Stories of Hope and Recovery: Jordan's Story

Uploaded by SAMHSA on 26.09.2012

When I was 16, I was a sophomore in high school.
That was the year that I was diagnosed with depression, which
was a little strange to me.
We look back on Jordan being diagnosed with depression.
We would've never thought that and, especially with me being in
high school and working with high school students,
I felt he was going through the regular adolescent things:
starting to sleep in a little bit more, starting not to do all
his homework, wanting to stay up late at night.
Sounds like I'm in the hood, oh no!
Go JB, go JB.
I was a popular student.
I was one that was always smiling, always laughing.
If you saw me in a hallway you would think that's the
last person in the world to have depression.
So, it was confusing to me to be diagnosed and to have those
emotions when it seemed as though I had everything that
I wanted-a girlfriend, playing sports, popular.
But still, it felt like there was still a hole inside of me,
and I couldn't figure out why I had a lack of motivation
to get out of bed, why I was randomly crying.
So, when I was 16 I was going to school with a mask
on my face, acting and pretending as though
I was really happy with the things that were
going on around me.
When Jordan was first diagnosed, we really didn't realize what
was wrong, and I think from my perspective that I sort of
understood that, with depression, it sort of gave
answers to some things where I think it took time for Earl
to really understand that these were the things that
were going on and why he was behaving in the way that he was.
And for Jordan I think it was hard at first.
He didn't like therapy,
he didn't talk a lot at first to the counselor.
Then he began to become a little bit better with it,
with talking to her, but when I look back on it now
I don't know really at that point that he really even
accepted the fact that he was depressed.
So, the way I handled it was that
I saw the therapist twice a week.
I wasn't very talkative.
I was probably 80 percent honest.
The one thing that I definitely wasn't honest about was
drinking as well as taking my medicine,
even though my therapist reminded me a thousand times
that whatever was said in this room stays in this room.
I figured I definitely shouldn't tell her that
I was drinking and coping with things in a negative way and,
when it came to my medicine, I made a mistake that a lot of
young adults and teenagers make, is that they take the medicine
for a couple of weeks, even maybe a month.
And they start to feel great, and they figured,
"Well, I'm cured. I'm good to go," and they don't deal with
it again, and they stop taking their medicine.
With my suicide attempt, there were so many things
that were built up and were the foundation.
These thoughts of not wanting to be here, to not wanting to be
on this earth, wanting to try to take my own life.
And I think one of the biggest things was the pressure of
being a junior and senior in high school,
is you start to realize that this is when you have to start
taking life seriously, because
I wasn't taking my depression very seriously.
So, when I only had a C in a class, that's when
I started to break down.
That's when I started to shut down, and I felt like a failure,
and the failure was one of the main reason why
I wanted to try to take my own life.
Because I figure, if I'm not successful, if I'm not
as good as my parents think I should be, if
I disappoint my parents or make them upset,
what is the point of being on this earth?
There were also social issues.
I'm an African-American in a predominantly White school.
I felt a lot of pressure when I'm the only Black student in my
classroom, and I felt like there was pressure on me to always
have A's, to always try to fit in when at the end of the day it
didn't matter if I was class president, if I was on
the sports teams, if I was popular.
I still felt like I really didn't fit in.
And the other thing was getting caught drinking by my parents.
When I got caught drinking, I felt like the failure of the
family simply because no one in my immediately family drinks.
And so, because of that I felt like the black sheep.
I felt like the scapegoat.
When I had the suicidal thoughts, I didn't know how
to talk to anyone because I figured I was the only one who
had those thoughts and emotions and if I told someone
I just figured that the automatic reaction would be
I had to go to a psyche ward.
Now, I did go to a mental hospital during my junior year
after I had a breakdown, and I put pills on my desk and
I threatened to take them.
The funny thing is that when I was in that mental hospital,
there were things that I told complete strangers because
I knew that they understood where I was coming from, and
I couldn't say that to my therapist.
I couldn't say that to my parents.
I couldn't say that to friends because they didn't
truly understand the real Jordan.
The real Jordan that hated himself, wondered every day
whether I should be here or not.
The day of my suicide attempt I woke up just like any other
day and, even though at that point I did have
depressed feelings, I had depressed thoughts, there were
days that I could wake up and forget about them.
And that was definitely one of those mornings, and
that's when my dad walked in with the duffel bag
full of alcohol that I had in the trunk of my car.
Now, when he dropped that bag, my heart dropped with it,
saying to myself, "I disappointed my parents
yet again as their son.
Someone that should be making them happy, making them proud,
all I do is upset them, so what's the point on being here?"
My dad confronted me about the alcohol.
He didn't yell, he didn't scream, but it didn't matter
because everything was just numb to me at this point and,
although my parents were very honest in that conversation,
were very nice in that conversation, that was when
I went into my room like I usually do whenever I'm upset or
had a confrontation with my parents.
This time was a little different though.
When she knocked the first time, I said, "No, mom."
And then she knocked again, but by that time I was actually
out of my 9-story window.
It was impulsive.
I didn't plan it that day.
I didn't know that it would happen.
That night I was flown to the hospital and given 48 hours
to live and then a 40 percent chance to live after that.
And after being in a coma for 5 days, I started to come to.
After my suicide attempt, I still wanted to see a therapist.
I still wanted to see a psychiatrist because I still
wanted to take medicine and make sure that, emotionally and
mentally that I was still stable.
Even though I knew I wasn't going to beat depression,
I knew that I could cope with depression in a better way.
Now, one change I did make was having a psychiatrist who
did both the therapy and talking part and also
administered the medicine.
And I think that's something that really helped me out.
I think that's something I really benefited from.
I knew that 9 stories it was a miracle that I was alive.
So I appreciated being alive.
I didn't fall into a bigger mist of depression;
I didn't fall into a bigger mist of suicidal thoughts.
I just felt as though, I felt fortunate to be here.
I knew that I had a second chance on life.
Now, what I was going to do with that second chance
I had no idea, but I knew I was going to make it
a positive one.
I would be lying to you if I said that I was laying in that
hospital bed and I couldn't move, I couldn't talk, and
I always had a positive attitude.
But one thing I always thought was that I have to be at peace
with the things that I can't control at this point, and
that's something that I really held onto in my time in
the hospital is that I don't know when I'll be able to get
out of the hospital bed, I don't know if I ever will,
if I'll ever get into a wheel chair, if I'll ever be able to
get out of a wheel chair, if I'll ever walk again.
But I just wanted to be content with how my life was and try to
help other people so that it didn't
get to that point for someone else.
Because I never want anyone else to go through
the 5 months and the grueling pain and
frustration that I did after my suicide attempt.
So, that was probably my main motivation to get healthy and
to take my depression more seriously is to not only make
myself better emotionally and mentally, but also get myself
to that point so that I can help other people out as well.
With my depression it's very important to have a
healthy emotional balance, and the best way to find that is to
know yourself, to realize who you are as a person and what
really makes you happy, and that includes for me going out
with friends, watching movies with my girlfriend, being able
to hang out with my parents, to be able to be around people.
I'm a people person, so I love being around people.
Working out is huge.
I love being able to work out, to physically still get better.
Even though I'm able to walk, I still have a long way to go
to physically be where I want to.
It's very therapeutic to be able to tell my story,
knowing that it's helping someone else and knowing that
I'm making a difference in adding a positive light to
society, which is something I never thought
I would do before.
Really grew even closer, if that could be possible, but
I think a big part of this was Jordan really again
accepting that he did have a mental health problem.
I have the same depression that I had before, but the way that
I cope and deal with it is in a much positive way then
I did before.
I don't have thoughts of wanting to try and take my own life.
Do I question how am I going to get through this day?
Why am I here?
Yeah, I definitely have thoughts of that.
But what I do with those thoughts is different, and
I think that's the main difference, is the coping
abilities that I have now and the honesty that I have and
being able to verbalize my thoughts and emotions
with my depressions.
We're all going through different problems in some way,
and it's not necessarily the situation or your event that
got you down, that made you upset, but it's how
you perceive it and it's how you handle it.
The main message is that you're not the only one going
through these problems and ideas and these situations,
but you can verbalize them and you can cope with them in
a healthy way to get you through that, and
that's basically what I want kids to understand.
That's something that I didn't know.
I didn't know that there were other people going through the
same type of issues, the same type of problems, that there
would ever be anyone else that would have suicidal thoughts.
I wish I did speak up about my emotions, about my feelings
because I could've heard someone else say,
"Well I go through those struggles as well."
I could've heard someone saying, "I have stress,
I have anxiety, I had those thoughts at one point."
So in a way I wish I would've verbalized that.