I've been struggling with severe depression since last summer when my group of friends suddenly blocked me out. I got in on the wrong crowd and started doing bad things. The misery got so severe that I started obsessing over dying. I didn't ever have a plan, but I just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up. I'd stay up until 3am in my room by myself staring at the clock and breaking down. I turned to nail polish remover and other substances. I didn't want to kill myself, I just wanted to kill the part of me that wasn't right. I mean, something was obviously wrong with me... My friends all left, I stopped enjoying the things I loved, I didn't like eating, I had the biggest house and the most respectable upbringing yet somehow I felt like the poorest person on Earth, and I was alone even when I was surrounded by people.
I snapped out of it one morning when I was on the bus ride to my high school. I go to school two towns over so it takes about 30-45 minutes to get there. The other kids and I have a mutual understanding about how things go on the bus. I always sit in the back, the boy who always plugs into his iPod for the entire ride sits in front of me, the genius boy who plas dumb always sits across from him, and the Freshman boy who always plays Minecraft sits two seats up from them to the left. When I got on I went straight to my spot, dropped my bag and sat down, not paying attention to what was going on. Even though I knew. It used to happen every single day. It would start with someone making a dumb remark to the Freshman which would always result in him reacting impulsively. Things would escalate until the f-bomb was being tosses around with a mix of nasty jokes about how the boys had slept with the Minecraft player's mother and when he was conceived it was because the condom broke. No body really ever said anything to stop it because it was just joking, right? Everyone knew that the antagonizers hadn't actually slept with the kids mother. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You see the Freshman didn't have a mother that was around. Him and his younger brother lived in a tiny cottage with their grandmother.
For some reason this day was different from all the others. I had woken up from my black-out 15 minutes before I had to leave that morning and I was feeling like I had nothing to lose. So why not empower this kid who had every right to feel 10 times as crappy as I always did. We got off the bus at school and things simmered down, but I thought about that boy all day long. The more I thought about it, the more furious I was at the boys. There was another problem though... these were boys that I called my friends... how in the heck was I supposed to get them to pipe down without them turning on me? Then it struck me! If you can't weaken the offense, you can strengthen the defense.
When I boarded the bus to go home I didn't return to my usual seat. I plopped down five rows from the back, right next to Minecraft player. He was puzzled, but he didn't say anything he just keep right on clicking away on his laptop computer. I sat across the aisle from him the entire 45 minutes to the first stop over, where we had to get off and board a second bus. When everyone stood to get off, I stopped him. I said, "Dylan... you know those boys who keep bothering you?"
He said, "... Yeah..."
I said, "The next time they talk to you like that, I want you to stop and think to yourself. Think about what must be going on in their lives that would cause them to treat you like that and when you've imagined all that you can, pray for them. And then remember that I'm right there in the back where I always am cursing at them under my breathe."
And he just smiled and then he laughed and then I laughed too. Because all of a sudden we had a mutual understanding. In that moment he realized that he wasn't alone anymore and I did too. By doing something so little to encourage him to go on I also encouraged myself to go on.
And I have ever since.
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