What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
I struggled with suicidal thoughts for the majority of my life. Once I got to college, they got so much worse. I felt so lost and so alone with how I was feeling. I have such a great life. I have amazing family and friends. “I shouldn’t be feeling like this” is what I thought. So, I did not tell anybody. That eventually led me to my first suicide attempt.
It was only then I realized how much people care. There were people who wanted to be there for me and help. It was okay to ask for help. There are people in this community who want to see me get better.
But at the same time while I was in the mental health facility, I noticed a lot of people had no visitors. These people needed someone they could count on. I wanted to change that.
I wish I could say it all got easier after that, but it did not. A few years later I was diagnosed with psychosis, as I struggled very badly with auditory and visual hallucinations. They overtook my life to the point that I really couldn’t tell the difference between what was real and what was fake. I felt almost bedridden and as though I was crazy. Through help and medication, I was slowly able to get my life back only to once again struggle with something new. This time it was insomnia. It left me feeling so exhausted to the point I stopped doing school, I couldn’t work out, I couldn’t even walk around my block. I just sat on the couch and felt like a zombie all day. These struggles led to another suicide attempt.
But I am very lucky to say today it’s been over two years since my last attempt, and every day since then has been a slow process of getting better. There is hope. There is healing. Things get better. I can truly say for the first time ever I am excited to be alive and see what this life can bring to me.
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
I think there are a lot of good resources out there.
- After my first suicide attempt, I used Behavioral Health. I currently am at Southeastern Behavioral Health.
- There is now a behavioral health emergency service in Sioux Falls.
- 988 is the new mental health hotline number.
- At the WeCan Movement we are holding events to bring people of struggles together. The website allows us to connect with people who need to talk. There are people out there who do want to learn about you and your struggles and help you overcome.
Based on your experience, how can we work to build resilience in ourselves, our loved ones, and in our communities to better face life’s challenges?
I think the most important thing is to hold on to a little bit of hope. Life completely turned around for me when I thought to myself, “Hey, maybe I can have a happy life.” When I started to have hope in that, I asked myself, “In order to live a happy life, what would that take every day to make that happen?” It completely changed the way I operate. And once we learn to have hope for ourselves, we can have hope that all of us can heal from our struggles and truly grow. And we can all take a part of the responsibility of helping each other get there.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
I think the most important thing to realize is we really are not alone as we think. There are a lot of us who struggle with things. Although all of our experiences are different, a lot of us struggle with the same things, and as we are more open, we realize we aren’t the only ones with these struggles. There are people with the same struggles as me, and they have continued to overcome these struggles. There is so much power in that.
Check out the latest episode of Great Minds with Lost&Found featuring Jake Danielson:
You can watch the episode on YouTube here: