Depression is something that a lot of people misunderstand. It is a powerful disease, one that has taken hold of our country with a tight grasp, and suicide among teenagers is the third leading cause of death in this state. People don’t see depression that way though. They see it as, “something to just get over” and that, “it’s not that big of a deal and the person should just be happy.” Those are the people who never truly understand what it’s like to be depressed and how it feels. I believe depression is curable, that there is hope.
While sitting in class texting my friend, the messages start to get farther and farther apart. Eventually, they stop coming, and no matter how many times I send the message, “Hey, r u there?” I receive no response. Two days later I get a phone call from his mom saying he had overdosed, that he had tried to take his own life, that I wouldn’t be able to talk to him for awhile, because he would be in the hospital for at least another week. Since I was in the car with my dad I merely replied, “Okay, tell him I send a hug and a hey, and have him call me when he is able to.” Once we got home, I locked myself in the bathroom, and I cried. I just didn’t understand until later.
I was able to talk to him the next week, me being one of the only people his mom would allow him to talk to, and for short periods of time at that. Our conversations were always short, but in every word I could hear the loneliness resonate as if he were talking into a vase. It hurt me to know that as his best friend, he didn’t turn to me, and I didn’t understand why.
He told me he had almost died twice, that sometimes he wishes he would have, so that way he wouldn’t have to live with the regret of what he did. The way I see it is that he has a second chance, a second chance that not many people get to have in life. By harboring his emotions, it built up a demon inside that he felt he could only slay by killing himself. By taking the second chance he was given, he was able to get the treatment he needed to get back on his feet. Now he’s graduated and has a steady job, and he’s working on overcoming the battle with the monster that once took over his life.
My school, like any other, has its problems; this year, however, has been more rocky than normal. With four suicides, our student body to me seems like it is on edge, fearful of moving on for fear of forgetting. I don’t think that will happen. I believe that those people will never be forgotten, but their memories will go on to strengthen our lives and give us hope, to give us a reason to put our next foot forward when it feels like we can’t carry on.
Depression is an illness, much like asthma, that not many people understand. I believe that it is up to our generation to break down that stigma that depression is bad, to help those who feel like they’re trapped and have nowhere to go, to be the generation of hope. I believe depression is curable. As the lyrics of one of my favorite songs go, we have to “live today through the future’s lens, don’t wanna wish you could rewind and play it again.”
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.