My freshman year of high school was not an easy one. High school is typically challenging for all of us, however, it’s important to realize that we all have a unique set of circumstances that impacts our lives.
Long before I entered high school I was diagnose with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly referred to as OCD. I was diagnosed at the young age of nine; several years before OCD became generally understood by the public. Since the fourth grade physicians have been administering different medications to try to help me. Unfortunately, many people that don’t have OCD do not realize the depression that these medications can lead to. Many SSRI antidepressants used to treat OCD have brutal side effects. The worst being their ability to increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts and actions. This issue was just being discovered when I was a freshman in high school. Unfortunately, patient’s were still unaware.
I struggled through the first half of my freshman year. I was in advanced classes and did very well, yet I still felt an emptiness that psychological treatment and medications were not addressing. It’s at a point like this where a person can break if put under the rights conditions. Between the stress of school, extracurricular activities, and meeting the demands of my family I failed. After months of enduring the agony in my mind I finally cracked under all the pressure and I attempted suicide.
It was a cry for help. The medications weren’t working, the therapy wasn’t helping, the stress of it all made me crumble. I overdosed on fifteen extra strength Tylenol. I purposely dumped a bunch on the counter thinking that if someone in the house cared they would come to see what had scattered. Nobody came so I went about my plan. My parents found me in my room a little over an hour later and read the letter that I left on my desk. They rushed me to the hospital where I regained consciousness. I was given an ultimatum; either I could drink the huge cup of liquid charcoal that the physician presented me with or I could have my stomach pumped. I forced down the charcoal so everyone would leave me alone. Or so I thought. In Florida, if you are deemed mentally unstable or likely to inflict injury on yourself you are Baker Acted against your will. So, I didn’t even have the chance to recover when I was pulled away from my family and shoved into the back of a police car which transported me to a different city.
In class, we discussed whether suicide is selfish. I don’t believe that people can fully judge such a thing unless they have a personal experience. In my personal case it was a challenging time for my family and it pains me to think about what they went through. However, the issues that we had as a family have been resolved thanks to my cry for help. I have a better relationship with my parents than I ever thought was possible. While many may see it as selfish, I want others to understand that many people who look to suicide as an option are in a painful place. Some, like myself, have sought treatment after treatment to watch it fail again and again.
So, please, don’t be so quick to assume that you understand someone’s situation or that their actions were wrong. You shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve walked in their shoes and shared their experiences and pain.