Nineteen is a Hard Age

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My Experience with Being Nineteen

Nineteen was one of the most challenging years of my life. It was the time I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, argued with my parents the most, and was in a bad relationship. I hated myself and wished I could disappear.

Madison Holleran

Madison Holleran, a University of Pennsylvania Freshman athlete, appeared to have the opposite life I had at nineteen. On her Instagram, she is smiling, laughing, and posing with friends. It seemed like the world was her oyster, and she didn’t have a care in the world. At nineteen, I would have envied her.

Sawyer Sweeten

Sawyer Sweeten, one of the twin actors on the American show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” was financially independent by the time he was nineteen. At nineteen, I was a student, unemployed, and relied on loans to get me through school. If I had Sweeten’s financial status, I would have been living the high life, and not worrying about grades.
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I look at Sweeten and Holleran, and think they have a great life. They have a close group of friends, they are the ‘best’ at something, and they have money. What more could they want?

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Holleran and Sweeten both committed suicide at the age of nineteen.  Both devastated their families and friends.

Nineteen is a hard age, it’s the last year of teen hood and the entry to the twenties. As a nineteen year old, I felt out of place and alone. I wanted people to understand what I was going through, but felt pressured to be happy so that people wouldn’t worry.  I was ashamed of venting my frustrations to others, but I couldn’t stop. I was self-conscious that people at college saw me as the girl who couldn’t stop whining.

Holleran killed herself by sprinting from a nine story building structure, while Sweeten shot himself at a relative’s house.  The way they ended their lives reveals a bit of their personality-Holleran was a college freshman track star, while Sweeten hunted with his Dad’s family. Both of them had a history of family depression, which shows their suicides may have been caused by a brain imbalance.

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I’ve suffered with depression throughout my life, but I felt it heaviest when I was nineteen. I self-mutilated and idealized suicide, but I never went through with it. Once I thought the process through, I realized it was too much hassle and work. I’ll just live with my misery.

I don’t know Holleran and Sweeten, but I’m mad at them. I’m mad because they didn’t reach out for help.  I’m mad because their depression took over and they didn’t realize how their deaths could affect their loved ones. I’m mad that society has a stigma towards depression and mental illness in general that Holleran and Sweeten felt the need to hide their sickness. I’m mad because I’m tired of this pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality, which I find bullshit. I want people to be open with their illness, mental or physical, so that we can no more tragedies like these.

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