Wednesday 7 August 2019

I Will Rise

By Tracy Leppla

Suicide is a very touchy subject with me. Why? Because I have attempted suicide four times in the past. Obviously I didn’t succeed or I wouldn’t be here today sharing my story. I remember what it was like back then. How I felt. The darkness completely took over. I felt completely lost. Everything seemed like it was caving in and there was no way out. I had no desire to live anymore. I just wanted the pain to stop and I thought that was the only solution.

At the time of my suicide attempts I did not understand my PTSD, my anxiety or my panic attacks. I was angry about everything. I hated everything and everyone. I was tired of being bullied at school. After being beat up for the fourth time at school I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I started fighting back. My fighting turned from survival mode to wanting to win mode. I wanted to show all those bullies not to mess with me and it worked. But it didn’t take the anger and pain away.

I was at home alone one night. My mom was out of town and my brother was out with his friends. I took a bottle of pills, laid down on my bed and waited to die. I started vomiting and it wouldn’t stop. Late that night my brother and his friend found me. He told me later I was white as a ghost, lethargic and not responsive. He took me to the hospital thinking I had the flu or food poisoning. Little did he know he just saved my life even though I had no desire to be saved. I attempted suicide three more times after that over the course of two years. I never succeeded so I am assuming I am still here for a reason. I hid my mental health illness for years due to feeling shame and being bullied. I just now started sharing my story. Maybe this is what I am supposed to be doing. I have no idea but I feel if I can help just one person than I have succeeded. That’s enough for me.

Two months ago a student that my son went to school with and was also on the football team with committed suicide. He was only sixteen. It broke my heart to hear of this. The reason he took his own life was due to bullying. Evidently he was being bullied so bad that he thought the only way to end his suffering and pain was to end his life. Even though I did not succeed in trying to take my own life I know exactly how he must have been feeling. I will never understand how a bully can feel so much satisfaction from making another human being feel so badly about themselves. What do they get out of it? Is it power? Is it control? Why would you even want to make someone else feel that bad? I will never understand this.

I read an article the other day from The Jason Foundation, the parent resource program. It stated that more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than cancer, heart disease, Aids, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza A, and chronic lung disease combined. Yes you read that right … COMBINED. That is unacceptable to me. Each day in our nation there is an average of over 3,041 attempts of suicide by youth grades 9 through 12. If you add in 7th and 8th grade the number would be even higher. The article stated that four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. No one took them seriously. WOW! How could you not take any sign, any gut instinct, any remark about suicide seriously?

Is there anything we can do? I am not sure. I just know that these numbers are unacceptable. No child or adult for that matter should feel like taking their own life is their only option. We need to have more support groups, more resources, more help for the Mental Health Community, especially for teens. Teens have a hard enough time feeling accepted. They are going through puberty. Their hormones are all over the place. They have to worry about what they wear, what their friends will think, they so badly want to be accepted. There is a lot of peer pressure to fit in. And of course they have to worry about the bullies.

One thing that isn’t talked about enough is depression and anxiety among teens and young adults. We as a Mental Health Community need to bring more awareness to this subject. We need to reach out and offer our support. Maybe I don’t have a clue of what I am talking about. Maybe I am reaching for something that is impossible. I do know that if I would of had more support or even one adult that showed concern for me when I was a teen I may not have tried to kill myself. Maybe if the school had more resources or someone a student could confide in without judgement it would help.

As a survivor of childhood trauma living with PTSD, anxiety and panic disorder I have decided to stop feeling shame. I decided to share my story hoping it would help me and maybe help just one person be brave enough to face their mental illness with the fierceness of a lion and conquer their fears; to hold their head up high and be proud that they fight every day to be here, to live another day. I recently became an Angel Advocate for an online support group called MH Crisis Angels that you can find on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I have met some wonderful people online in the mental health community. This support group is there for anyone who needs a listening ear, support, or just someone to chat with if you are feeling like you are in a dark place.

I also met Steve, a wonderful person on Twitter (@Cockney_Buddha). He shares his experience with Anxiety and Depression. He uses Buddhism, yoga, and meditation for his healing. His website is amazing. I think you will enjoy it as much as I do so be sure to check it out. It’s absolutely amazing that within a few minutes of speaking with him about my photography and showing him a few photographs he gave me the little boost that I needed to show more. To actually want to show more. He truly is an amazing, kind and sincere human being who just wants to help people.

I also want to mention Jeremy Zinzan who did my interview for the live Podcast. He has a beautiful website He does a lot with meditation as well. Please check out my interview. It is forty minutes long but you get a small idea of my story straight from me.

At one point in my childhood I may have been a victim. It may have changed me forever but I survived. Every day I Continue to fight and I will Rise….

This article was originally published July 2019.

About the Author

I was diagnosed with PTSD, Anxiety and Panic disorder when I was fourteen years old due to childhood trauma. I am wife to a very supportive husband. We have been married for fourteen years. I am also a mother to four boys.

My passion is photography. I love black and white photos. I use my photography to help cope with my Anxiety. Being out in nature with my camera helps me relax and calm my mind. I am a Mental Health Advocate and want to bring awareness so there is more understanding.

You can find me on my website Controlling Chaos, on Facebook, and on Twitter.


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