Advice From a Suicide Survivor

Lei Murphy, Reporter

I’ve always struggled with my mental health. I didn’t get professionally diagnosed with mental illnesses until I was older, but looking back I have always had a hard time with it. I experienced a lot of childhood trauma growing up which caused me to develop severe anxiety and trauma-based disorders. I also have genetically passed disorders like depression, anxiety, and ADHD. 

For a lot of people that struggle it might seem like there isn’t anything good to take away from these hardships, but I don’t agree with that. I know everything I’ve struggled with throughout my life has made me a stronger person.

When I was 13, my mental illnesses began to rapidly get worse. I couldn’t leave my bed, not even to brush my teeth or to take a shower. Some days I still can’t do these things, I go through periods of extreme depression, which make accomplishing simple tasks exhausting. I’m extremely lucky to have gotten into therapy, but that of course doesn’t solve everything. I was 15 when I attempted to take my own life for the first time. I had been in therapy for almost two years, despite this fact, I was still struggling on my own, keeping it to myself and bottling it all up hoping it would go away. After I attempted to end my life, I realized I really needed help and I reached out to someone I could trust. I had finally asked for more extensive help that I truly needed, and this meant admitting that I wasn’t okay. It is okay to ask for help, and it is okay to not be okay.

I have always had this extreme self-hatred, I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror, but when I would, I would spend so much time examining my features, labeling the parts I didn’t like as ugly or disgusting. I hated the person I was, I hated the way I looked, the way I talk, the way I walk, the way I stand, everything that I could critique. I feel like an elephant, my friends tell me I look fine, that I’m not fat or ugly at all, but that doesn’t change how I feel when I see myself. It’s like I have blinders on, it’s called Body Dysmorphia. This is what caused me to start inflicting pain on myself, whether that was cutting myself or punching the wall. Self-harm is similar to any other addiction, it’s a horrible habit that is undoubtedly hard to break. For me, self-harm took away the emotional pain I was dealing with, but only temporarily. My addiction had gotten to the point that I couldn’t get through the day without doing it, which impacted every single aspect of my life. Self-harm was the reason for my second hospitalization, I could not stop on my own. Addiction isn’t pretty and it isn’t a solution to any problem, all it is is a quick fix, but in reality, it makes everything worse. 

I was in the mental hospital for around 2 weeks and I finally got on medication that would help me and got evaluated correctly on what disorders I had and what would help me. Turns out I had been wrongfully diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. What I really had was called Borderline Personality Disorder, or what I like to call, my worst enemy. BPD is a personality disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and feels. It includes intense feelings, emotions, and extreme thoughts that are hard to control. Every single day I suffer from these symptoms, but how to deal with these thoughts, I am still learning. Looking at me you probably would think I’m just a normal kid, I mean how could you know? You never really know what someone is going through. You never know what kind of battle they could be fighting inside of their own head.

Borderline Personality Disorder kicks my ass, it’s extremely hard to handle, and at times feels unbearable, but it has taught me so many things like how important it is to be independent and not codependent. When you rely on others for your own happiness and they leave it feels like you’re dying, like you lost a part of yourself because you did, you put a part of yourself into that person. Being able to be on your own is so hard, it’s difficult and not easy at all. At first, it feels lonely, like you have nobody, but it allows you to evaluate your relationships with others and learn to make yourself happy. Being the source of your own happiness is such a freeing feeling. This doesn’t mean cutting people off it just means you can thrive and be happy by yourself. This is how I began my journey to self-love, I’m still on that path and I’m definitely not there yet. No journey is linear, there are plenty of pit stops and bumps in the road, but the goal is to be able to not get caught in the ditch or stop at every gas station for a candy bar.

When I attempted suicide, I didn’t feel as though my life was worth living. I wanted to escape the inside of my head, I wanted the mental battle to end, and the only way I thought I could do that was by taking my life. I know this might sound out of the ordinary for someone who’s tried to kill themself, but life is so worth living. You can’t truly know the difference between life and living until you try to end your life. Living is so much more than having a pulse. Living is doing things you love, living is playing with your cat, living is driving with the windows down, living is enjoying your favorite songs and movies, living is walking outside barefoot, living is spending time with those you care about. Living is beautiful and I hope everyone can figure that out sometime soon. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month.  Mental health matters.