I became the victim of cyber bullying in eighth grade. To make matters worse, my counselor actually told me that it was all my fault. The next year, I made the decision to come out as gay. I never realized how hard that would be—how cruel kids could be. By my sophomore year, I was deeply depressed.
On March 9, 2015, I decided I couldn’t handle it anymore and took an overdose of Advil and my migraine medication. It was two seconds of weakness. I knew immediately I had made a terrible mistake.
After I was released from the hospital, I was sent to a psychiatric hospital for a week where the doctors helped me understand what was happening to me and how to cope. Although there is a terrible stigma associated with such facilities, I don’t regret going there at all. I was able to get the help I needed. I still struggle with depression and anxiety, but I do not want to hurt myself anymore.
No one in Loudoun should lose their future to a few seconds of desperation.
The Next Chapter
Instead, I find that helping others helps me. It makes me feel better when other students trust me. So, I joined a peer-to-peer nonprofit program that works to prevent teen suicides. I focus a lot of my time on helping special needs kids and students struggling with depression and anxiety. I love the message we deliver—that it’s perfectly OK to be different. It helps me see a better side of the world and makes me want to be a better person myself.
But, I was surprised when I learned that I had been nominated for a scholarship award because of my work with the program. I was so honored when I actually won. I will be using the money to pay for school when I attend Longwood University in the fall to study criminal justice. I want to be a police officer or an agent. I know I can’t save everyone, but I also know I can help some people. That’s why I want to be in law enforcement.
I don’t have to worry about my own well-being anymore. And neither do my parents. I avoid social media and big parties and all the teenage drama. Instead, I focus on maintaining a small circle of close friends. I know life is great, and I feel very optimistic about the future. I just wish everyone could feel the same.
Won’t you be a part of the solution and help us End the Need in Loudoun?
As part of the Community Foundation’s Faces of Loudoun campaign, Loudoun Now is publishing monthly articles highlighting men, women and children who have found a helping hand when they needed it most. Learn more or donate to help End the Need at FacesofLoudoun.org.