I have always been an extremely driven, competitive, and perfectionistic person. As a kid, this manifested itself in my soccer. Stepping onto the field gave me a much-needed outlet where I could work hard to be the best. However, it was this aspect of my life where I first started to experience anxiety.
Due to the pressure I put on myself to be successful, I began to have overwhelming and debilitating bouts of anxiety. Even at a young age, anxiety dictated my life.
Living with anxiety was a challenge, but when my older brother began to display symptoms of bipolar disorder, it got worse. I desperately wanted to make things better for him, but I felt helpless. His struggles with mental health were severe, and despite seeking help, he eventually took his own life.
After his death, my own mental health deteriorated rapidly. The realization that at any moment someone I care about could die made me angry and depressed. I became numb, watching everyone around me move through life while I felt like I couldn’t take a single step. My anxiety became crippling and life became unbearable. A year later I attempted to kill myself.
After my suicide attempt, I found myself at Children’s Hospital Colorado. There I spent time in the inpatient unit and experienced the intervention I so desperately needed. Children’s Hospital Colorado provided me with the opportunity to pull myself out of the negative spiral I had fallen into. It gave me the skills necessary to manage my depression and anxiety while simultaneously teaching my parents how to best support me.
The quality of care at Children’s Hospital Colorado is unparalleled and should be available for any adolescent who is struggling with their mental health. This is why support for the Pediatric Mental Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado is of utmost importance. This support means more kids like me can receive life-saving treatment and, ultimately, prevent the occurrence of stories like my brother’s.