It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

The idea that anyone could feel so alone in a world that has approximately 7 billion human beings coexisting on it that they would resort to taking their own life is heartbreaking.

I feel as though everywhere I turn, whether around me or far from me, someone is being affected by suicide. I have friends from high school whose lives have been turned upside down by the loss of a former classmate. I have friends who are suffering from the tragic loss of a loved one. Now, most recently, I see and mourn with a nation who has lost an icon: Robin Williams.

As someone who has personally struggled with my own bouts of depression, anxiety and panic attacks, it struck a chord in me. It made me feel as though I had lost a comrade. A cellmate. A person who was walking hand in hand along a nail-laced floor with me.

During my first semester here at AACC, I suffered so badly that I failed 2 out of the 4 courses that I had signed up for. I was a ball of ribbon that just kept on unraveling. I’d leave classes 30 to 40 minutes early because nothing in me could focus. Numbers and letters all snowballed together and formed different shapes. Simple words and phrases took on a whole new meaning to me.

Rather than telling others like my parents and friends about what was happening and how I was feeling, I shrunk even more into myself than I thought was possible, what with being by nature, an introvert. After a long day of ducking in and out of rooms, bathrooms, libraries, and other people’s lives, I would go home, smile at my family members and tell them that everything was going, “okay.”

Then I would go in my room, close my door and do everything from writing to painting to see the next morning. Often times, sleep would evade me. Although I had always had an odd sleep schedule, my new sleep pattern changed into less than four hours of sleep per night.

Upon my parents’ request after my first semester, I did not return to AACC for the next two semester. In between that break, I continued to spiral until in the Aug. of 2013 when I had a car accident on a Sunday morning. I did no hit anyone. I drove, while in the midst of one of my panic attacks, 70 miles per hour directly into a curb. My car ricocheted off of the curb and bounced into a hill. I missed an electricity pole by the matter of a few feet.

It was in that moment that I realized that I needed help. That I was a danger to myself. With my parents’ help, I sought counseling and was able to return to AACC late Aug. I took one course that fall, Intro to Acting. Through the new found openness and elevation of family, friends and supporters around me, I was able to find my footing.

We need to raise awareness for mental illnesses, suicide and suicide prevention. That is the only way we can start an honest conversation with ourselves and others. That is the only way that we can change the taboo that makes us as humans feel as though we are not allowed to talk about how we are feeling. We need to start listening. If anyone is suffering in anyway. If anyone feels as though something just isn’t right with them or with a friend, please contact AACC’s counselors to set up an appointment at 410-777-1854 or call American Foundation Suicide Prevention’s phone number, 1-800-273-TALK.