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Nicky’s Story

“Remember, you’re not alone, and you’re not too far gone.”

Share your stigma experience.

I have always believed that the world would be a better place without me. I first attempted suicide when I was 15 yo. My dad heard me in the kitchen in the middle of the night and called my mom (who lived 30 miles away) and said, “Come get your psycho daughter” and went back to bed. The next day I was released from the hospital and received a lot of criticism from family and the community – (I’m psycho, crazy, just trying to get attention, etc.). About six years later, I became a Christian and thought that becoming a Christian would solve all my problems. It didn’t, because I felt like God hated me. I opened up to other Christians about my struggles, and I got criticized, shamed, and demeaned. I just needed to repent, get over it, take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ, and was told that it was a sin to think about suicide. Christians told me to pray more and trust God more. Christians would tell me I would go to hell if I committed suicide, but in the Bible, the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Besides my suicidal ideations and attempts, I have experienced panic attacks and somatoform disorders. The times that I have gone to the emergency room, my PCP, and other doctors to get help, most of them sent me away telling me to stop wasting their time (in so many words), because I don’t fit-the-bill. (I have a master’s degree and can manage my life (to some degree)). One nurse was especially infuriated because she was at the end of her shift and she walked me outside and told me not to tell anyone else that I was suicidal. I tried meditation, but due to my racing thoughts, I can’t pull myself through that yet. I also went through EMDR and ECT; neither of them helped. I tried talk therapy numerous times, but they couldn’t help me, because I was completely silent. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t talk. I have taken all kinds of anti-depressant medication (SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, and more); I had severe side effects from medications and not one of them improved my symptoms. I think because I felt isolated and lacked a support system, my journey was much more difficult. I’ve been shunned by family, friends, Christians, and employers. I even got fired, because of the side effects of an antidepressant medication made me shaky and lose 20 pounds within a short period of time, and they thought I was on drugs. They were right, but not the same kind of drugs they were thinking.

How did you overcome this experience?

I have not overcome the stigma, but I believe I have found my prescription for healing – The support group, Adult Children of Alcoholics; a life coach; and Thomas Joiner’s book, Myths About Suicide, have helped me tremendously. ACA groups help me to feel like I’m not alone and that people understand; Thomas Joiner’s book took away the stigma and made me feel less “crazy.” I still struggle to tell anyone my story, because of the stigma attached to it. I feel like it’s a dark secret because of how society looks at us with mental health challenges.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

Everyone’s prescription for healing is different. What works for one, won’t work for another. Find what works for you. Remember, you’re not alone, and you’re not too far gone. If it’s a loved one who is struggling, be patient with them and yourself. Be a constant, non-judgmental presence.

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