Tyler s Story
Newport, RI USA
"Arriving at college in August after the daunting feat that was my senior year I expected to feel a certain rush of emotions that would center me and make me feel that I belonged; that I would enjoy my next four years. When I arrived on my campus for the first day of orientation in August, I felt nothing.
I gave it some time and even chalked up my unhappiness to my mellow and reserved personality. Months passed and my time was spent alone. I would explore the Nation's Capital, walk my campus while the beautiful fall-sunsets were taking place, and I even tried to converse with my conservative suitemates.
Nothing about the campus, whether it be the students and professors, the academic buildings, or the atmosphere, made me feel as if I belonged there; but still, I waited longer. Track season rolled around and, with that, I had new hopes of finally enjoying my school.
I adored my teammates, but it was a surface level friendship based on our relationship being teammates. The end of the school year rolled around and I longed for the idea of home. Thinking back I realized that after each school break, going back to school I would find myself in a fit of panic and hysterics; but never thought too much about it.
After my freshman year, I felt drained, not from final exams or the school year in general, but from the constant façade I kept up during that year. The façade of acting as if I were enjoying college as much as my counterparts.
As I stepped into my Sophomore year I felt a little more optimistic; I had made good connections, had friends on the track team and...well I wasn't a freshman anymore. The year dragged on, and again each time I returned to school after being home for breaks, my anxiety, depression, and panic worsened.
Never having a release-valve for my emotions, they ended up destroying me on the inside. My internal turmoil manifested in too many panic attacks, constant depressive episodes, and weeks of constant anxiety.
Again I would stifle my emotions and put on a happy face for the people around me, so I could avoid the questions that I have heard too often: 'Oh whats wrong, are you okay?' only to lead to my knee-jerk reaction saying 'I'm tired...' and that would usually get people off my back—at least for some time.
The one time that a friend—inadvertently—witnessed a panic attack they alerted my mom—unbeknownst to me. The next morning, my mom called me like she normally would and asked what was up...and of course, I gave her the usual response, 'I'm fine, just tired.'
What was said in those next few seconds will always play on repeat in my brain. As her voice cracked she said, 'Tyler, you just have to promise me that you won't do anything... I'm driving down to get you...' I could feel her tears from the other side of the phone, as she continued 'you can't break a promise to your mom, promise me you won't do it.' The 'it' she was referring to is the one thing a parent should never experience- their child taking their own life.
Based on what my friend had relayed to my mom during my blacked out episode, she had no other option than to make me promise that. Hearing those words come out of your mom's mouth changes how you see yourself, as well as everything and everyone around you. All I could utter through my own cracking voice was 'I'll see you soon.'
Spending two weeks in a psychiatric hospital allowed me to find myself, pinpoint my illnesses, and learn to manage them- becoming my full-self."
Story Submitted By: Michelle Soler, Catholic University Campus Representative