Heavy chest, continual sadness, nonstop crying… what’s wrong with me? These are some of the many symptoms I experienced and the constant question I asked myself since I was young. My parents thought I was just “sensitive” and needed to be stronger. They didn’t understand either and seeing a therapist wasn’t an option because “We don’t do that”. I wasn’t provided with an explanation until I entered college, and everything started making sense. Depression… oh how that word used to scare me only because I didn’t know what to do with it. You always think being diagnosed would bring you clarity and peace, and while it brought me clarity, it did not bring me peace. I did not want to take pills because it would make me feel “crazy” and my parents discouraged it. My first time battling with suicidal thoughts was in the sixth grade. Middle school was a new experience for me, and I was quiet. I never felt comfortable making female friends, because they simply were not nice, and I knew I was different from them. Most, of the friends I made were guys and they did not like that at all. It was the first time I experienced bullying. They wrote my names on the bathroom stall walls… “Jasmine is a whore. Jasmine is a slut…” I never experienced this and did not know how to take it. How could these girls say these things about me, and they don’t even KNOW me? After seeing this, I went home and cried. I cried harder than I have before. Abruptly, I started thinking thoughts I never thought before, too. “Why do those girls hate me? What did I do so wrong? Why can’t I fit in? I feel so alone. I wonder what life would be like if I just did not exist. Maybe they would be happy then.” I remember thinking out the ways I would possibly take myself out of this world. I thought about cutting myself until I bleed out or drowning myself in the tub. The word that stopped me was, FEAR. “What would life be like after? Is there a Heaven or Hell? What about my parents? I can’t just leave them here.” So, I didn’t. Those thoughts never stopped, though.
The next experience I went through was in college. I was in graduate school pursuing my degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and things were rough. I was working an assistantship for the school, I attended classes, I did DoorDash on the side, and I was seeing clients for my internship. To top it all off, I was in an abusive, toxic relationship that I thought was love. I remember being in my room sitting with those thoughts and crying my eyes out. “This is too much. I can’t do this anymore. Why is life like this? Why is God putting me through this? I need to get away.” So, I got in my car and drove. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and crying so much that I just wanted to crash the car. I just wanted those feelings to stop. But I didn’t. Once again, I thought about all the people I had to live for. I couldn’t do that to my mom, dad, family, friends. I thought about how many people loved me and how much pain my death would cause them. I thought about all the times where I was happy and that things have to go back to the way they were. I chose to have faith, I chose hope, I chose to live. Now, looking back, I am so glad that I did choose to live. Even though, I still battle with depression every day, things are so much better now. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist helping others fight too. If I wasn’t here, I would have never been able to help others with their mental health and share my testimony of it getting better. I am able to relate to others, when I was in that dark time period, and they feel connected. They feel seen, heard, understood. To whomever is reading this, it does get better. I know you may be tired, and you may not see the light at the end of the tunnel but keep traveling down it. I see you, I hear you, I understand. You are not alone and there are people that would rather hear your struggles rather than hearing your eulogy. Don’t be afraid to seek help, because with the right therapist it will change your life. I hope you continue to fight because I promise you that you will win.