Worth Living Ambassador Cynthia Rizzo
I am a 23 year old Latina, born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Former film student at Vancouver Film School. Currently navigating her way through the storm with a hot chocolate and two reluctant cats. Writes poetry, currently in the process of writing a short film, and planning a third visit to Europe.
Caution: This post discusses suicide.
My experience with my mental illness has been chaotic over the years. As much as I tried to cope with it or pretend I’m okay, there was no question that I still didn’t and still don’t know how to properly manage it.
It wasn’t entirely my fault thinking I could just ignore it. I kind of had to. My father for a brief time didn’t believe in mental illness or anything close to it. He would tell me that it’s all in my head and to bottle up my feelings.
“There is no reason to be sad.”
“Why are you crying?”
“You are not depressed, it’s all in your head.”
Without even noticing, my mood and my overall health declined rapidly. Whatever darkness that lurked inside had finally broke free.
I started to feel suicidal and would do anything I could to put myself in danger.
I was reckless and untamed and it felt good.
But it scared me. This wasn’t me. I knew I needed help, but I refused to get it.
All it took to turn things around was an overdose and everything my dad thought he knew about mental illness changed drastically.
When I finally understood what I just did, I ran to him, told him what I had done and the next thing I knew, I was being taken into the emergency room.
I remember the tears that fell from my dad’s eyes. He was terrified and full of sorrow. I, in all my life, have never seen my father, this stoic man cry. Not even once.
He blamed himself and he still does at times for how bad it got. If he had supported me earlier, maybe things would have been different.
My dad’s attitude and frankly, my whole family, changed their outlook on mental illness in general that day. And for that I’ll always be grateful. I just wished it didn’t have to be like that.
It hasn’t gotten any easier but I’m still learning, and I still slip up at times. And this past year was a slip up.
I was faced with so many challenges and agony that I attempted suicide two more times.
Luckily, I have survived, not once or twice, but three times.
My depression and suicidal thoughts are not going anywhere, that much I understand. I’m sure that I will be on medication and in therapy for a long time. And that’s okay.
Though, I’m not sure what my purpose is in life. But having an opportunity to tell my story and share my experience should count for something right?
It will get better.
Maybe not today, but someday.
NOTE: If you, a family member, friend, or colleague is experiencing thoughts of suicide or distress, call 911 now.
Canada- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention http://Suicide Prevention
USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom http://NHS