As a professional golfer, Andrew Jensen spent years travelling the world and playing the sport he loved. While he enjoyed public success, Jensen struggled in private. After his third suicide attempt, Jensen decided to use his platform to speak out about his experience living with depression while chasing his dream. He wrote the blog below on the anniversary of his last suicide attempt in hopes that his story will inspire others to break their silence.
Today marks the 3-year anniversary of when I was hospitalized for my 3rd (and hopefully final) attempt to take my own life. In the years since 2011, on October 15th, I’ve usually found myself emotional and reflective. Today is different.
Of course, sitting here and thinking about all that has happened since that day, it’s easy to reflect and take it all in and be very grateful for my life. The biggest difference between today and the last two years is the fact that I completely forgot that today was the day.
In 2012 and 2013, I was anxiously counting down the days leading to the 15th. I was excited to get more and more removed from 2011. Part of me was still stuck back in 2011, part of me was in the present moment, and part of me was looking ahead. The fear of reliving that day was immense, and I used the anniversary to remind myself that I’m still plugging away.
This year, I’m just a little too busy LIVING to be anxiously counting down the days leading up to October 15th. By no means am I diminishing the events that took place in 2011, and I’m not diminishing the time and healing that has taken place in the years since; I’m just a little more unaware of it. Those days are journal entries and memories; they’re no longer constant thoughts that live with me every day.
For that, I’m extremely grateful. It’s an incredible feeling to be caught up in life, the heavy and the light of it. For those of you who have experienced seasons or a lifetime of depression, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that sometimes it feels impossible to shake the memories or nagging reminders of our darkest times. These memories like to be ever-present in our minds to haunt us, lie to us that we’ll go back, that things won’t get better.
Obviously, I expect the events of 2011 to pop up again in my mind. I even expect them to grab hold of and frighten me again. But today, they haven’t. Today, I’m concerned with 2014 and all that is in front of me and all that has happened in this calendar year.
The more I have opened up about my struggles, the more enjoyable life has been. My life, which for years felt meaningless, is now full of purpose.
Being able to share my story is incredible. I’ve become friends with some of my heroes in this time. I’ve started to work with charities and nonprofits that helped me through my harder times. Becoming a spokesperson or ambassador for mental health has been a surreal journey. Being a professional golfer has given me a platform and some relevance that I’m determined to use.
You might think you’re just a regular person with no platform.
You have a platform. You have a voice. If you’re struggling today, take my word for it. Sharing helps because sharing brings purpose to your struggles. By sharing your struggles, you could help someone else through theirs. Get on Facebook, Twitter, email, text, or the phone, but just get it out in the open. There are so many people hurting in silence as you read this. You breaking your silence can be the catalyst that someone needs to make his or her first step to recovery.