mental health

Skeletons - My Current Thoughts On Young Adult Suicide and Mental Health

Earlier this week I attended a memorial for my friend's brother. He was 23.

Two days ago I learned that a classmate passed away. He was 21. 

Both lost their battle with mental health.

 

My mind is in all sorts of places right now and I'm not exactly sure how to explain it. I felt like a stranger sitting at the memorial for my friend's brother, as I didn't really ever know him and was more in attendance to show love and support for her. I didn't cry and yes, I was sympathetic, but I otherwise I felt like a stranger who wasn't supposed to be there.

When I learned of my classmate though, my reaction was different and his passing was much more effective on my heart than I could've imagined. Yes, we were friends, but we never really hung out with each other. We were more like friends from afar. He kept up with my life and I kept up with his via social media but other than that we never really talked.

My heart hurt though, much more than I could've ever planned for. I could actually feel the heaviness of my heart.

Perhaps it was because I kept up to date on his life - the achievements, the wonders, the art. Or perhaps it was because his passing was so sudden and so unexpected. 

Mental health is something that we seem not to talk about, but very much know it exists. Like a great big secret that could destroy the family if it were to be let out. But it's not a secret because it's very much real and very much dangerous.

Through all of this, I couldn't find the words to explain my thoughts and feelings on young suicide and mental health; so I wrote a screenplay that hopefully conveys those feelings. I have no plans to revise this nor incorporate it into any current projects. This draft serves solely as a statement of where my mind is.

Read it here: Skeletons Draft

 

My Biggest "What If" Play

today the class of 2018 at dupont manual high school graduated. today, i watched another class of brilliant minds walk across the stage, receive a diploma, and be inducted to the crimson alumni. and i am so happy for them.

in 2016, i watched another class, my class, walk across the stage and receive a diploma from the "top school in kentucky." i knew their faces, i knew their names, and i knew their brilliance. and i was so happy as i watched my classmates walk across the stage radiating their greatness. 

i remember those months in eight grade frantically applying and anxiously waiting to hear if you had been accepted into high school. that sounds so strange, to have to apply to high school, but that's what we did. and i remember coming home and receiving a letter with red and black confetti inside. and i remember being so ecstatic to be accepted into the best school in kentucky, because it meant that you were going to get into a great college and be successful because you went to dupont manual high school. at least that's what they always told us. and once you received your letter, you still anxiously waited for your friends to receive theirs and celebrated when they did or cried when they didn't. but in all honestly, it probably would've been better just to have been rejected because then i would have gotten over it by now.

in 2014 after finishing my sophomore year of high school, i made a quiet and silent exit from dupont manual to st. francis school where i would complete my high school education. i told few people about my leaving and throughout junior year to even moments after their graduation, people asked if i still went there. (note: st. francis was fantastic, it was the right and best choice to be made.)

dupont manual high school was the first and is still one of the largest triggers of all of my mental illnesses and i transferred for the betterment of my physical and mental health. dupont manual high school was the darkest time of my life as of today, and yet it is still my biggest "what if" play. 

i believe it exists as my biggest "what if" because i have this unyielding longing to have "dupont manual high school" printed on my diploma, which is frankly absurd because all associations with the dupont name did not apply to me. i was not the top of my class. i did not score a 30 or above on the act. i was not winning awards or titles for my school. there are many students who do not fit into these brackets either, but while enrolled, it felt like my core responsibility to uphold the esteemed recognition of the dupont name. i had to be great

perhaps it's because louisville does this weird thing where when you meet someone you ask what school they went to - not college, high school because it matters for some reason. and when i tell people i graduated from st. francis they nod and tell me that they've heard of it and that it's a good school. but it's not manual; they know what manual is.

i guess the point of this is that i'm angry and i'm upset and i'm frustrated and i don't know why i am all of those things. i am still stuck and i've been stuck on the "what if i hadn't left manual" for 4 years and it's just getting exhausting. doing poorly at manual made me feel like a failure but somehow leaving and excelling at st. francis makes me feel like an even larger failure. i didn't graduate from the "top school in kentucky." i couldn't make it through; i wouldn't have made it through. 

it makes me so mad because in everything i do i am a perfectionist. it has to be great. but great can be toxic so i'm trying to practice "good enough." it is good enough. and yet here i am writing this long and drudging post because it is stuck in my brain that i was not good enough to graduate from manual. i keep telling myself that the only way to move forward is to accept and forgive so that i can start to heal. there's no way in my heart that i can forgive dupont manual high school for how its affected me, nor should i have to forgive them. so maybe its myself that i need to forgive, but i just don't know how to do that. right now it'll just have to exist as my biggest "what if" and the only thing i can do is deal with it.

"You Cant Love Someone Else Until You Love Yourself" is Bullshit.

there's a saying that states "you can't love someone else until you love yourself." I call bullshit. 

if i've loved myself for a while, then why am i still single? don't worry, this isn't a petty post. instead of "you can't love someone until you love yourself" i propose "you can't love someone else until you understand yourself."

in today's day and age, many relationships fail and this statement is used as an easy scapegoat. does that make it wrong? of course not. but i believe it is something much more complex than the lack of self love. 

at the end of may last year, i walked out of my college's doors with no intention to go back. for a multitude of reasons (which i will not get into) i had the realization that college was not the best environment for me. though i had done some previously, i've spent this past year working endlessly to learn more about myself and the sources that my problems incite from. as a filmmaker, i've learned that there is always a reason behind a character's actions. this translates to reality as well. there is always a reason why a person does what they do, says what they say, and feels what they feel. i wouldn't necessarily say i've been soul-searching because that implies at one point my soul was lost and needed to be found. i've always known where my soul is. i just didn't know who it was. that sounds crazy, i know, but bear with me. perhaps call it "soul-dating" for lack of a better term.

at the beginning, all i knew was that my mental health was not great. and through following my path of triggers and then expanding from those, i was able to deduce that the main source revolves around my relationships. at the core of almost everything, i almost always came back to friendships: things that have been beaten, torn, forgotten, and abandoned. 

it is through this "soul-dating" that i have been able to understand the causes of my depression, my anxiety, and my inability to trust. but of all of these, absolutely the most important thing i've been able to learn is the way someone can tell me that they love me.

so back to the main idea: "you can't love someone until you understand yourself." from the relationships i've had and the relationships i've witnessed, there is almost nothing more frustrating than someone repeatedly asking "how can i help?" and you can't give them an answer because you don't know what you need. it's like when you go to a job interview and they ask you where you see yourself in 5 years and you don't know where you see yourself next week. because of my journey, i now have answers to all those questions. well, maybe not all of them.

to anyone who has the time, i definitely encourage for you to go on a date or two with your soul. not only now do i know who it is, but i am at a much more peaceful state knowing how i can combat the harsh, avoid the worst, and embrace the good.

 

separate, specific posts will be made in the future about my "soul-dating"