Why Me? Depression Is Not Prejudice.

Why Me? Depression Is Not Prejudice.

Suicide thoughts. Loneliness. The need for life to just stop. Depression is a living, breathing monster.
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This week, I binge-watched "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix. It has 13 episodes, so it only took me three days between working and sleeping to finish it. If you haven't read the book or heard about this new series, here is a little bit about the storyline of Hannah Baker before I dive into what I really want to talk about.

"13 Reasons Why" is written by Jay Asher, and the Netflix series is produced by Selena Gomez. This is Gomez's first ever production behind the scenes. This is a story about a girl named Hannah Baker, who is quite literally bullied to death. She commits suicide and leaves behind seven tapes with 13 reasons on them as to why her life ended. A boy named Clay that Hannah actually liked gets the tapes and starts the chain of justice in Hannah's name. But you can't love someone back to life right? (I will stop there so you all can go watch it. To see what happens.)

It is, in my opinion, a sad story, but it holds the truth. Bullying happens just like it is shown in this book and Netflix series. Kids are cruel. They say things to make you feel small and themselves feel bigger. We have grown up in a society that says we won't tolerate bullying, yet someone gets bullied right under their noses. I am a big anti-bully believer. I have written many articles about the subject, but this is not one of them.

Today, I'm talking about depression. The dark cloud that hovers over our head. Just waiting for something to kick us in our gut and make us fall to our knees. That black cloud waits to pounce on us when we are already done. And it will hit us and keep hitting us until we are curled up in bed, crying our eyes out. Or sometimes it gets so bad that we feel dead inside and we are just going through the motions of life. Not enjoying the little sliver of happiness life may give us through those dark clouds. Depression is a sickness.

I know what you are thinking: But I'm not sick.

You are wrong. Depression is the type of sickness that hides within, just under the skin. You may not feel the cold coming on, but it is there. It is the thing that keeps you in bed instead of going out with friends. Or the thing that makes you feel like you're going to be sick if you eat anything. You don't want to move. You just want to lay there. Hoping, no, wanting life to stop because the pain you feel hurts too much.

Your heart aches and loneliness becomes your God. Because that is what Depression wants to achieve. It eats away at your soul. Gets you where you are tender and beats you down.

I know what Depression feels like because I have been diagnosed with it. I struggle with it everyday. I am in a good place now. I have a job, I make my own money and I have a life worth living.

But I have been in a bad place many, many times before. I call it my dark place. It is a place that I wish didn't exist. Yet it does. It is that dark cloud just waiting for something to kick me down so it can pull me back in.

"13 Reasons Why" reminded me how much I hate my dark place. I'm sure we all have the same thoughts that Hannah Baker did. Why did these things happen to me? Why me? Do I deserve it? When Depression hits, you are the loneliest person in the world because no one understand how you feel. Until they feel the same. And they may never really, truly know how you feel.

"13 Reasons Why" shows you just how badly bullying and Depression can affect someone. And suicide is never the answer. Every single life is too precious like lights for them to be blown out by some pills, or a piece of rope/belt, or cuts down your arm.

I've never been to that point where I wanted to end my life. But I have thought about how people would react to my death. And how life for them would move forward. Would they cry for me? Would they miss me? Or would they be happy to get rid of me? All those thoughts have been on my mind at one time or another because that is what my dark place played with me.

Suicide is no joking matter. I have seen Facebook posts making fun of "13 Reasons Why," and they aren't funny. That can be your friend, your sister or brother, your child at some moment. It happens. Depression is not prejudice. It picks at random. You could even say it spins a bottle and attacks whoever the bottle lands on.

If you feel the dark clouds cornering you, tell someone. Reach out to them. And if you know of someone who is having a bad patch, talk to them. You could be the reason for they choose to live.

The number for the International Suicide Prevention Hotline is below: Don't be afraid to use it.

1-800-273-8255

I love you, and I am always here!

Cover Image Credit: International Business Times

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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I Never Thought I'd Have To Attend A Classmate's Funeral Two Weeks Before He Was Supposed To Graduate

Teen suicide is a taboo topic where I'm from, even if we have lost two members of the community to it in the past two years.

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One of the hardest experiences of my life happened just this week, at the funeral of a boy I barely even knew. I had gone to school with him since kindergarten but hadn't had a class with him since fifth grade, and I don't think we had talked since then. All I had ever thought of doing with my classmates two weeks before graduation was complaining about finals and maybe going to a few graduation parties.

Instead, we all left school midday to head to the largest Baptist church in town. I sat in the middle of a row of pews, surrounded by two hundred or more people that I had either gone to school with my whole life or had gone to school with at some point in the past thirteen years.

There was not a single one of them that did not have tears in their eyes. We listened to the pastor share memories of our classmate that had been shared online, and some of us even got up to share our own and to thank his parents for raising such a kind and caring, young man.

He was the type of guy to invite you to go out to eat, even if he knew you had to work, just because he didn't want you to feel forgotten about. Every single person who spoke said, "There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about this kid." They spoke those words in full truth.

The senior class was named in the obituary as honorary pallbearers. We followed the eight football players and the rest of the football team and our classmate's closest friends to a hearse waiting outside. I watched as the hearse pulled away, and I believe that is when it truly hit everyone.

He was gone, and he wasn't coming back. As the hearse pulled away, all I could see on the other side were tears streaming down the faces of some of the toughest guys I know.

We called the football team the Thunder House. The phrase "Thunder House" went from something normally said with a smile or a chuckle to something said with a melancholy tone. No one cheered when it was said anymore, they only gave sad nods and tight, depressing smiles.

Teen suicide is a taboo topic where I'm from, even if we have lost two members of the community to it in the past two years. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article stating that Americans in rural areas are more likely to die by suicide, also stating that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

The week before we lost our classmate, there was a walk at the school on a Saturday to raise awareness for teen suicide and depression. I only heard one teacher say anything about it beforehand. There were no signs around the school. There was no mention of it on the morning announcements. There was not a post on the school's website inviting members of the community to join us.

I truly believe that more could have been done that could have possibly prevented the heartache that has impacted a school, a family, and a community. Reach out to those you feel may be in need, and even those that you do not feel may be in need because you never know what someone is going through.

Articles on suicide prevention or recount stories of suicide or suicidal thoughts should end with the following message, written in regular weight font, styled in italics:

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


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