I had been self-harming for around 6 months and had been depressed for probably years but was still in my little bubble thinking that it was normal to want to die when I went to counseling for the first time on my own (my mom had me go in high school when my cousin died but I lied to the counselor because I knew she could tell my mom if I told her the truth-that I wanted to hurt myself and that I wanted to die). This time I was on my own in college and I decided that it was time for help even though I still wasn’t ready to tell the whole truth.
I started seeing my counselor first semester around November. Then on the eve of my 19th birthday (March) I found myself on the top of a parking deck ready to jump but there was something out there that stopped me. I called my best friend at home and she didn’t answer. I didn’t know what to do because I knew if I didn’t talk to someone soon that I would jump. So I called another friend, this one went to school with me and lived in the same dorm. She came running over in her pajamas and we sat up on the parking deck while I talked to my friend from home after she called back and then to her. She waited up there with me until I was ready to come down plus a few more minutes so she could sing me happy birthday as loud as she could just so I would crack a smile. Even after that I didn’t really realize how bad I was getting. I just waited it out the couple of days to go to my counseling appointment and played it off like yeah that happened but whatever and smiled through the appointment like I had always just smiled through life no matter what. My counselor referred me to the regular doctor in the health clinic at school because I could get in to see her quicker than the psychiatrist in the counseling department. That was when my life took an interesting turn.
Up until the point that I went to see the doctor I didn’t really have a diagnosis of anything. There was a loose diagnosis of a mood disorder but since my counselor didn’t know about the self-harm until my sophomore year and until I told her about the parking deck, she didn’t know that I was having suicidal thoughts because I was so scared to tell her. Once I saw the doctor though I had a diagnosis of Bipolar II and she wanted to start me on meds. The next scariest part for me was to talk to my parents about it. They came in for the weekend to see me and the first conversation I had with them was… “Mom, dad,………… I’ve been seeing a counselor since November and well I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar and the doctor wants to start me on meds” They were so amazingly supportive though and told me that if that’s what I thought that I needed to do that that’s what I should do so I did. I went the next day and picked up my first month’s worth of medicine.
The next year would prove to have its ups and downs. The meds working, the meds not working, switching meds, the meds not working, switching meds. But then second semester rolls around. This time it was April. I had been still self-harming (until February and still going strong a year and a while later!) and having suicidal thoughts but it all just came to a peak in April when I hit the point that I couldn’t take it anymore. I was in what I thought was a safe place but I was left alone with meds and I was at my limit I couldn’t see any other way out and I couldn’t think of anything but dying and getting out and away of everything that was hurting me. I couldn’t think about all of the people that I would hurt or my best friend who would inevitably find me but luckily she did find me. She found me right before I took all my meds. She got them away from me and counted them to make sure that I was safe and that I hadn’t taken anything. She sat with me while I cried and eventually got me to the hospital where I needed to be. I did intake and spoke with the social worker. I was released from the hospital that night/morning (it was about 4 in the morning when we were allowed to leave) but it was far from over.
I had appointment after appointment in counseling with the psychiatrist and then when my parents got there with the psychiatrist again and then one more on my own with the counselor before I went home for the semester and was put in to a hospital program. I did 6 weeks of a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) where I was at the hospital from 9-3 Monday-Friday. I’m not going to say that that made me “all better” or that it “fixed” me but it certainly helped me a lot.
Today it’s a year and a half later and I still have my ups and downs and I’m still in recovery but I’m a stronger woman because of it. I have a long life ahead of me and I’m proud to say that I get to live it. Sometimes I forget how hard I’ve had to fight to be alive but I hope that I never forget how worth the fight it’s been to be right here, right now, breathing, and typing out my story and hoping that it will help someone else realize they aren’t alone. I’m 21 and I’ve gone through a lot in the last 3 years and you know what I’m still kicking. My story isn’t over;