Sarah Marino from Ohio attempted to take her own life by jumping off the roof of a parking garage after she was raped when she was 19.
She was left with a broken back, an incomplete spinal cord injury, a traumatic injury, and her feet, legs, and pelvis were so damaged she had to undergo intensive surgeries.
In an interview with Jam Press, Sarah, now 22, said: “I jumped off the top of the parking garage on Ohio State’s campus.
“I had a long history of undiagnosed and untreated major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“In the months leading up to my suicide, I just felt trapped. Trapped in my head, with my intrusive thoughts. I started self-medicating with marijuana, which my parents found out about, adding tension to an already tense home life. At the point I just felt like a burden, I felt like I was letting everyone down.
“I felt I was letting myself down. I was always a good student and a hard worker but I stopped going to classes and to my two jobs. I was withdrawing and isolating myself while repressing all the emotions.
“People were seeming to take a negative view of this behavior which I took personally. I didn’t know how to make things better. I felt worthless. I felt like I couldn’t be fixed.
“I felt like I was spiraling downward and things were only going to get worse and I was only going to hurt more people. I just wanted out and suicide seemed like the only option.”
After the incident, she spent six weeks in the hospital before going back home.
“I spent the first week in the SICU going in and out of surgery and being heavily medicated and monitored,” she shared.
“I don’t remember too much about that. I then spent a couple of weeks on the brain and spine floor. Still receiving surgeries, but beginning to start very basic therapy like sitting up to brush my teeth; something I could barely do without passing out or falling over.
“At this point, I had no movement below my hips. My trunk support was very weak and obviously being fresh from back surgeries made things like sitting up extremely difficult. I then spent three weeks at Dodd Hall at OSU, a rehabilitation hospital.”
Sarah underwent many activities such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
“I did things like learning how to get dressed, shower, cook, get into cars, clean, and other daily tasks. Physical therapy was to see how much response my body was giving, and work with what is working.
“Exercises and muscle strengthening were a big part of PT. By the time I left Dodd, I could almost kick a balloon off a cone about a foot in front of me.
“After I left I started doing outpatient occupational therapy and physical therapy to keep building upon the function that I did have and to get more used to living life in a wheelchair in the community and at home.”
Sarah documents her recovery process on her Instagram page where she shares photos of her life.
“I’ve actually had some very amazing positive responses to my posts. It is very uplifting to hear people being inspired by me. It also has been great to connect me to the disabled community, where I have met so many inspiring and amazing individuals.
“It is really comforting just to see people going through the same thing as you and whom you can connect on that level.”
She says that receiving support, especially mental support, would’ve helped her before her suicide attempt.
“I think it’s important for others to know that it’s okay to have those feelings, and it’s okay to seek out professional mental health services, it doesn’t mean you’re unfixable,” she expressed.
“Do not worry about other people who do not have your best intentions at heart. Focus on yourself and recognize the signs and symptoms and what makes you feel bad.
“Do not be afraid to seek professional treatment if you have access to it. I still talk to my counselor once a week and it is very helpful.”
Sarah added: “If talking isn’t your thing try journaling. It sounds simple but sometimes just straightening out your thoughts on paper in front of you can help process things.”
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