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My Story

Dorian Chase, News Co-Editor & Production

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In December I tried to end my own life. It was a drastic decision made in the heat of the moment fueled by a series of bad decisions, lost friends, and a severe mental illness that no one seems to understand. In my life, I had never felt more scared, more alone, more guilty, more lost, or more pained than I did in that moment. I am still here. I am alive.

In elementary school I first thought about killing myself. I would say it wasn’t a coherent thought, and that I don’t remember it well because I was a kid at the time, but I do remember it. I remember that moment vividly. I was walking across a basketball court in the field at my school, probably after arguing with some other kid about whatever it is that kids argue about, and then it hit me. I looked down at the shirt I was wearing (it was pink with a black skull on it, the pinnacle of my fashion at the time), and I thought about hanging myself. It was jarring. Such a violent intrusive thought had never occurred to me before, and it scared me. I cried when I got home that day. It was the first time in my life I ever really felt alone. I had my parents, a stepdad, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, and a very close best friend, but I was alone. I felt alone a lot in the years to come, not because I was physically or literally alone, but because I had built this island for myself, where I stayed with every single negative thought I ever had buried just underneath the shy exterior I built for myself. Eventually I decided to change. Over time, I became loud and outgoing. I dropped the shy exterior for a fearless, cocky, somewhat brash and socially acceptable exterior, and eventually it came to fruition. By junior year I was everything I disliked in a person. I was a person that I absolutely hated. At least I had friends.

In freshman year, my oldest brother died. I did not know him, but I looked up to him. I read article after article with accounts from people who knew him, and I saw my parents absolutely crushed. Up to that point in my life, I don’t know if I ever truly understood loss. I had never lost anybody that close to me before. I internalized it. I thought about what would happen, how people would feel if I died (something I had already begun to think about more and more), or how I would feel if one of my other brothers died.  I was a weird kid, I was still shy and I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was sad a lot and I started to hurt myself when I felt bad. I didn’t know at the time, but these were indicative of a more serious mental issue that had begun to manifest itself back in my important and formative years. That year was the first time I tried.

Following these traumatizing events, I developed forgetting things as a defense mechanism. I cannot for the life of me remember most of my sophomore year. There must have been some important friendship building, because sophomore year I felt closer than ever to my group of friends.  I’m sure I would look back on it fondly if I could remember it. More so than anything that year, I remember hurting myself with a pencil, and a pocket knife I found, if only because I still have the scars.  The thoughts never stopped. I had to do these terrible things to myself, otherwise I would do something worse, and I can’t do something worse. I still hated myself with a burning passion. Fortunately, I didn’t die, if that wasn’t obvious. Unfortunately, these physically harmful trends continued.

Junior year was a turning point for me, short term for better, long term for worse. I met a girl.  School was hard, it was junior year, I got worse and worse mentally. She convinced me to see doctors, and to tell my parents how I’d felt. I did. She meant so much to me, that I did this thing I never would have done otherwise. This made my life harder, then easier, then harder and more complicated and so on and so forth. I jumped between good moods, and bad moods, and worse moods, and moods that drove me to do things I never would have ever considered in my right mind. It was in January of that year that I tried to kill myself again. I hid it from everybody I knew until that month.

My girlfriend helped me through these times.  I loved her. This relationship went downhill fairly fast, due to my mental condition growing worse and worse, and due to a third suicide attempt. Shortly after our one year anniversary, we broke up. We argued a lot near the end, and we had one final argument that put the nail in the coffin. Not very nice things were said by both parties.

December came. I talked to my friends sometimes when I felt suicidal. I trusted them. They told me I was the boy who cried wolf.  At the time, it crushed me. These were genuine feelings. Real feelings. I was demoralized, arguing, and watching my friends get angrier and less patient with me. So I tried it again.

I grabbed two whole bottles of pills and took all of them, and like a slap in the face, I realized something. I had made a mistake. I didn’t want to die. My mom drove me to the hospital. The hospital was a blur. I hallucinated, painful, scary, and nonsensical hallucinations. I imagined there were swarms of bugs flying towards me, a huge isopod crawling through a vent to land on top of me, but never making it the whole way, and finally that I was part of an alternate reality that I needed to escape to get back to my normal world.

I learned later that they had to put me in restraints due to my combative nature at that time. When I woke up, they inserted a huge needle into my stomach, and with that I was fully awake. Everything was aching, and confusing. I didn’t eat until I could clearly think, which took quite awhile. I was in the hospital for days, and all I wanted was to go home. They told me I couldn’t. They told me I was still a threat to myself, that I might do something to myself again. Fears not without bearing, but I knew that they were wrong. I just wanted to go home. They sent me to the O’Reilly Care Center at St. Joseph’s. A rehab facility. I met people who were at the lowest points of their lives.  It was the saddest place I’ve ever been. But there was hope. These were the kindest people I think I’ve met that weren’t in my own family. They understood, they got it. I saw them show weakness, but through their tears, and through their situations, immense strength. They taught me that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be weak, and it’s okay to have bad days. I left the care center with my head held high (well, as high as it could be coming out of rehab).

After I left the hospital, I wasted no time in letting my friends know I was out. I assumed they already knew anyway, to some degree, that something was wrong, that I had made a poor decision.  I messaged one friend, no response. I messaged another, still no response. I messaged my best friend of ten years, and still no response. I finally did get a response. I was told I did what I did for attention. That I did it because I was losing my friends (something I wasn’t entirely aware of even), and because I was selfish and manipulative.

They were wrong. Every single person that assumed anything about what happened to me were wrong. Dead wrong.

I was alone again, and not metaphorically, not just a feeling. I had been abandoned.  I will admit, after this, I said some things I regret to a couple of these people. I got mad, I felt betrayed and I acted irrationally. I am comfortable with admitting that I was wrong in this regard.

Three people tried to help me immediately following this. Two of whom I barely knew, that offered help with school or to talk to them. Everyone that I have been able to clear things up with has been supportive and helpful. Every single person. People I didn’t know all that well understood better than people I’d known and been friends with for over six years. For the first time in 10 years, I wasn’t alone. I finally didn’t feel alone. All of my teachers have been incredibly supportive and understanding as well through this difficult time, and I appreciate that to no end.

I did not do this for attention.

I did not do this for pity.

I did this because I suffer from a mental illness.  It took the doctor’s a while to label my monster, but I was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder that affects my impulse control, a brain disorder that causes drastic shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. I cannot control my emotions, and sometimes, the actions that follow them, despite my best efforts. I have taken more than ten medications in the past year alone, most of which did nothing to help, and all of which had unbearable side effects. I was having an impossibly hard time, and I went too far.

I had tried very hard to be a strong person for my brothers and my cousins. I had tried hard to hide what was seriously wrong with me for more than ten years. But this whole thing taught me a number of important lessons. Lessons that, in light of recent events, are more relevant now to every single person that might read this. I learned that it is okay to not be okay. Despite the stigma, there is no shame in calling the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) or talking to someone about your problems. There will always be people who care and stand by you, people who will listen to you and help you through your hard times. I am not alone. No one is ever alone.  I have never felt more alive than right now. I feel horrible, everything is difficult for me – I can’t sleep, I can’t keep food down, and I can hardly bring myself to go to school, but there is nothing I regret more than trying to take my own life. But I know now that suicide was not the answer. Suicide is not the answer. I am glad to be alive.

I do not want to die. Something positive can come out of all of this negative. I can share my experience, and I can tell you that you are not alone. No matter how you may feel, no matter how horrible your situation is, no matter what people do to you, you are not alone. More than once I have thought that my life was not worth living, that the world was better off without me. Every single time, I got back up. It is not easy. It is quite the contrary, actually. It is not only possible, but it is the only option following a hard time. Suicide is not an option. It is not an easy out. Killing yourself does not get rid of your pain, it only transfers it to every single person you have ever known. I can get through this. You can get through this.

I was not alone.

You are not alone.

Thank you.

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About the Writer
Dorian Chase, Co-Editor of News
Dorian Chase is a senior and the Co-Editor of News for The Paper Cut. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, he’s currently coming to terms with the fact that he wants to be a physics teacher Dorian enjoys sleeping, and occasionally napping for four or more hours at a time. He plays two instruments, the guitar and the bass, and...
3 Comments

3 Responses to “My Story”

  1. Sally Duncan on February 2nd, 2018 9:36 am

    Dorian – You are such a strong and brave person. It is powerful and deeply emotional and will definitely influence others. I am very glad you are alive and here! Thank you for sharing yourself and your story! Ms. Duncan

    [Reply]

  2. Abi Nash on February 2nd, 2018 10:16 am

    Dorian,
    I am glad to hear that you have survived this very hard ordeal. From personal experience, I can relate to feeling extremely alone, and in those darkest moments we sometimes make the wrong mistake but it only open up our eyes to the brighter side of life as we make it through the darkest. At times in rehab, I felt defensive in treatment, like I was only there to act like I was okay, and I would go home and be the same, but I would never have been who I am today; scarred yet strong, fearful yet brave, what you will become one day, if it weren’t for those people who I felt pity for when I was at my worst, and those who desired to help me in my darkest hour. Those are the people and experiences you will never forget. When you get back to the moments of complete darkness, which will inevitably come again, you will remember those moments, and they will shed a light on the treacherous times, those moments will save your life, again. I have recently lost multiple people to suicide, impacting my life greatly. The feeling of such intangible, helpless loss is excruciatingly hard for those who are left behind. Only furthering the motivation for us, survivors, to carry on. I encourage you to keep fighting, and acknowledging if you were meant to be gone form this earth, you would have never survived that first time you tried to take your life. The person you are is made from scratch, every single part, handcrafted by your higher power, whoever/whatever it may be, to flourish and grow from the hardships we seem to absorb in life. You are so incredibly strong, brave, and courageous, and you will continue to be as you learn through these next months, years, so on and so forth. I pray you stay heathy, continue to grow in your happiness, hope in the best, embrace the joy and hold onto it so tight in the times where you need it most.

    [Reply]

  3. Sally Duncan on February 2nd, 2018 10:45 am

    A standing ovation on our behalf for this young man. He is a brave and inspirational individual. I truly hope he continues to realize that he has a powerful voice for so many others in silence. It’s evident that he has a real talent for inspirational expression and spreading awareness. Fingers crossed he makes his way into our field as a professional someday. We need a lot more people like Mr. Dorian Chase out here in the field. He’s a true warrior for the cause! Mark Person, Deputy Director of Pima County Behavioral Health

    [Reply]

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