I am one of many young women who became a mother early in life. I found out I was pregnant at the age of 18, order but already was confirmed to go to school at Marymount University (MU) in Northern Virginia. Becoming pregnant six months prior to my high school graduation seemed like one of the worst things that I would have to go through. I was an A/B honor roll student, played sports in high school, had goals lined up, and had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with myself. However, I hit this bump in the road and wasn’t sure how I would even attend school, let alone graduate, all while being a mother. I considered going to a local community college or not going at all, but, through my own desire and the all-important encouragement and support of my family, I was fortunate enough to be able still to go and receive my diploma. Although the journey was painful at times, it was an experience I am proud of.
Like most young people, I was excited to go away to school and take on new challenges. I grew up in a small town (Harrisonburg, VA) and I knew, based on my own goals and in order to do what I dreamed of, I had to get away. This is why I chose a school a few hours away but still close to home if anything was to go wrong. After I learned I was pregnant, my mom and I had many discussions about my commitment to this journey and made logistical plans for who would keep the baby, etc.—what would be required and sacrificed. The result was that I was able to stay enrolled at MU and even stay on campus, pregnant and all. It was hard. I had to go to class and walk around pregnant while it seemed everyone stared and looked at me as the outcast. I hated being away from home and everything that I knew at the time.
On September 12, , at around 3:00 a.m, I woke up to a horrible pain- my water had broken whilst I was at campus. I remember calling my mom, who still lived back home in Harrisonburg about two hours away from my University. I explained what was going on and she told me I needed to call a cab to get to the hospital; luckily, the closest hospital was only ten minutes away. I brought my daughter into the world that evening and stayed at the hospital for two nights before heading back home. I took only a week off of school and dived straight back into it- there was no way I would allow myself to fall behind.
It was a tough time. I was battling separation anxiety due to the fact my daughter had to stay back home with my mom and her dad. I went back home to visit every few weeks, but I had no car so getting back and forth was difficult. Luckily, my mom found a better job closer by allowing me to be closer to my daughter whilst studying at school. I am forever grateful for the help I received while being in school because, without it, graduating would have been that much harder than it already was. I graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in Cyber Security and, of course, my lovely daughter got to see me walk across the stage to receive my diploma.
Graduating obviously was a great thing, but I immediately had to improve my situation not just for myself but for my child. I didn’t have a job lined up and unemployment was depressing and stressful. I went to so many interviews and received so much rejection but thankfully by the end of July, I received a job offer for a part time position as a help desk technician at a Best Buy. Although I now had a job, I really didn’t like the position and still was very upset with how things were playing out; I felt like I did all of the work of studying and graduating only to get a part-time job making little money. I didn’t let that discourage me and six months later I was offered a full-time position with a contracting company as a User Support/Technical Technician. I was floored when they contacted me with the offer; I even cried after getting off the phone with them.
I am in a better mental space now than I was last year for sure; I work full time while being a single mother. People assume that having a baby at a young age means you won’t amount to much or reach your full potential; I’m here to tell you that’s not true. I told myself years ago that I would never allow myself to succumb to what society labels a “statistic”. Instead, I’ve chosen a life filled with so many opportunities and I am going to always take full advantage of that. I’ve started my own brand YesBriaNicole with the aim of inspiring young mothers like me to stay hopeful and ambitious. Things won’t always be easy, but as long as you have some fight in your heart, these trials and tribulations won’t last forever.
Written by Bria Nicole
I know a lot of people who heard of my suicide attempt where wondering why. Why would such a beautiful young woman want to die? Could life really have been that bad? I’m sure some thought I did it for attention. It really bothers me when people say suicidal people just want attention. There are so many other things I could have done for attention, adiposity if that was all I wanted. I decided I wanted to end my life because I couldn’t deal with the pain I was experiencing and I saw no way out.
Last summer I met the love of my life, cost my best friend. I was the happiest girl in the world, until things gradually went downhill. As the relationship progressed, I noticed myself getting more and more depressed, self-esteem dwindling. I’ve had a history of mild depression that would come and go – stemming from childhood teasing and sexual assault. So I just assumed there was something wrong with me. It wasn’t until months later that I realized I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Lies, manipulation, control, name-calling, and put downs were all part of my everyday life. I was drained from the psychological warfare. I started to feel anxious and fearful at just the thought of interacting with him.
The sad part is, I don’t even think he knows the extent to which his actions affected me. I couldn’t even express how I felt because everything came down to me “being depressed” and “ruining the relationship”. So I became more depressed. And there I was, looking crazy. I was the one seeing a therapist and psychiatrist and taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. My mental health issues were used against me, to discredit everything I said or did.
I’m sure people are thinking was it really that bad that you wanted to die? It was. Society tends to overlook the seriousness of the symptoms associated with mental health issues. This suicide attempt was not about me fishing for attention. It was not a cry for help. I actually wanted to die in that very moment. I had lost all hope. I felt lost, alone, and misunderstood. We were in the middle of one of numerous nasty arguments and I couldn’t take it anymore. I was confused and so hurt by the words coming out of the mouth of someone I loved so much. I texted my uncle during the argument. He desperately tried to get me to calm down but I could not. I stopped answering, locked myself in my room and took 3 entire bottles of prescription medication. My mom rushed home when she heard something was wrong. For some reason it upset me that she came, and so I ran out of the house. I was delirious at that point, from all the drugs, but I just kept walking with no destination in mind. A few minutes later I found myself surrounded by police, asking who I was and what I was doing. I remember being angry that they found me and I refused to speak a word. They kept reassuring me that I was not in any trouble. Eventually I cooperated and I was taken to the emergency room, where I then experienced one of the most difficult times in my life.
Today, I can honestly say I am thankful to still be here. It’s a scary feeling when you genuinely want to die. It’s only been a couple of months, but I’ve come such a long way and wanted to share a few things I learned from this experience.
When I decided to overdose, my intention was to die. I never thought I would actually survive. So I never thought about the consequences of failing. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t speak or walk, my head was pounding, my vision was blurred, and I was vomiting non-stop. When I woke up the next day I was disappointed and embarrassed. Not because I tried to take my life, but because I failed to do it successfully and I was still there. Some may think that a failed suicide would be a turning point for recovery. For some it may be, but for me I definitely felt worse that I failed for weeks after.
I never knew I was this loved. My father never left my side when I was admitted into the hospital. Every day I had family members visiting me. It made me feel so bad when I realized that my actions would have such a devastating impact on those who care for me. I couldn’t even imagine the effects if I had actually died. Although we may not speak every day, I know my family will ride with me through anything. Their love is as real as it gets.
After a few days of being monitored in the cardiac unit of the hospital, I was admitted into the psych unit where I had to spend a minimum of 72 hours. I was scared as shit. All I knew about psychiatric hospitals was from what I saw in scary movies and TV shows. I cried my first night there. The next day a girl spoke to me and she seemed pretty normal. She introduced me to the other people that were around the same age. They all seemed pretty normal too. Because of the stigma on mental illness, we tend to think psychiatric hospitals are just filled with extreme psychotic patients. I can’t even lie, I thought I would see patients screaming and acting crazy or in straitjackets. While I was there, I attended group therapy sessions and seminars on coping skills and spiritual healing. There were no phones allowed so to keep busy during any down time I would read, watch TV, or talk with others. My parents visited me every day. I only spent a week in there, but I met some of the most kindhearted people and I felt comfortable there; it was a literal safe haven.
The most important thing I learned is to not give a fuck what people think. It’s okay, not everyone will be able to understand why I felt the way I did. It’s inevitable that people will still call me crazy or look at me differently. But so what? All that matters is that I am taking the necessary steps to get better. Plus, anyone who’s really down for you will support you without the name-calling and criticizing.
For those who feel awkward, I apologize that my suicide attempt has made you feel uncomfortable and I can assure you that you do not need to act any different around me. Mental illness needs to be talked about; these misconceptions need to be addressed and people need to realize how insensitive they can be. To anyone currently battling depression or suicidal thoughts, take care of yourself. Self-love is the greatest love. Know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. Your feelings are valid, but they are also temporary. It DOES get better.
Written by Corine D
It takes a lot of courage to be open about anything so personal, especially suicide. I applaud you for sharing your story. One thing I know for sure is that love, the real kind should never make us feel less than we are.Mental and verbal abuse is so damaging but because the traces are not often visible, the abuser goes on with no consequences (Thank god for Karma!)
Anyway, I so agree that taking care of yourself is important. Self love and self care along with healthy supportive relationships have taken me through A LOT and I am so grateful.