As we near our centennial in 2025, we're sharing stories of Menninger's impact. One former patient, helped by Menninger for more than 25 years, now writes about her struggles with suicide to support others with similar challenges. Menninger’s expertise in suicide and compassionate care played a critical role in building her resilience.
Laura Adderley recalls the moment in sixth grade when the “Beast” came into her life, down to her exact outfit. “I was wearing my favorite pair of red corduroys, mindlessly counting the rows, when, all of a sudden, I was contemplating ways to end my life. It didn’t feel foreign or ‘bad’ – it just seemed to make sense.”
From that point, the “Beast,” Laura’s term for her suicidal thoughts, has been a constant presence, persisting through college, law school, and into adulthood. This struggle led to two suicide attempts and ongoing mental health challenges.
Fortunately, Laura has had crucial support, including from Menninger, over the past two decades. Her relationship with Menninger began in 1999, when the clinic was in Topeka before relocating to Houston. Menninger’s ongoing support has helped her develop essential skills and connect to her reason for living, so she can manage her suicidal thoughts and underlying mental illness.
“I think one of the biggest things for me, has been hope and the ability to be hopeful,” says Adderley about her mental health journey over the years.
In 2021, Laura launched a blog aimed at providing guidance and insights on suicide to share hope with others. The blog covers topics from coping with suicidal thoughts to building healthy relationships, alongside personal reflections, and snapshots of her with her beloved horses and dogs.
In addition to her blog, Laura has written an honest and comprehensive guide on suicide, entitled, “So, You Think You Want to Die.” She hopes to publish it soon to offer support to a wider audience on managing suicidal thoughts.
“With my blog, with my book, I hope that someone might take something away from it. I wish there had been such a thing when I was in my early 20s,” Laura says, noting that most information on suicide she has found targets professionals, or focuses on preventing suicide in others. “I guess that’s more than anything what spurred me on to write them both. There is such a need.”
In both works, Adderley writes about how she maintains her mental health by working with her supportive therapist while nurturing relationships with family and friends. Her passion for horse jumping also serves as a source of purpose and connection in her life.
“It’s kind of magical, in that you’re collaborating with a 1.2-ton animal, and both of you want to get to the other side safely,” says Adderley, who tries to ride several times a week. “It has always been something I loved. No matter how horrible a day I had at school or at work, when I went home, I was in a better mood.”
When she’s not in the saddle, Adderley finds writing to be equally therapeutic. She values tackling mental illness and suicide head-on to improve understanding.
“Suicide is such a taboo subject,” she said in a recent blog post. “If only we demystified it, made it an acceptable topic for conversation, maybe, just maybe we could close in on a way to demystify and dismantle the power of the Beast.”
Visit to follow her inspiring journey dealing with the challenges of suicide.