Dylanna’s story is part of Changing Minds: Creating a healthy campus – an initiative that makes mental health a priority. 

Student shares her experience on World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2018 | Society, Health
The first time I ever thought about suicide was probably in elementary school. I didn’t think, “I want to kill myself.” I thought, “I want this to stop.”

In high school, there was a really bad time when I started making a plan. Then my mom and sister found me while I was self-harming. We talked about it and decided I should see a psychologist. That helped for a while, but when I was referred to a different counsellor it didn’t work out. So I just carried on by myself for a couple of years.

For me, it feels like depression comes and goes. But maybe I’m distracting myself and it’s really always there. At times, it’s small and subtle – I’ll just be feeling a little down for no reason. Those times, I can usually tell myself that it’s okay to be sad but I’ve got stuff to do. Sometimes, I’ll be in the middle of something – even things that are fun or neutral, like playing video games or doing my homework – and burst into tears. I know there’s really no reason for me to be sad, but I can’t stop crying. Other times, it’s really bad. Everything feels so heavy, and I can’t get out of bed.

During my first year of university, there were a lot of those really bad lows. The main thought that kept coming to mind was suicide. I made a sarcastic comment once that was essentially a cry for help, and it was ignored. That made me realize that I needed to find someone to talk to that I could trust.

I knew there were counsellors at MacEwan, but I felt awkward about going. So I made a deal with myself: I’d do one session and if it didn’t work out, I’d never have to go again. That session gave me a new perspective on what was happening. It felt good to tell someone how I felt. And it gave me a way to handle things when something bad happened – I knew I could make a mental note to talk about it next time.

Being open and explaining what I’m feeling – to my counsellor, to my friends and even my grandma – makes a difference. I had lunch with my grandma a while ago. She told me about some of her experiences with mental health and let me know that I could talk to her if I needed to. There’s comfort in knowing I’m not alone – that even someone who’s older was in a similar place at my age and made it through.

– Dylanna, 4th year, Bachelor of Communication Studies

Dylanna’s story is part of Changing Minds: Creating a healthy campus – an initiative that makes mental health a priority. The program connects training opportunities, support services, resources and stories from real people across the MacEwan University community. It also includes the Inquiring Mind Workshops for students where students can learn about self care and where to find help when it's needed. 

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