VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about depression and/or suicide which may be triggering to some readers.
It was my senior year of high school. This year was suppose to be the best year of my life. Homecoming, prom and graduation were supposed to be the most amazing nights, but I just couldn’t understand why I hated everything so much.
In high school, I had a boyfriend of almost four years, wonderful friends and amazing grades. I was involved in many clubs and played soccer. I loved it…until senior year. It was nearing September and homecoming was around the corner. This year, however, I wasn’t excited. Every single day all I wanted to do was lay in my bed. I wanted to get my things done, but I couldn’t get up. I was exhausted; not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
Homecoming was getting close, and even though I was troubled with sadness, I had to fake that smile and pretend everything was okay, especially because I was a nominee for homecoming queen. I would go to school, smile at my friends, walk down the hallway holding my boyfriend’s hand, and laugh like nothing was wrong. After school, I would go home, go down to my basement and sleep. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong with me. The week of homecoming came around, and as I sat in math class, I heard the announcement, “Our homecoming queen is Hannah Penn.” Everyone congratulated me while I smiled, but on the inside I wanted to start crying. That fact that this whole week would be featuring me bothered me so much. Thoughts like “Why would people want to feature me all week long” and “I’m not even good enough for this” passed through my mind.
After homecoming week came, it turned into October. October 2014 was one of the worst months of my life. It was also the first time I had an extremely bad anxiety attack. During the attack, I started taking pills that were in the medicine cabinet. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I truly could not stand another day of being alive. After I took about five or six, I realized it wasn’t what I wanted. I pictured my mom at my funeral wondering if this was her fault or missing my baby sister’s high school graduation and I stopped myself. I made myself throw up four times to try and get it out of my system. After, I called my dad and told him I wasn’t feeling good and got sick in our basement. He cleaned it up, but while he was cleaning I wouldn’t dare tell him I tried to kill myself that night.
After this night, the anxiety attacks came almost every couple of days. I was so scared, lost and alone. I didn’t want to tell anyone that I felt like this because I believed it was my job to always be perfect.
A few months passed, and before I knew it, it was January 11, 2015, the next time I couldn’t take life anymore. I was having a bad anxiety attack, and I grabbed my little sister’s black thick belt. I wrapped it around the steal on my bed frame. As soon as I stood up on my bed, I heard my dad walk in the door downstairs getting home from work. I wiped the tears from my eyes and went to see him 20 minutes later. If my dad would’ve came in five minutes later, I wouldn’t be writing this today.
That night I knew I needed to tell my dad what had been going on. I knew that I couldn’t do this alone anymore. My dad’s door was shut. I could hear the TV and see the light from the hall shining from underneath door. It took me 10 minutes just to walk in his room. Once I was in the room all I did was cry for 25 minutes before I could say something. I finally explained to him how unhappy I was. I explained to him that I tried to kill myself and that I was scared I might do it again.
The next week I started going to therapy and got a psych evaluation. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression disorder. I was prescribed medication. I continued therapy for six months after I started. During the next couple of months, things got easier. I still had challenges though, like the 40 pounds I gained and the mental pain I put myself through. However, I wasn’t faking a smile as much any more. I lost a lot of friends during the year, and lost a long relationship as well. In order for me to get better, I feel like a lot of these things had to happen.
The next couple months held prom and graduation. When I was crowned prom queen I was so happy; not because my senior class voted my prom queen, but because I was standing, breathing and learning to love myself and my life all over again. It felt so great.
Over the summer, I started working out. I was still taking my medicine, but no longer attending therapy. I felt so amazing in my own skin. I was ready to start my new life at St. Ambrose University and I couldn’t wait.
The only thing holding my back now was the amount of weight I put on. I started to run and eat healthy. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I was determined. Determined to not only lose this weight, but just to feel comfortable in my skin again and LOVE MYSELF. I did. By December 2015, I lost 35 pounds. I was so happy and I made so many new friends. I met my amazing roommate now and started to date the most amazing man. I realized I was loved by many, I was smart, and I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Every single day I am thankful to be standing and breathing. Every single run I take I thank God above for blessing me with the ability. Every single day I AM SO GLAD TO BE ALIVE.
Please, if anyone you know or yourself is having suicidal thoughts and problems tell someone. Anyone. It will save a life or your own. Love yourself, and treat others with respect. You never know how much someone is hurting or what someone is going through. The Suicide Prevention and CRISIS hotline is open 24 hour daily. The number is (217) 222-1166. You are never alone and you will make it through what ever is troubling you. GOD BLESS.