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Yujia s Story

Evanston, IL USA


“The signs were there. From a young age, I was anxious. I exhibited self-harm behaviors. And, I was subjected to emotional and verbal abuse, at the hands of my father. I became withdrawn. I became silent. I lost my voice. And as I got older, it only got worse.


I attempted suicide during my junior year of high school. The pressures of being a 4.0+ GPA student, varsity softball star, wind ensemble member, role model, and selfless volunteer got to me. I entered into a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a guy that told me he liked me because I was skinny. It drove my anorexia and anxiety into a severe state.


I left for college and I thought things would get better. I thought I could start over. Instead, I found myself obsessing over my weight and on the lowest meal plan to 'save money'. I skipped meals and ran 4 miles a day in the warm Los Angeles heat, up-and-down the hills around campus. Eventually, I was caught self-harming by my RA and, after talking to the resident director on call, I was asked to seek out counseling.


I was put on the wrong medications and, after taking it for a week and feeling miserable, I stopped. That’s when I decided I needed to move out-of-state. I grew up in California and, while moving south in the state helped, I needed distance from my childhood. I elected to go out to Illinois, a state I had never been to, to a place I knew nobody. Despite these challenges, I picked up and moved, and started working in a research lab. This is the only thing that went well.


Into my first quarter at Northwestern University, I started skipping class to go to the gym or sleep. I rapidly gained weight and was so terrified that I began to drop weight fast. My self-harm was out of control and I worked 12 hours-a-day in the lab. The following year, my primary care physician, who looking back was the one who saved my life, sent me to the emergency room after seeing the fresh scars on my wrists at a follow-up appointment.


I stayed on the adolescent unit for 48 hours, persuading the staff I was fine. Less than two months later, at Thanksgiving, I overdosed. I didn’t tell anybody about it until the week
after, when I was admitting to the adult psychiatric unit for a week. I thought this was the end of my time at my university.


However, with the help and guidance of an amazing mentor and friend whom I consider a near and dear individual in my life, I made it to graduation that June. I stayed for graduate school the fall semester, but by the following winter, I was contemplating suicide again. A friend called the police and I was admitted again to the psychiatric unit in February 2015.


Since then, I’ve been in residential treatment, a partial-hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, outpatient therapy, and group therapy. I’ve been to the emergency room countless times for my panic, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies. I’m continually verbally and emotionally abused, but I refuse to let that hold me back.


I’m constantly on the verge of whether or not my life is worth living, but thankfully I’ve got an amazing therapist, a fantastic rescue pup, and a service dog to keep me safe. I’ve found a family to call mine, not my given family, but one that I’ve made. They remind me that I’m worth the time and both worth living and fighting for.


Don’t give up, because if I had, I wouldn’t have the beautiful things in life that I do now."


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