You Are Not Alone; My Mental Health Story

Trigger Warning: mentions of suicide and depression

Since I was young, I was never truly happy. Whether it was with myself, my family
or even my friends, I was just never happy. I never smiled and I hated when people asked what was wrong when I had on my frown. So I changed it to a smile. It wasn’t real — but as long as I wasn’t bothered, I didn’t really care.

Some backstory on my life: I am a child of divorce and I live with my mother. My grandma, Mimi, would come over every day to babysit me as I was growing up. I never had a good relationship with my father, but that’s a conversation for my therapist to hear. I have never had the same friends for more than a year, and I take three medications for my anxiety-based depression which I have been diagnosed with and prescribed since 2020. How did I end up where I am to- day, a full-time, living, breathing, college student in my dream college under my dream major? I have no idea, but what I do know and want all of you to know is my story.

I think we will skip all the childhood hullabaloo and flash forward to 2020 and the pandemic, where I reached my lowest. As we all will agree, quarantine was the worst for everyone. But for me, it was my worst nightmare come true: isolation. At the start of quarantine, I was mostly fine; I still hung out with my friends, went to parties and

saw family. Then, all hell broke loose; not only did all my friends get sick but so did my mom and, finally, myself. I wasn’t just in lockdown in my house, but I was confined
to my own room with no human contact, for almost nine weeks. I contemplated suicide every day for those weeks. At one point, my mom was so sick she was dropping me off at my aunt’s house, who already had the virus, and was going to take herself to the hospital. My aunt, fortunately, calmed my mom down

and took care of us for a week. My mom’s pulse oxygen rate was one point above hospitalization. My only symptoms were drowsiness. I was the lucky one, yet I still had this impulsive thought that I wasn’t supposed

to be here. We didn’t know how long isolation was going to be and in my head, I didn’t want to live in this “new normal” that they were advertising in every commercial known to man.

Over the course of my own living hell
my depression slowly got worse and I had thoughts of suicide almost every day. I was almost fascinated with it and one night, I told my friends on FaceTime what my plans were, to finally take my own life, they ignored me and kept talking about whatever. That, in my messed up head, was the go- ahead. My adrenaline was so high, I don’t remember much, but I do know I never even got the chance to go downstairs and grab the knife. My mom came upstairs to my room to check on me; she said she had a weird feeling that she needed to. And even though we were freshly COVID-free and recommended to
not contact each other, she came to see me.
I started sobbing and told her my plans for that night. To this day, we don’t know what urged her to come to my room. Nonetheless, it saved my life.

I don’t remember much else — it was all a blur. I do know, things moved fast after that. My mom called 911 about an hour into my crying, to try to get me admitted to a psych ward, but the pandemic was still around and going strong. The hospital didn’t want me
or my mother to get infected with COVID-19 again, so I was admitted as an outpatient until they could find a permanent psychiatrist and therapist. However, because of my financial situation, they needed to take my insurance, and United Healthcare doesn’t cover much. In the meantime, everyday around 9 a.m. I would wake up, get dressed and eat breakfast like it was a normal day be- fore COVID-19. Then, I would get a call from the hospital’s psychiatrist. We would talk for about 30 minutes, then the rest of the hour

was dedicated to my mom and the psychiatrist trying to find a permanent mental health “team” who took our insurance. The psychiatrist would also tell me and my mom tools to help me. After a couple of weeks, we found Community Counseling Services, an organization that takes our insurance with no copay, and has multiple options of therapists within the building that would best fit me and my issues.

Today I realize I honestly never wanted to die, I just wanted the hard parts of life to go away. I realize now that I can’t run from my problems like I tried to do that night. I am strong now and I know my worth. I learned to face my problems and I take the world
one day at a time. It’s easier that way. Why worry about things you can’t control? Life doesn’t stop for anybody; I have learned that in my recovery. I think the most important thing I’ve learned and I will teach you is this quote from my favorite book and movie,
“The Help” “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” But I would like to add one more line, “you is worthy.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling, do not hesitate to ask for help. OASIS, (845) 257-4945, and HAVEN, (845) 257-4930, are two student- staffed crisis intervention centers located in Lenape open from 8 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, closed on all breaks. Both take walk-ins and remote calls.

The Psychological Counseling Center (PCC) personal and group counseling sessions, as well as “Let’s Talk” sessions every Wednesday from 1 p.m.

to 3 p.m. in SUB room 416. If a crisis occurs during business hours, contact them at 845-257-2920 immediately.
If you have an emergency outside

of these times, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 988, or contact the police.
You are not alone, don’t hesitate to ask for help.