Entertainment And News

How A Man Went From Graduating Harvard Law School At 24 & 'Living The Dream' To Wanting To End His Life

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dark side shot of upset young man with glasses sitting alone with back against a wall

A successful man who had everything he wanted on paper, revealed how the decline of his mental health led to suicide ideations.

In a TikTok video, a content creator named Julian Sarafian, who makes videos ranging from talking about the law to mental health and personal growth, shared his personal journey with anxiety and depression, and how his dark thoughts almost led him to make a tragic choice.

Sarafian went from graduating Harvard Law at 24 and 'living the dream' to wanting to end his life.

Sarafian explained that while this happened to him two years ago, it's not an easy thing to recount and relive. However, he maintained that by opening up about this rough patch, he would be able to help anyone who might need it because the worst part about suffering from mental health issues was feeling as if you were suffering alone.

"I've always been the model student. In high school I was valedictorian. I went on to UC Berkeley and graduated in three years with an A+ average. I had internships at The White House and top law firms, and I took on leadership positions," Sarafian recalled.

   

   

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He continued, saying that he was the definition of someone who went above and beyond in their studies and work. He managed to get into NYU School of Law when he was 20 years old and attended for one year before transfering to Harvard Law School and graduating when he was only 24.

He became a California-licensed attorney making a six-figure salary while still being in his mid-twenties. To an outsider looking in, Sarafian's life seemed perfect. He was living the dream, making money, and essentially doing a job that he was both good at and loved.

Man Went From Graduating Harvard Law School At 24 To Wanting To End His LifePhoto: Danilyuk / Canva Pro

"I'm king of the world. This is what you work so hard for, right? Well, there's another side of the cost to success."

Sarafian recalled suffering from stress while still in high school.

He explained that when he was a teenager and studying for his SATs, he started experiencing debilitating stomachaches that stemmed from stress. He was only sleeping 5 hours a night on average, which he suspects may have affected his growth.

When Sarafian got to college, he didn't realize that his anxiety was impacting his ability to socialize, and he would spend the majority of his time alone. He recalled that it was an extremely lonely and miserable time in his life. 

Unfortunately, Sarafian's high school experience is not unique. According to the Pew Research Center, 37% of students at public and private high schools reported that their mental health was not good most or all of the time, especially during the pandemic. 

   

   

About three in ten high school students (31%) said they experienced poor mental health most or all of the time. In addition, 44% said that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row such that they stopped doing some of their usual activities.

This reality doesn't end with high school students. College students also struggle with mental health issues, especially the ones who attend Ivy League or highly-rated institutions. 

In late 2018, the American College Health Association presented data that showed 40% of undergraduate students reported depression so severe that it became difficult for them to function. The group's statistics also indicated that, as of 2018, more than 10% of undergraduate students had seriously considered suicide. 

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Ivy League institutions include some of the most high-achieving students from around the globe, and these students can be two or three times more anxious and depressed than the average college student.

However, things for Sarafian quickly took a turn after his grandmother passed away during his third year of college. "I didn't know how to process the grief and I began having panic attacks and hyperventilating. Before I knew it, I was gagging uncontrollably. I couldn't go to the gym, I couldn't see friends, I could barely eat."

Sarafian went to the doctor thinking there was something medically wrong with him.

After having a bunch of tests done, Sarafian was shocked when the result always came out the same. Physically, he was in perfect shape. The doctors informed him he was the picture of health.

Man Went From Graduating Harvard Law School At 24 To Wanting To End His LifePhoto: Syda Productions / Canva Pro

It would take 5 more years of debilitating anxiety and uncontrollable gagging before he realized that he was suffering from anxiety. Then, the pandemic hit, and without the resources for tools or skills to practice to manage his anxiety, things got worse.

"I began to try and control everything I could from my job, to placement of things in my apartment, to the way people communicated with me, and ultimately, to my thoughts and feelings themselves," he said. "That's when I became mildly depressed."

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He checked himself into mental health services and was diagnosed with severe anxiety and mild depression, and two months into his journey, he began having fleeting suicidal ideation for the first time. It felt like a little voice inside of his head began questioning the reality of continuing to live on. 

"There are many lessons from my story but the one I hope people out there understand is no matter how alone you feel, I promise you, you're never alone." 

After spending countless hours journaling, practicing mindfulness, and seeking professional help, Sarafian managed to overcome his negative thoughts and finds himself in a much better place mentally nowadays.

Anxiety and depression impact more people than you realize. If you are struggling, you are not alone.

An estimated 50 million Americans are experiencing some form of severe mental illness, while that thought can be comforting to those going through it, that number is staggering and disheartening.

It can be easy to think that therapy will solve all of the problems, and it definitely has the power to. However, not everyone can afford therapy (42% of adults reported they were unable to receive necessary care because they could not afford it. 10.8% (over 5.5 million) of adults with a mental illness are uninsured.

Despite the harrowing reality of unaffordable mental health care, if you're experiencing mental health issues and suicidal thoughts or ideations, seeking out professional help is something that should always be a top priority.

   

   

There are therapists out there who understand the need and importance of affordable care, and it may take some time to find the right person, but they're out there. They will work with you and your budget.

By seeking out a professional, you can learn the correct tools and skills that will help you overcome those mental health hurdles because no one should have to suffer alone, ever.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress, reach out 24/7 to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing or texting 988 or using chat services at Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to connect to a trained crisis counselor.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.