Student overcomes suicidal thoughts and hospitalization

Bailey Kirkeby, News Editor, Managing Editor, Entertainment Columnist

He was stripped of his electronics. The laces from his clothing and shoes were removed so neither he nor other patients could use them. His doctors forced him to take antidepressants despite his declination. These gruesome undertakings were the reality of Jayden Jones, a senior at Bear Creek who was hospitalized after his chronic depression and suicidal thoughts became perilous.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts in the United States. Jones was one of these 1.4 million people.

Jones started having suicidal thoughts when a cherished relationship ended on the last day of his sophomore year.

“I began isolating myself, not being as communicative and verbal as I once was,” Jones said. “I’d find myself staying in bed and at home for days, and I would just experience the world through my phone.”

When his junior year began, Jones says it was difficult to focus during class, often feeling his mind deviate from where he was and what he was learning. Instead of concentrating on lessons and schoolwork, Jones doubted his purpose in life.

“I began to realize my placement in the grand scheme of things — how little and minute an individual’s life is in a world filled with literal billions of people,” Jones said. “I felt trapped
and wanted to escape from a pain that lingered and infested my mind and thoughts.”

After experiencing a lack of availability from his school counselors, Jones sought out a therapist. Jones says it took him nearly one month to find an available therapist, but he eventually got one.

“I would go every week and… tell him my darkest thoughts and my sorrows,” Jones said. “My therapist recommended I begin taking antidepressants, but I refused.”

As his mental health worsened, Jones was hospitalized. Jones says that the hospital did not offer recreational activities and his electronics were taken away, leaving him frustrated about being in the bleak environment.

“I had nothing to entertain me, and I had no desire to talk to staff or other patients,” Jones said. “I became frustrated quickly, as I was already developing anger issues before I was admitted. When my parents visited, I would lash out at them and plead for them to let me out to no avail.”

Jones says the hospital had its patients do busy work — referred to as “school hour” — in which the patients did not actually do any education-based work.

“I was falling very far behind in my class work while I was there, which increased my anxiety,” Jones said.

Jones politely declined to take antidepressants when his doctor recommended them, but he was eventually given an ultimatum: if he did not take the medication, he would be forced to stay in the hospital longer.

“I reluctantly agreed to take the medication to my own dismay,” Jones said. “I hated to take medicine before, I hated it when I was ‘recommended’ to take it in the hospital, and even now, I hate taking medicine. I could even argue that forcing the usage of medication on me had only discouraged me more.”

Luckily, Jones says that going on antidepressants caused him to feel calmer, and he became more amiable to staff members and other patients.

Jones has been off of antidepressants for five months and has not had any issues or depressive episodes. However, he says he is less social now than he was prior to his experiences with depression and hospitalization.

“I keep my circle of friends extremely tight and small,” Jones said. “My entire senior year, I would go into [a side office of my journalism teacher’s classroom] during lunch and eat by myself even though I had friends at lunch. I wasn’t troubled or anything, I just liked keeping to myself.”

Today, Jones says he is very content with his life in its present state.

“You have to find your niche in the world — where you fit, where you’re the happiest,” Jones said. “Life goes on, and whatever troubles you have will soon enough be behind you.”

If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or other crises, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255. Crisis Text Line also provides confidential, 24/7 support via text message; text “HOME” to 741741.