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Claudia's Story

Charleston, South Carolina USA

Editor's Note: The following story could be potentially triggering for those who have suicidal ideations. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.

“Social anxiety has been something that I have dealt with for my entire life. It was something that I viewed as normal, and I have learned to cope with it over the years. It wasn’t until I entered college that my anxiety got much worse and was soon accompanied by depression. I would find myself reliving every little conversation I had and thinking of all the wrong things I had said, and why I believed that everyone would end up hating me. 

My sophomore year of college was filled with good times, but mainly it was a lot a dark times. Pretty soon I was having panic attacks on the regular, crying myself to sleep every night, and feeling like things would never get better. But, halfway through my sophomore year I started anxiety medicine, and for the first month after that, things got better. 

The last month of sophomore year and the summer following were some of the lowest moments of my entire life. I decided to stop taking my anxiety medication, my family was 2 hours away, I constantly thought about how I felt completely alone. 

One night I was sitting in my car in an empty parking lot near my apartment complex, I had been crying all night long but I felt so numb, I had decided then that I wanted to end my life. So, that night I had self-harmed and had my first suicide attempt. It didn’t work, and soon after I reached out to a close friend because I knew I needed help. She helped me find someone to talk to, and I tried to be open to the help, but I still found myself thinking about how worthless I felt. 

During this time, I was still self-harming, but I was also trying to hold myself together. Eventually I found myself at that low point again, questioning everything about myself and why I was even put on this earth. A few weeks after my first suicide attempt, on a Saturday night, I was laying in bed crying myself to sleep and I was feeling so low. I planned to end my life again, and was unsuccessful, but left feeling very sick. 

The next morning, I went to church with my same friend and told her I had another suicide attempt. This time she made me seek help, and I did. I went to a counselor and was put back onto the anxiety medication. The days following were great. I heard many inspirational speakers that encouraged me to continue seeking help, and I did. 

However, once I felt good and happy, I thought it would be okay if I stopped taking my medication and stopped going to therapy. I was fine for a while, but then I crashed again, and I was right back to that low point. 

Two and a half months after my second suicide attempt, I was sitting in my bedroom having a panic attack. I was sobbing uncontrollably and couldn’t pull myself together, so I decided to call my same friend in hopes that she could help me. She helped calm me down, but after hanging up with her, I decided I wanted to end my life. 

This time, it was the closest thing I had ever felt to dying, and it scared the hell out of me. 

The next morning, I reached out to my friend and we both agreed that I needed to get help. It was something I knew I needed. This led me to my same counselor, only this time she recommended I be hospitalized for around-the-clock care so my ups-and-downs could be monitored. This was the hardest and scariest few days of my life, but also the absolute most helpful and beneficial thing I had ever done for myself. 

During this stay, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I was finally put on the right medications and I was taught new ways to handle and cope with my anxiety. Since then I have been going to consistent therapy, taking all of my medication, and I’ve made my mental health my #1 priority. 

I stand here on the other side of it to say you are not alone! The fight through mental illness can be hard and it can be long. But, if I can do it, so can you! You are loved and you are cherished and you are NOT a sum of all of the nights that broke you.”