Melanie believed that she didn’t have “reason” to be depressed. That guilt made her feel even worse. “Despite having people who loved me, I felt deeply alone. I didn’t think I had a sense of purpose in life, I thought I was worthless,” she says. She knew she was lucky to have a roof over her head, food on her table, and the opportunity to get an education. Plenty of people had it so much worse and they were happy.
She tried to tell herself that her negative thoughts and despair would pass. But they didn’t.
Melanie admits that she felt like a huge failure after her attempt, because she was still alive. For awhile she could only focus on short-term goals like getting out of bed and getting to school or work. “Those are things most people do without thinking about, but for me they were huge accomplishments.” Once she had that down, she tried to plan things in the near future that she could look forward too—like making a trip to see family or attending a concert. “The more events in life I was there to participate in, the more it made me realize that life was worth living,” she said.
Since her suicide attempt she has learned that it is OK to ask for help. “I learned so much in therapy, and I wouldn’t be where I am without it. One of the most important things I learned is that thoughts you have aren’t necessarily true. It’s so helpful to try to step back and look at your thoughts (without judging them) to determine if they are truth, or to tell yourself the same thing you’d tell a friend who had those same thoughts.”
“Mental illness and suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, anywhere. It’s not your fault if you’re struggling. I’m glad I survived so I can see my nieces grow into the amazing, sweet, hilarious, unique individuals they’re becoming. The love I have for my nieces is a type of love I would’ve missed out on and that would’ve been tragic. They bring so much joy, happiness and love into my life.”