A mom and a Suicide Survivor

My mom took her own life when I was six years old. She was 31. As I am quickly approaching the same age she died, I am fighting daily to make sure my story doesn’t end like hers.

My name is Nikki. I’m 29 years old, a graduate from Grandview Heights High School, and a stay at home mom. I work at home by filming and editing videos for my YouTube channel (NikkiLeighLifestyle) where I have almost 60k subscribers and over 20 million video views. I’ve had this channel since 2010 and have received letters from all over the world and of all races and age ranges, many of them telling me that I have saved their life by sharing my story about depression, anxiety, and suicide on such a public platform. My goal in life is to help as many people as I possibly can through their mental illness or personal issues.

I grew up in Grandview Heights with my dad as an only child. Being a teenage girl with a clueless dad was incredibly frustrating. I had to learn about all the girly basics on my own. Sure, I had a few friends, but it’s often taboo to talk about those kinds of things.

I started noticing my mood changing around 13 years old. Many people would just blame puberty and “being a girl” but even back then, I knew it wasn’t normal. I was sad. Constantly. I didn’t participate in school,  extra curriculars, or have many friends. I just didn’t enjoy or care about anything…. about life.

Then, I started self harming in 8th grade. I thought if I could cause myself some physical pain that maybe it would release my inner emotional pain. This would continue to be a 12 year off and on battle, an addiction if you will.

The first time I made an attempt on my own life was when I was 15. Bullying at school and online, a father who loved to scream at me and slam things around, and overall hatred for myself were the main reasons, though a million things ran through my mind before I took that step off the bathtub with a hoodie tied around my neck.

Obviously, it didn’t work.

I didn’t get any counseling after that, because my dad just got angry. He always told me to “stop the suicidal shit.”

Fast forward a few years, I graduated that hell I called high school, freshly 18 and looking forward to the future. And then, I was date raped.

I never called the police, because I was afraid of getting in trouble by my dad, and knowing the rapist had very influential and rich parents would probably just snake his way out of it. To this day, I regret not turning him in. I’m still terrified of running into him on the street.

The next year, I was 19 in college at Columbus State working on my associate of arts, and was in a miserably abusive relationship. It started out as innocent jealousy and then quickly escalated into total control. I couldn’t talk to any friends, or be friends on social media with male family members, and eventually I wasn’t allowed to even wear my own clothes to school. Instead I had to wear his over-sized baggy clothes so no one would look at my body.

Every waking second I had to be with him and if I wasn’t, he called and texted constantly accusing me of cheating. I was called a whore and slut, among many other things. He even went as far as putting spyware on my computer to see every website I went to and every single person I talked to. It eventually got physical.

Bruised ribs, black eyes, bloody noses, the works. Many people ask why I  stayed for over three years. I guess I felt that my life wasn’t worth a loving relationship. I tried overdosing on pain killers and vodka that year.

When I got out of Netcare, he told me “it’s too bad it didn’t work.” He cheated on me multiple times.  He had started doing a bunch of drugs and drinking, and I wanted no part of that. Luckily, he ended up moving away and that was my only saving grace.

A few years later, I lost myself in a whirlwind of alcohol and downtown clubs. I was 23 years old and many people thought it was just normal to go out often, but I was getting black out drunk 5-6 nights a week trying to forget any pain I was going through. Eventually in 2012, I got a DUI and it inspired me (as silly as that sounds) to quit drinking and better myself.

I tried to end my life one more time, and continued to self harm until I was 26 years old. Then, I decided to make a big change this time. To leave a six year long abusive job, get out of my broken down car, and give myself one more chance at a good life.

Here I am today, 29 years old, 3 years self injury free, engaged to be married this August, and I have a beautiful 17 month old daughter of my own.

I’m not saying that life is all rainbows and butterflies, because it’s not. I’m still depressed, I still suffer from terrible anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder. That part of my life will never go away. It will always be a part of me. But I fight every single day through it and realize that there is no way I can possibly leave my daughter the way my mom left me.

I refuse to give up. I am a survivor–I have scars–I’ve been through hell and back, but I stand here today stronger than ever with a life I’m happy to still have.

Having my YouTube channel to talk about my life experiences has helped me and others.  Knowing that other people out there, no matter their age, gender, race, or sexuality never have to be alone. I love talking to my subscribers and helping them the best I can, offering the most loving advice I can, because I truly love each and every one of them.

When I had no one else, there were always my subscribers from across the world. I have been told that I’ve saved many of their lives, because they saw that my life did indeed get better, and it inspired them to keep holding on. I wish my mom would have held on, but I will keep holding on.

My goal in sharing my story is to reach more people out there who may be suffering from self harm, suicidal thoughts, depression, or anything else they may be going through. I am always here for anyone with no judgment. I want people to know that they’re never alone in the hard times.

If i can help at least one person in this life, I know that means I’m still here for a purpose.

  • Cassandra Jerzak
    Posted at 17:32h, 19 March Reply

    I’m a longtime follower and always look forward to your videos. Even if you take a month off I still wait to see your videos. I have depression and mild bipolar I don’t take meds because I don’t care to. But I have children and they keep me on my feet. My story is not like yours but everyone has a story. I wish you love and happiness. Love your long time follower Cassandra Mae jerzak!

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