The Never Ending Cycle
Many teens have heard the saying, “these four years of high-school will be the best four years of your life!” Administrators and faculty often try to invoke enthusiasm and encouragement into incoming freshman by making this statement. I was immediately doubtful of the claim, and as the years passed my hunch was confirmed that it was untrue. Not because I didn’t enjoy high-school, but because of the virus that consumed the hope and joy of many of my peers. It was a parasite that slowly drained its victims until a mere shell of angst and sadness remained. Depression, I realized was no joking matter. While I had great friends, a satisfying home life with my mother, and sports to keep me fulfilled throughout those four years, many did not. I for some reason, was uncannily receptive to their pain.
I could see what others were blind to because my older sister was experiencing the same turmoil. She was a victim of assault, and elected to engage in activity that only caused further damage to her heart and psyche. I wondered if those suffering in silence were making the same choices she made, and if so, why? Why not let go of the past, and at least strive to be happy? I knew not the situation of my peers, but I refused to believe that their depression was solely a result of their circumstance. I believed they could fight if they wanted to, just like I believed my sister could break her bad habits if she wanted to. Yet this implies that these victims were not fighting, and that they enjoyed being dragged through the mud.
My sister was clearly unhappy. Each choice she made only lead her further into darkness and confusion, but she kept doing what was destroying her. I tried to understand the reasons behind her decision-making, but was unsuccessful. Then one day I thought to myself, “Maybe she’s doing what brings her the smallest satisfaction she believes she can grasp. Maybe this is the only type of ‘happiness’ she will experience.” Perhaps the students in my school felt the same way. Whether it be the perfectionist, the pothead, the talented athlete with no passion for sport, or the binge-eating bully. Perhaps their actions stemmed from a determination to find happiness, or in hope that happiness would find them.
Sadly, my sister is no better off today than she was 9 years ago as a freshman in high school. While she has grown in wisdom, her bitterness remains. She struggles to find the life she wants, and takes the opposite action necessary to fulfill her desires. She wants peace, but resides in chaotic environments. She wants love, but is mean which causes her relationships to fail. Nine years have passed since she fell into depression, and she continues to “self-medicate” in various ways. If no improvements have been made from her efforts yet, my guess is she will surely lead herself further into ruin. At this point, I believe her happiness is unachievable by her own efforts. But where then, lies the key to true peace?