My Journey from Suicidal Thoughts, Hospitalization and Depression to so much HOPE

Angela Chapes

The rate of suicide among autistic people is three times higher than the typical population. Autistic females as well as people with additional psychiatric conditions are disproportionately affected. One potential reason for this higher risk may be that autistic females are typically diagnosed and treated later in life than males.

By Angela Chapes

A long time ago I had a bout with suicidal thoughts. My negative thoughts were a real thing to me. I am glad I no longer have those thoughts because it was a scary time. At one point in my life I wound up in a hospital. There have been two times in my life that I had suicidal thoughts. Now I feel I’m ready to talk about my feelings and how I was able to overcome these feelings.

The time in my life I thought about suicide I was working at a chaotic and toxic job that affected me emotionally and behaviorally. I was not doing well at all at the job or in any other aspect of life.

I once approached somebody and said if I disappeared nobody would miss me. What I was really talking about was suicide.

I was told to get help. When I was about to lose my job, I told my mom and she got me help at a mental health clinic. I’d been to a therapist as a child and I needed more therapy. The counseling helped at first but I was jumping around between therapists and their usefulness was inconsistent. I finally found a therapist outside Pawnee who could see me consistently and was very helpful to me.

That therapist diagnosed me with autism. Later on, he added anxiety, depression and OCD. I talked to him more than I did my mom. With his help, I kept my job. I wish I had talked more with my mom before she got sick … but it was too late.

Over a five-year period my mom became sick with cancer and dementia. This was the worst time in my life. I was sick to my stomach and emotionally distraught. As my mom kept getting worse; my depression and anxiety were at an all-time high.

I stopped sleeping and I wound up in a hospital for a week. I was put on medication that made me feel like a zombie. When my mom became sick I felt unwell inside myself. I was living on my own and I could not handle the environment around me or where I worked.

There was a day when I was visiting my dad that I felt I needed to be admitted to a hospital. I begged and begged my dad to take me because I felt very unwell. He was resistant because he was also dealing with my mom. I felt he didn’t understand me. Eventually he did take me to the hospital and we were there for a while.

There were no psychiatric beds so I could not go to a hospital for help.

Later in the week I went to my psychiatrist and was acting unwell and begged to get in the hospital. She was able to get me admitted. With reluctance my dad took me to the hospital. I was there a week. At the time I was there I don’t think it helped me at all although In the long run, I realized that it did help me because I have not been there since.

At the hospital they put me on medicines that made me feel like I was a zombie. From that point on I was put on many medication mixes over time. It took a long time to find the right combination but around this time I stopped taking my medication. I eventually moved home to take care of my mother and myself.

When I returned home I took a break from my job. It was for the best because this job was toxic and it just added to my anxiety and depression. It was a time that was very hard on me emotionally and behaviorally.

Caring for my mom was physically and emotionally draining. I was her primary caregiver during the day. It was very hard and I didn’t always do well. However, I did find the strength to take care of her.

When my mom was starting to not be herself I just did not feel myself. Before she stopped recognizing me I was threatening that I would want to commit suicide to my mom and my brother. I said I would take a whole bunch of Tylenol or some other medication. My younger brother locked me out of my mother’s room because she could not handle me.

When my dad came home my younger brother told him about my threats. My dad took me shopping and in so many words said to knock it off. This worked for me but it may not work for others.

My father made me realize I had family that loved me because I was working hard for them to love me, especially my younger brother. It started with him. I also remembered back to when my mom was healthy and always taught me to never give up. To this day I don’t have suicidal thoughts.

Watching my mom get worse day-by-day made my depression worse, yet I still found the strength inside me to take care of my mom.

When I could not sleep at night all I did was talk to myself and tear myself down. This was not very healthy. I would hear my mom not sleep either. When she got sicker we took my mom to daycare at a nursing home. Then I would go home and eat and sleep. I had no friends and I did nothing but take of my mom. Then we took my mom to a nursing home full-time.

After a few weeks all I would do was sleep and eat more. Or if I did get out of bed I did nothing all day. I credit my dad for kicking my butt in gear to do more in life. I also credit myself for getting out of bed for wanting to continue living because so much of life was left to experience. The reason life changed at home for me was I needed to find who I truly was.

After I moved out I found Morning Star, Inc., is a recovery center with peer support. I started to feel alive again. I took my medication again.

After I found the center I had people to confide in, listen and be my friend. I discovered skills I never knew had. I found that life was worth living and I was a worthwhile human being.

Slowly my views changed about myself. It may have taken a long time but I changed.

I now realize I am a person that can add a lot to people’s lives. I have unique qualities and traits to contribute to the world.

My mom was my biggest influence. Even though I lost her, she will always live inside me. It took a long time to find myself because I relied on her so much.

I discovered through this process I’m a person with hope and I can share that hope with others who I meet.

I now have so many people in my corner, it inspires me. I can make friends. I show others the strength and love inside me. I want to help others and am doing so.

My mom would be so proud of me for the person I turned into and continue to find.

2 replies on “My Journey from Suicidal Thoughts, Hospitalization and Depression to so much HOPE”
  1. says: Steve Staniek

    I’m smiling through my tears, and very grateful that you took the time to write and share your powerful story, with such brave self-honesty, and heartfelt caring.
    Love and strength my friend.

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