I Live With a Mental Illness
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

I Live With a Mental Illness

From chronically suicidal to making in through.

I Live With a Mental Illness
Julian Jagtenberg

I am nineteen. I have lived every single day, for as long as I can remember, with mental illness. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to kill myself. I have spent my entire life chronically suicidal. Things didn't get bad until I left home, because there were no more checks on me. My mother, who is a total badass, ensured my safety just because of her presence. Everything changed when I went to college. I was on my own, with stressors that I was not used to, and an illness that had gone untreated for years. I was hospitalized in November 2015.

Since then, I have been hospitalized twice, have gone through intensive outpatient therapy (sometimes also called partial hospitalization) twice, been on more medications than I can recall, and my symptoms, still, are worsening. In the past eighteen months, I have experienced severe depressive symptoms, extreme anxiety and paranoia, ridiculous mood swings, and terrifying dissociation and psychosis. Over these past eighteen months, I have fought, fallen, and began to understand how to live with my illness.

I have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, one which is complicated and difficult to treat. It is highly stigmatized, so much so that I don't feel comfortable naming it here. If I had cancer, I know that I could easily say what it is. I can tell people that my mother has end-stage renal disease, but I wouldn't talk about my brother's mental illness. In part, because I don't know the full extent of what was going on a few years ago. I don't understand the nature of my brother's illness, but I am constantly learning about kidney diseases and failure as well as the aspects to it.

I want to talk about mental illness because it is just as real as physical illness. And many mental illnesses often appear during the ages when folks are typically in college. My worsening in symptoms may have occurred regardless because I'm nineteen and I'm right in the thick of it.

I live with a serious mental illness characterized by ever-changing moods, an unstable identity, rocky relationships and chronic suicidal thoughts. For me, it manifests this way, but for others it can be drastically different. So, today I am writing because I don't want to keep hiding. If I had cancer, a serious illness, it wouldn't be so taboo to talk about symptoms. But, for some reason, people run from discussions of suicide.

And maybe, if we had a different outlook, I would have told someone about my suicidal thoughts and planning (there was a lot of planning and acquisition of materials) sooner, it could have been addressed before things escalated as much as they did. And maybe I could have avoided that hospitalization in November 2015, a second hospitalization in January 2016, an involuntary trip to the emergency department in February 2016, and taking a leave of absence from college.

I don't know how it would have played out because everything that I have done over the past year has led me to who I am today. Until just a few months ago, I couldn't imagine a future for myself. When I was asked about where I saw myself in ten years, my answer was always dead (I didn't say this, I just bullshitted something). But now, I am finally able to put together what I want my future to look like. My journey has led me from chronically suicidal to making it though. And to me, that's enough of a sign that I am much better.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments