*This post was written by Ventura County young adult, Alycia Eade.
Back in those days, things like getting out of bed and getting somewhere were difficult. I was exhausted all of the time; no matter how much I slept, I felt like something akin to a zombie. I had no energy. Furthermore, I felt filled with hopelessness as my family disregarded my mental state. I was overcome with anxiety. I had no will. I was spent. I did not value my life. I did not know the value of my life. I was so retreated from myself that it was no surprise when that day came. It was just a matter of time; I was simply a ticking time bomb as my mental state steadily declined.
In January of 2014, I very nearly attempted to take my own life. I nearly attempted suicide. As I stood there on the second floor of a large two story building, my world was ebony and the sun was extinguished. I could not find a reason to live — at that moment in time, all sense of positivity, of joy, of happiness, wasn’t just missing– it was gone. I couldn’t think of or grasp a reason, any reason, to live. My family refused to believe that I was anything other than okay but the reality was that I was completely engulfed in darkness and gloom. I had so many amazing things going for me — my loving (but naive) family, my best friends, my boyfriend, and much more, but I couldn’t see those good things– I was blindfolded. I couldn’t see the sunshine anymore. I stood there for a long time, staring at the ground below, contemplating whether the fall would really kill me, which was the intent, or if the fall would just seriously injure me.
My hands tightly gripped the faded red metal railing, my knuckles turning white as I battled with the ultimate struggle inside of myself. I recall one of my best friends telling me that we should see the school’s guidance counselor– but I could barely hear her. I was dragged deeper and deeper downward into the abyss, and my mind was obstructing all things that even remotely resembled the possibility of something good. I felt smothered, like a heavy black cloud had surrounded me and choked the humanity and feeling out of me.
Fortunately, I did end up going to the counselor with one of my best friends, before I could make an attempt to take my life. I needed to get myself back– or at least, some control, anyway. After that day, I continually struggled with my family, my father being the prime culprit, to arrange for the help I needed to get better, but after over a week in a house filled with shouting, tears, and disbelief, I finally won. I finally had my mom and sisters support. Suddenly, things began to change. I was eventually diagnosed with severe clinical depression. I started receiving the help that I really needed to get better; I went to therapy sessions more. I was prescribed medication to balance the chemicals in my brain, and medication to help me sleep.
I slowly began to rebuild my drive and ambitions, and my newfound appreciation for life spurred me on to become motivated to continue to work towards my dream.
Beginning from I was a little girl, I knew that my dream was to go to a 4-year university.
I knew I wanted to create new experiences, new memories, and a different lifestyle, all by my own doing. I felt a strong sense of independence, responsibility, and commitment to making this happen for myself. Therefore, I determined that my dream would become a reality. This was the path I was destined for.
In my senior year of high school in 2016, early in the second semester, my dream came true. I got accepted to CSUCI as a freshman for Fall 2016. As the Fall 2016 semester comes to a close, I feel a whole new world has opened up to me. I’ve made memories with new friends, and enjoyed learning while I go about the process of obtaining my Bachelor’s degree. So far I’ve explored and broadened my interests, pursued some of my other my goals, met lifelong friends, and have defined myself in ways that I could only imagine. I am actively shaping my future every step of the way into something beautiful, powerful, and successful.
And it’s all due to me, realizing the value of life. Specifically, the value of my own life.
Today I am honestly still struggling, as it is difficult to control my anxiety and depression. Some days are worse than others. But I am not going to let a mental disorder, and the challenges that come with it, define me anymore. Instead of letting it define me, I am using it to empower myself to speak out. I am breaking the silence on depression and mental health. The question is: will you?