Depression has only recently affected my life. Sure, there were times when I got emotional about an occasional mean comment from someone I wasn’t friends with, but I knew that I wasn’t depressed because I always recovered. It was in eighth grade when I found out that one of my friends couldn’t bounce back like I could.
One Friday night, my friends and I were in an intense argument. Tempers started to flair as the atmosphere became increasingly hostile. Watching one of my friend’s body language and facial expressions, I could tell that they were getting upset. I saw them tearing up, so I quieted down like most of the other people already had. A minute after I dropped out of the argument, with tears rolling down their cheeks, they told us about their depression and suicide attempt. No one knew how to respond.
I was so upset that I stumbled into the bathroom, stared into the mirror, and watched the tears roll down my face. Thinking about how I could have lost someone I’ve known since I was eight was terrifying.
I thought of my friend’s depression a lot during the first half of ninth grade. We remained friends but throughout freshman and sophomore year I thought about depression less and less.
Late this summer, my awareness of depression reemerged. I was with my mom in the car when she told me the news: my cousin had killed himself because of a heroin-induced depression incident. I didn’t cry. I didn’t know how to react. I had a really hard time over the next few weeks, going over what had happened in my head. Two days after it took place, I was playing soccer with a few of my friends and just chose to sit out. Eventually, not being able to contain it anymore, I walked into the bathroom, and cried. I didn’t want to cry in front of my friends, but it was still good to finally just let it all out. I needed to release all the pent up emotions. I just wished that my cousin had known that you can always get help, and that things can get better, no matter what.
Seeing how depression has affected the lives of those around me has impacted me. I try to be empathetic and choose my words and actions wisely. To anyone reading this that is suffering, although it may feel like you are alone, your friends care—don’t be afraid to ask for help.