I Attempted Suicide, and Here's My Story

CW: This article deals mainly with suicide and suicidal thoughts.

Recently, Kenyon hosted an event called “Send Silence Packing,” so I figured it was as good of a moment as any to talk about my own experience with suicide at Kenyon. When I was a first-year at Kenyon, I tried to kill myself. It was early October right before fall break, so I spent my first ever fall break in a psych ward. I celebrated my mom’s birthday in this same psych ward. My suicide attempt has impacted my life very deeply in many ways and has shaped my time at Kenyon.  I rarely talk about it because, honestly, I’m just extremely embarrassed. I feel really guilty that I put people around me through that. 

Person Leaning on Wall

Kenyon didn’t handle it well at all and the way the administration reacted absolutely contributed to my guilt and shame. They really wanted me to leave. I felt like a liability. I know those around me who wanted me to leave were trying to help, but I just genuinely felt like, because of my mental health, I didn’t deserve to be at Kenyon. The way the administration handled it just left me feeling ashamed and exhausted. They told my friends to call Campus Safety if they ever feared for my safety again, and it just left me feeling like I couldn’t confide in anyone. In order to stay at Kenyon after my hospitalization, I was given a list of requirements I had to meet. 

I have a very strange relationship with this college. As much as I pushed to be here, because I really wanted to, I’m frustrated that I had to. I’m frustrated that the natural response wasn’t one of trying to figure out how to help me stay at Kenyon, but rather, was one of pushing me to leave. This school allows people with Title IX violations to stay here, but because I was depressed, I was pushed to leave. It just feels unfair that I was treated as if I’d done something wrong. And I know suicide is not the solution and is absolutely not a decision that only impacts one person, but when someone is at that low point, being treated like you are a burden or disruption of any kind is the exact opposite of what should happen. I tried to kill myself because I genuinely felt the world would be better without me, and sometimes I still feel like it would be. To have the school I attend treat me like they would have been better without me was an extremely painful form of rejection that I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from. I’ve had pretty bad imposter syndrome for a while, but I think my imposter syndrome when it comes to Kenyon was really amplified and exacerbated by the fact that I didn’t feel like I deserved to be here after my suicide attempt. 

Grayscale Photography of Woman Touching Her Eyes

The whole “Send Silence Packing” event led me to evaluate how Kenyon handled my own suicide attempt, and it made me realize that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was. I’m normally an open book. I’m a Gemini so I never shut up, and I’ve been through enough therapy that I’ve learned to be emotionally open and vulnerable and just generally communicative, but when it comes to my suicide attempt, I normally don’t address it. A lot of this comes from the fact that I’m aware that it’s a heavy subject, and I just typically do not want to upset people, but a lot of it also comes from how I was treated after it happened. I didn’t feel like I had the right to talk about it, and I’ve come to a place where I’m starting to let go of that. October 3rd was the two-year anniversary of my suicide attempt, and October 13th will be the two-year anniversary of when I was discharged from the psych ward I was in after it happened. I am no longer ashamed of my story and am getting to a place where I’m proud of how far I've come and who I am now. My suicide attempt and everything that happened after was an extremely traumatic experience and one that I’m still getting over, but I’ve finally found the strength to share my story and truly “send silence packing.”

Feature, 12