Kati’s story: Surviving suicide

Kati Krieg, senior in english and suicide survivor, talks about her experience with attempted suicide and has found security in her “Brain Squad.” (Mason Swenson | The Collegian)

By Kati Krieg

A month ago I was suicidal. One Sunday night, when I couldn’t take merely surviving anymore, I took three bottles of pills in an attempt to end my life.

There were a lot of reasons why I had gotten to that point — the intense stress that I felt as I’m about to graduate from college without a concrete post-grad plan, experiencing a car accident on the highway, the loss of a best friend, my crumbling confidence as a leader and a person and, most importantly, my depression and anxiety disorders had flared up so badly that I could barely get out of bed.

Now, I’m an involved person on campus. After being connected to a sorority, multiple student organizations, honoraries and On The Spot Improv, it wasn’t like me to be so lazy or careless.

But, I also realized that I had put up a lot of walls over the years. People see me as the goofy girl who does improv and loves to have fun, which is true. However, I had convinced myself that nobody wants to hang out with the sad girl. So, I couldn’t ever be honest with anyone about how I was feeling because I felt like they wouldn’t accept me anymore.

These walls of hidden emotions and fake happiness consumed me and eventually, as they shattered around me, so did my will to live.

As I was being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, I contemplated my life thus far and I realized how often I truly felt empty throughout my short 23 years of life. That’s not okay. Luckily, and obviously as I am writing this now, I survived my attempt that night.

After my hospitalization post-attempt, I was sent to an in-patient mental health hospital, where I lived for a week. It was not my choice to go, and in all honesty, even at that point, I refused to believe that I had a problem that needed ultra-professional help. Yeah, I was a brat.

I 100 percent needed that kind of help, and for that week I got to spend the time that I’ve never let myself have, to actually try to realize why I was so unhappy with myself and what I could do to help it.

The biggest, most helpful nugget of hope that I received from being institutionalized was that I am not alone in this. There are many, many other human beings out there who are in the same ol’ rickety boat. The comfort that I felt as I got to live, eat, talk and breathe with these lovely people was next to none.

Hopefully there are others out there reading this who can relate to my feelings, whether diagnosed or not. I want you to know that while you are a unique individual, your suffering is not. There are millions of others out there who are struggling with depression and anxiety disorders on the daily. You are not alone in this and there is relief at the end of that immensely dark and heavily-graffitied tunnel.

Seek professional help and don’t be ashamed. I felt for years that I couldn’t possibly be that girl, I couldn’t be the girl with the messed up head because no one else was like that. But, that isn’t even remotely the truth. Everyone struggles with something, just some of us are lucky (yes, I said lucky) enough to have a name for it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your happiness and ability to live your own beautiful life are the most important things that you can help for yourself.

Enlist your very own Brain Squad (again, yes, I call them a Brain Squad). This can include, but is not limited to, a therapist, a psychiatrist, a trustworthy friend, a co-worker, that guy you went to high school with that struggled with depression, a clown to make you smile, etc. Essentially a handful of people who are on your side. It will help. Be honest with them; it’ll get you far.

While I was lying on my bedroom floor right after I had swallowed all of the pills, I thought about my mom. The chief of my Brain Squad. And I knew I couldn’t let myself succeed in what I had already put in action. No one is alone in their disease and there are more people out there who are suffering than you can even imagine.

Mental health issues are extremely real and are an excruciatingly important aspect of many people’s lives. It needs to be taken seriously.

Thank you for reading my story, and maybe heeding some of my advice. If anyone needs a new member of their Brain Squad, add me on Facebook. Seriously, I can relate and know that there is no love stronger than a love that you can feel for yourself.

You, yes, you there. You are not alone.