I am 18 and I survived Suicide
There's no clear beginning to my struggle with mental illness, and I don't think there ever is. My current diagnoses are: Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, OCD, Complex PTSD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Anorexia Nervosa. That list was ever changing for a long time, but has finally reached some stability.
I've been depressed my whole life. I remember being five and thinking to myself that I didn't want to live to be six. When I was seven, I thought about killing myself, and, by the time I was nine, I put those plans into action. I didn't know what I was doing or why as I ran in front of cars, hoping they'd hit me. To be honest, I still don't understand why.
Everyone blames it on the trauma. I was sexually abused by my uncle and a friend growing up, physically and emotionally abused by my father, and raped in October of 2016 by a boy at my school. Those people are out of my life now. My uncle is dead, that friend moved away, and I never saw the boy again. I still live with my father, but the abuse has lessened significantly. It's hard for me to accept that such straightforward, terrible things could cause such complex pain. Strangely enough, the worst part of all that trauma happened long after it occurred. It wasn't until February of 2016 that my parents were told the full extent of what had happened to me. They didn't believe it. They told me I was lying. The pain of not being believed by my own parents hurt worse than anything I'd ever endured. I'm still trying to heal and come to a place of understanding with them.
I won't go into detail about my history of suicide. I've attempted enough times to lose count in almost any way you could think of. I was 16 when I first when to the hospital after a particularly bad attempt. Up until then, no one knew about my internal battle with mental illness. My carefully held secret was now open for all to see. I spent the next year in and out of hospitals. Finally, I was sent to residential treatment at Bellefaire JCB in Beachwood, Ohio. My mood and symptoms improved dramatically and I left wondering why I'd ever tried to kill myself in the first place. However, Anorexia still had a firm grip on me.
My eating disorder started when I was 13. I restricted my calories to 900 per day and trained as a competitive swimmer for 17 hours a week. Needless to say, it wasn't sustainable. My body rebelled, and I began binging. I'd exercise extra to compensate, and, when that wasn't enough, I began purging. I induced vomiting and abused laxatives and diuretics in an effort to control my weight. The results weren't pretty. I barely lost weight during that time but the damage I did to my body may be irreversible. It wasn't until I was 17 that the phases of restricting and binging (I had EDNOS at that time, not Anorexia) ended. I quit swimming and restricted my calories consistently again. It worked. My weight plummeted along with my happiness. By the time I left for college, I was eating 600 calories a day and suicidal again. I was admitted to Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center for suicidal ideation and malnutrition. I stayed there for almost a month and would've stayed longer if my parents hadn't insisted they release me. I was sent home heartbroken that I wouldn't be able to continue at OSU until the next academic year. While my heart was broken in some places, it was beginning to heal in others. The kindness and love I was shown during that last hospitalization played what I believe is a key role in restoring my faith in life. My eyes have been opened to all of the people that love me and have tried to help me. I want to live to thank them. Their effort and toil will not be wasted on this life, because I plan to live it.
If you enjoyed Jane D’Arcy’s story, send a bit of encouragement in the comments section below or share this story with others.