The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives.
The blog post includes mentions of suicide and verbal and physical abuse. Please read with caution if any of these items triggers or upsets you.
February 21, 2018 was the day I survived my suicide attempt. February 21, 2019 was a very emotional day for me as I began to reflect on the progress I made within the past year. To display my reflections, I wrote an essay about my journey:
I use to be a very happy girl. My middle school and high school years were filled with nothing but an abundance of happiness. I was one of the smartest people in my class, I had plenty of friends, I was apart of many different organizations, and I had a loving boyfriend on my side. My life seemed to be carefree and filled with laughter. All I did was build memories with the people that I loved.
However, life seemed to take a negative turn once I started college. College was different from high school in many ways. The workload was obviously more rigorous and that took a toll on my mental state. I put great academic pressure on myself to excel. I would stress out to the point where I would have panic attacks and lengthy crying spells. These breakdowns would happen at minimum at least once a week. Academics were not the only thing causing me distress. There were plenty of times in which I just felt on edge for what seemed to be no reason at all. My heart would beat fast and my thoughts would run at what had seemed to be a million miles per minute. Similarly, I would randomly get down to the point that I never wanted to leave my dorm room. Nothing would trigger this heightened sadness but it would occur very frequently.
Ultimately, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. On top of academics and my battle with mental health issues, I began to struggle in my personal life as well. My close friends from high school and I started to drift apart. This was extremely hard for me because I did not have many close friends at school. This caused me to feel extremely lonely. I felt like no one was there for me, which caused me to sink into depression. In addition to losing friends, my relationship with my once loving boyfriend became abusive. He would become extremely angry over the simplest stuff that I would do. I felt as if I had to walk on eggshells in order to not make him angry. I would get called awful names such as “bitch,” “whore,” and “stupid”. He stripped away my self-esteem with statements such as “you’re nothing more than scum on the bottom of my shoe.” Eventually, the abuse became physical.
Despite the toxicity, I still loved him, which is why I was heartbroken when he broke up with me. I already felt like my friends abandoned me and now I was losing yet another person. I felt like I lost a part of myself and that I didn’t want to be here anymore. I was checked into a hospital for suicide ideation. This was the lowest point of my life. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this. No one seemed to understand the hurt and pain I felt on a daily basis. I had no hope for the future.
My life took a turn for the better when I started to go to counseling and attending a domestic violence support group. The domestic violence support group was beneficial because I no longer felt alone in my situation. Therapy also allowed me express everything that I was feeling and thinking, which was very helpful. Shortly after I started therapy and attending the domestic violence support group, I joined a sorority. This allowed me to build genuine and beautiful friendships that I was once lacking. For the first time in years, I did not feel alone anymore. Through joining a sorority, I became more involved in my campus community, which gave me an opportunity to advance my career. It felt good to pour myself into my future.
The focus on myself gave me confidence as I realized my strengthens and how I could capitalize off of those. I started to believe that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I have come a long way emotionally since my freshman year of college. Although there are times in which I experience anxious and depressive symptoms, I make use of therapy techniques to help cope. It is important for everyone to know that just because a rain cloud might be in your way today doesn’t mean the sun wont come out tomorrow.
How can people make things easier for adolescents to make big transitions such as from high school or college? What do you look out for to see how your child is doing mentally?