Can We Talk About Mental Illness for a Second?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I was 20 when I learned that my high school boyfriend – my first love – had committed suicide. His death shattered me, both mentally and emotionally – but in retrospect, it also saved my life. You see, in the months leading up to his suicide, I had been planning my own.

As soon as he took his own life, though, I knew I could never do the same. The carnage he left behind – the emotional wreckage of those of us who loved him – was too unimaginably painful. After experiencing such a loss firsthand, I knew I could never do the same to my own friends and family, no matter how deep my mental anguish.

Still, following his death, I fell into a personal tailspin that took years to recover from (if you ever really “recover” from such a loss). I became a cutter, I drank too much, I alienated my friends, and I acted like an all-around terrible person. Oblivious to the correlation between my untreated mental state and my less-than-savory actions, I never thought to seek help; I figured this was just my personality, and perhaps it was simply a bad one. 

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