Utah seniors share their stories of resilience.
My name is Jenna. This is my suicide survival and mental illness story. I want nothing more than to spread hope and love by sharing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I’ll get straight to the point. when I was in elementary school, I remember I didn’t have a very healthy view of myself. I was often sad and clingy with my mom, and my possessions. I remember I would often hurt myself for a number of reasons, like, failing my times’ table quiz. it didn’t matter if it was the first or the fifth time. If I said something stupid to a friend, or vice versa. why? I don’t know. I can only psychoanalyze myself so far. But I know I had the problem, but I didn’t realize the extent. I thought that it was “normal”. I would self-harm and wear long sleeves and pants to hide it from my parents, friends, and teachers. Other than that, I was a happy, little kid.
I would say that junior high was the ultimate low for my self-esteem. I believed I was ugly. I believed I was a bad person. I’m a firm believer in that you are what you believe, and that’s what happened to me. I put myself down to feel better. I blamed myself even more that I ever had. I tried to use my friends to boost myself up. Most of all, I over-compensated. I thought, “if I can’t be the happy, funny, energetic person I want to be naturally, I swear, I will change this!!!” I wanted so badly to fit in, and be accepted. I became an outgoing, full-of-energy girl for most of my high school years. do I regret this? Not really. I had a great time in high school. I had it really really good! I went to every dance I could. I had a number of friends and boyfriends. I can only recall a few times in high school, really ever being devastated or depressed. I found joy in dance, music, dating, and my school work. Looking back, I can explain my preschool to HS graduation years as this: my spirit is who I truly am and want to be. That bubbly, silly, happy person I tried to be in school. My physical body, though, has an imbalance. I lack the chemicals necessary to be this way on my own. I got tired. My body started to take over. and that’s when my suicidal thoughts began.
August 2015: i hit the new low.
I had graduated high school and had a serious boyfriend. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer a few months before. I had made myself sick with worry and regret. I think it was the stress and pressure of it all. I was about to make some big decisions and didn’t feel stable really anywhere yet. I was having a crisis with my faith and everything I held dear… that time of life is already tough, and I was not handling it well. I had thoughts of running away, and then falling asleep for “forever”. Then, the worst tragedy I could imagine at the time happened. My relationship ended. It was messy and heartbreaking. I blamed myself for everything. But it was more than the pain of that. I couldn’t sleep, and when I did, I was having the strangest dreams that I couldn’t begin to understand. I thought that nothing would get better… and probably the most important detail of my story: I lost sight of god. I couldn’t feel the spirit or any light at all. I felt as if my body had become a dark cage and my spirit was looking for a way out; looking for light. I thought “I don’t want to live in a world where I cannot feel my Father’s love. Is he even there?” I wanted out. Suicide felt like my only option. One night, I woke up after having had a very emotional and meaningful dream when I realized that I needed to talk to someone. Enter: Laura Warburton. I messaged her and told her how I was feeling, and what was going on. She told me to come and see her. When I did, I was surrounded by acceptance, understanding, and love. We did The Work on multiple occasions, and I worked through a lot of mental blocks I was having. I am so thankful for Laura and everything she did to help me through. Laura and I are kindred spirits. For the first time in almost a year, iI felt a deep connection with another person. AlthoughIi had made peace with the events in my life that triggered me, I was still having monster panic attacks, hurting myself, and all the other stuff that come along with depression. I want to add that I tried everything I knew how to do to feel better. I didn’t want this. I tried praying to a god I didn’t know was even there every chance I had. I went and did temple work and read my scriptures literally ALL the time. While all of that is wonderful, I was doing it out of desperation to try and save myself. While those things can do amazing healing, I still had depression and anxiety. I just hadn’t found the right cocktail of meds and therapy and coping skills yet to lead a “normal” life. I had been to the doctor, tried medications, without prevail. I was seeing a therapist which truly helped, but I was still left feeling empty. I made a plan for my suicide. I had a note written. I remember going to see Laura, and she asked me “Jenna, do you think you’re supposed to commit suicide?” I was stunned and didn’t know how to respond. I replied in desperation “no”. She asked even though I wasn’t planning to get married, “tell me about how your wedding is going to be.” For a shining moment, I had hope. One week later, I was up at 4 in the morning. I had tried getting to sleep. I began to self-harm and I remember feeling out of control, and completely numb. I heard someone coming down the stairs to my room, so I quickly jumped into bed and covered the damage I had done to myself. It was my mom. She stayed with me until I fell asleep. I thank god every day for sending my mom down to me that night. if she hadn’t come, I’m not sure what I would have done, but I know that I was at the point where I was going to kill myself. The next morning, I had another glimpse of hope. I realized I didn’t want any of this, soIi made an emergency appointment with my doctor, who then sent me to the Mckay Dee Behavioral Health unit for a week. Those days I count has the hardest of my life! I was so scared. I remember pleading with my parents just to take me home and that I would be “normal”. Thank goodness I stayed, though. I have never learned so much, been so accepted, or given so much hope from one place or in one week. It was scary as heck. It was uncomfortable and long and I was so glad to go home, but I know it was right for me. My family learned a lot. Quite a bit had to change for me to be comfortable back at home. It was a huge adjustment for all of us. But I found the medicine that really really helped me be myself. My body was now in control of my spirit once again. I had so many experiences, saw so many things, and met so many people that I will NEVER forget. Like I said, the toughest week of my life. But also, the most sacred.
My story is one of many. Everyone is different. My story is not a recipe for anyone going through depression, but it provides hope. Mental illness is real. It’s triggered by anything and everything. I still have really bad days, and panic attacks. But I have learned, (and continue to learn) to MANAGE my mental illness. I still need all the love and positivity I can get. I know my triggers and my options. I know it won’t be easy… I may become suicidal again. I may have to switch medicines and get therapy a thousand more times in my life. But I now feel the happiest and healthiest I ever have. I’m recently married to a wonderful man for time and all eternity. My love for god and his gospel is the strongest it’s ever been. I am so eternally thankful for everyone who’s helped me through my suicidal time. I know that even though I couldn’t feel or see God, he saw me and saved my life. One of my favorite ways to sum up my experience is this: I’ve been through the lowest of lows, and now I will have access to the highest of highs. I know that is true. I am so blessed to have this experience and my life. and I intend to live it spreading hope and happiness.
Thank you for reading.
About the Author
Why did they choose to die?
Got a desperate message last night from a person that helped me after Hannah's suicide. Her adult child has been threatening suicide for a...
Do I blame someone, anyone for Hannah's suicide? If we blame one person for anyone's suicide, then it opens the door to blame... across the...