By: Rachel Mangold
Edited by: Miya Stewart
This article contains some sensitive material about self-harm, please read at your own discretion. If you or anyone you know is considering self-harm, please reach out.
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Franklin County Hotline: 614-221-5445
Last year, on the one-year anniversary of my suicide attempt (February 19th, 2017), I publicized a video on all of my social media platforms to tell people what I went through. Family, friends, acquaintances, strangers; hundreds of individuals watched my very personal and very real explanation of my experience with chronic depression and social anxiety. It allowed me to breathe. Letting people into the reality of my mental state has been the single greatest factor in my recovery. Vocalizing my feelings and talking through the intricacies of my thoughts has been crucial in my own understanding of what exactly I’m going through.
So, what has happened in the last year since posting that video? Initially, I received an outpouring of support and a few individuals reached out to me about their own issues. I was a bit overwhelmed; but more than anything, I felt so loved and encouraged and truthful. However, my depression and anxiety weren’t magically solved after a year of medication, some therapy, and one video. Recovery isn’t linear and I had overestimated my mental stability. I had it in my head that if I could just make it to the one-year mark, I would feel as if I had tackled my mental illness. Boy was I wrong.
Less than a week after I published the video, claiming to be put-together and mentally strong, I had a relapse and nearly attempted suicide a second time before my best friend luckily intervened. Suicidal ideation never really went away for me. I often described it to my therapist or my parents as a cloud that simply passes by. I know the idea or the option is there, but I usually don’t think on it for more than a minute as it drifts through my conscious. But the idea stuck for too long last February and I didn’t allow it to simply drift by me.
It’s really odd to wake-up the next morning after you’ve been stopped from making that kind of decision. I woke up still determined that that’s what I wanted to do. I did not want to live anymore, and I could not see a future for myself that ended any other way than me taking my own life. It was very dark, I’m not going to lie. However, there was a part of me that still wanted to live for something. That was the day I walked into Petland and bought myself a dog. He is now the love of my life and keeps me going through some of the really bad days that, honestly, still occur from time to time.
After adopting Drogo, I dropped out of college and moved back home to Cincinnati to live with my parents. I started regularly going to therapy, kept myself busy training clients at a gym and waiting tables, and I worked on myself personally. I had the opportunity to travel the world for two months and it is the single greatest experience of my life. I returned to Ohio State, moved in with one of my best friends, started an amazing internship, and began to spend my time doing things that I actually enjoy.
I don’t think I’ll ever lose my suicidal ideation or social anxiety and there are things I think I still work on. But I’m dedicated to filling my life with things that excite me and make me get out of bed in the morning. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Not over-working myself, learning how to say no to extra commitments, and not doing things because I THINK that’s what I should do. I will always be a work in progress; all of us are in our own ways. So, if you are struggling, have been struggling, or know of someone struggling, the best thing you can do is say it out loud to someone and let someone know what’s going on. There are so many people that love you, respect you, and enjoy your presence, myself included.