Jenna s Story

Phoenix, AZ USA


"I've had depression my entire life. At nine years old, I first began to recognize suicide as an option. I know, who thinks like that at nine?

I was always told it was a chemical imbalance in my brain- that it was nothing of which to be ashamed. I was fortunate to have a family who had the resources to provide me with appropriate treatment. I managed to hold onto my strength until I was 22.


I had just began my career as a special education teacher. After only two months into the most horrifying experience I could ever have imagined, I swallowed a bottle of an opioid pain medication. Fortunately, my wonderful, supportive boyfriend found me in time. Subsequently, I was involuntarily admitted into the hospital rehabilitation center.


After returning home, I picked up the pieces. I took some time out of the classroom to recover, and when I returned, I was ready to complete the year before making any decisions regarding my career. Leaving my students midyear was not an option.


That following February, I changed my mind. I realized how miserable I was within my placement, and that I needed to prioritize my health. I quit. I picked up various jobs, including serving tables just to pay the bills.


On May 6th, 2017, the day after my 23rd birthday, I did it again. I felt that I had lost my identity, that I no longer knew who I was or what my purpose was in life. My poor boyfriend was the only thing keeping me afloat.


I couldn't sustain friendships, and I was unable to find anyone that was prepared to take on so much baggage. This time, I swallowed every bottle I could find in the house. Failing this attempt was not an option in my mind.


This time, the boyfriend didn't find me until the following day. My organs had absorbed the poison, keeping me locked in the ER with a 24-hour 'babysitter'. My kidneys were unable to filter. However, I was release within a week, leaving some very difficult decision to be made.

My heart was shattered for my family. But more than that, it was shattered for my boyfriend. We lived together at the time, and had built this incredible life together. He was the one person that had the choice to stay or to leave. He chose to stay- twice. It was my fault that he had to go through that. I wasn't going to do that to him anymore.


I made the decision that it was time to return to my roots, to my family. I made the decision to move to Arizona. I had friends there that were more prepared for the road to my recovery. I had to return to Charleston to pack- to say goodbye to the person I almost had a future with. This was the single most difficult thing I've ever had to do. But there's hope.


Not only do I have a teaching job lined up for next year, but I was offered several positions within one week of applying. I may never return to 'normal'.


It's difficult to imagine my life without sadness. But through the strength of my friends and family, I will make it through."