Jenny on Suicide, OCD, and Medication

Hi I’m Jenny Jaffe and the founder of Project
UROK. My first real sort of battle with mental health issues was when I was probably
around ten years old and that was the first time I can remember being suicidal. What I
really remember about that is that I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling,
and I knew that I needed help but I didn’t know how to ask for it because I didn’t know
what was going on. I had this really you know I still have this amazing family and I remember
just not wanting to hurt their feelings. And I remember really hoping that an accident
would happen and that um I would die. And I wouldn’t have to kill myself, but it just
seemed way too scary to continue living. I always had OCD symptoms even if I hadn’t realized
they were OCD symptoms but by the time I got to high school they were pretty difficult
to ignore. I started having serious fear of contamination and coping with that by obsessive
hand-washing taking my temperature obsessively. I had the intrusive thoughts that are characteristic
of OCD but I thought that I was just going completely crazy. I was having 2 to 3 panic
attacks a day and I was taking about a hundred milligrams of Prozac, sixty of Buspar and
three Lorazepam a day at that point. I dropped out of a bunch of classes. It was a really
really rough year and I actually don’t remember a lot of it. I was really severely depressed
and I really did not believe I was going to make it to graduation. It was a combination
of you know of getting the medication right, um, doing a lot of therapy. You know I’ve
been in therapy, at this point I’m 24, I’ve been in therapy most of my life. I really
don’t remember a time I wasn’t in therapy. As a kid it was for insomnia. But then, you
know, I think it’s important to continue to go to therapy even when there’s nothing in
crisis at the moment, because you never know when something’s gonna sort of occur, and
it just gives you this amazing foundation. And I keep finding myself wishing I could
go back in time and talk to myself at ten, talk to myself at sixteen and say this is
really hard right now, I know this is hard right now, I know you don’t see a light at
the end of the tunnel, but you are going to be so strong for all this. I not only made
it to graduation, I made it to college, I made it to New York 3,000 miles from home.
And I have continued to struggle, because you know mental illness can be a chronic illness.
I’m living such a full life that I really never imagined. I never imagined that anyone
would date me and I have an amazing long-term boyfriend. I never imagined I have friends
and I have this full social calendar. I have been able to do things I never in a million
years thought I would be able to do because I didn’t even think I would let myself live
long enough to do them. I have this really unshakable core in me just knowing that I’m
gonna be alright. There is nothing anyone could do that would scare me and there’s nothing
that could make me crumble because if nothing that came before ever did nothing can now.
I know there are a lot of people doing these videos who feel the same way and a lot of
people who are very brave and people who are willing to talk about things that are very
hard to talk about in order to try and give somebody else a hope that they didn’t necessarily
have. Thank you so much for watching this. Thank you to everybody for participating.
Please continue to participate. If you feel moved to make a video if you don’t feel ready
to that’s okay. The videos are here for you to watch to hopefully take a little bit
of comfort in. Everybody in these has been where you are before, maybe not exactly, but
I’ve been really to my own personal hell and back and that’s the key thing is I’m back
and I’m OK and you are okay and you’re gonna be okay.