Sydney White, W Jordan HS, 2018 Awardee
Apr 24, 2018
When I was six years old, I was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and spent the summer at a residential treatment center. I couldn’t explain what was happening to me. It felt like a wave of anger and fear washing over me and my body simply couldn’t contain the water, so a tsunami of screaming, tears, and all manner of profanity came flooding out. As far as everyone else was concerned, I was throwing a tantrum. But I wasn’t a misbehaved child, I was sick. And I certainly wasn’t possessed by the devil, contrary to some of my fellow churchgoers’ assessments. I mean, seriously? The level of ignorance was astounding. However, that was supposed to be the worst of it. As I grew older, I would become more articulate and capable of controlling my outbursts.
For the most part, that was true…until my 11th grade year. I was on new medications to help me recover from my suicide attempt the previous year, but something in me snapped 2nd semester. I felt completely alone in a sea full of people. I looked out on the faces of my peers and I didn’t see any emotions that I recognized—1,600 students and I couldn’t find one kindred spirit? They all looked happy—completely oblivious to the storm raging inside my mind. Didn’t they know what it felt like to be a slave to their own thoughts? Didn’t they get tired of their suicidal urges replaying like an endless film reel? I couldn’t take it anymore. Eleven years of baggage is too much for one person to carry.
I was on home and hospital for two months and my life became one shade of apathetic gray. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to do my homework, and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to drop out of school completely. Eventually, with the support of my parents, I was able to return to school part-time and finish out the year. For once, I was ready to face the future.
When I was in my dark place, 99 of “what ifs” that held me back. What if I never fall in love? What if I never get to travel the world? What if I never find my dream job? What if I never find out what happiness truly feels like? Death would rob me of all of those opportunities, and in that moment, I realized how much I wanted those things. My message for other people in my position is to grab that 1% and hold onto it with everything you have. Because one day—maybe not today or tomorrow—but one day, you will find that it’s everything.
About the Author
Why did they choose to die?
If He Dies…
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...