I am so sorry. If I could meet you right now, I would give you the most gigantic hug, and hug you until all the pain was gone. You are never alone. You are a part of humanity. If people knew what was going on in your mind, I guarantee you would have TONS of people begging you not to go. You are human, you are important, and you are loved.

I understand exactly how you feel, because I have tried to commit suicide. I felt alone. Angry. Miserable. Like nobody loved or wanted me. I felt like there was this beautiful world all around me, full of happy, laughing people who belonged somewhere. And I felt like I was completely shut off from this world, not allowed to bask in the love and joy like other people.

I felt like this horrible, unlovable thing. I felt like I had to end it, and like there was only one way to end it. Thankfully, my friends were alerted to what was going on, and I was saved because of them. I had so many people who were concerned and reached out to me. I had no idea that people cared so much about me, or maybe I just couldn’t understand it at the time. I tried to take myself out of this world, and I had people reach out and keep me alive.

It took a long time to fix me and pull me out of that dark, horrible place I had sunk into, a lot of professional help, and a lot of work on my behalf. But a year and a half later, I am so glad that my attempt was unsuccessful.

I moved from my home in Massachusetts when I was twelve, and I felt like I had lost everything- my home, my friends, my identity. I got bullied horribly on and off from ages 12-18. I was made fun of for everything, even the way I walked and talked. I had people go on Facebook and write statuses about how I was an ogre, and my classmates commented about how funny that was. My self-esteem took a nose dive.

I had a lot of family problems going on, including my father getting cancer and my mother having a stroke, all while I was in high school. My friends all got boyfriends and were moving forward with their lives, and I felt like I was just on my own, with the horrible sinking feeling in my heart as my only company. By the time I got to college, I had no energy, and I was on the verge on going into a horrible clinical depression. I got to the point where it was too hard to get up and move from my bed. I almost dropped out of college. I was crying constantly. I started cutting my wrists. I was upset, and miserable, and ashamed, and embarrassed. I felt completely vulnerable and like nobody cared. A lot of people didn’t understand.

However, a lot of people did actually care, and a lot of people helped me through it. I have gotten out of my depression, and I have graduated college. I’m going to grad school in the fall. I have a lot of friends and family that love me, and I have so much potential and hope for the future. I felt like there was no hope for me when I was in the middle of it all, but I got through it, and the storms have calmed. I’m in a much better place, and I am much stronger for all I have gone through. I’m sharing all of this because I really want you to know that you can get through it too.

The message I want you to take in is this: You can heal. You are more powerful than you could ever imagine. You can persevere, and be this amazing person that you already are deep inside of you. You are stronger than all your demons, no matter what they tell you, no matter what awful words and self-judgments are within your head.

I know you don’t feel strong right now, but you have, deep inside you, a little voice that is saying, “No, I will not do this. I will hang on.” You just have to listen for it, believe in it, and believe in yourself. I know you may have gotten to a point where you feel like you can’t feel anymore. But deep within you, you want to live. You DESERVE to live. I believe in you, and know you can get through this. I know I don’t know you in person, but believe me when I say I would do ANYTHING to stop you from ending it all.

One day, things in your life are going to be beautiful. You are going to laugh so hard that tears run down your face. You are going to hear kind words, or have a friend throw their arm around you lovingly. You are going to have the most amazing kiss. You are going to learn so much. Sometimes it is going to be hard and painful again. But you will get through it, just like you are going to get through this. You are going to cherish life and be able to see the beauty in things. You just have to hang on until you get there.

If you ever need a friend, please send me a message on Facebook. If you know someone who needs a friend, have them send me a message. I will understand, and I will not judge. Find me on Facebook and pour your heart out to me, I promise I will read it and write back to you. Just remember that you are never alone. You are loved, and you have so many wonderful things to experience. Just please hang on. Please hang on.

Love,

Jennie Gibbs

IMAG0232Jennie was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 20 and is now eager to use her experience to help others. She works as a nanny in Parkton, MD, and lives outside Washington, DC in Westminster, MD. She loves painting, writing, and playing her violin in her free time. She is very excited that she will be attending graduate school at the University of Maryland School of Social Work this upcoming fall.