Mental Wealth: A Teenager Talks About Depression

May 17, 2018

Many students hide depression and at times, they don’t know the signs. Dayton Youth Radio producer Andrew Marrero decided he wanted to explore his struggle with depression and has our essay for today.

My name is Andrew Marrero, and I am a student at Stivers School for the Arts.  Music has been what's driven me my entire life. That's something I want to do. I want to write my own music, I want to produce my own music. I want to make my mark on the world through music.

I grew up in a very loving household with my mom and brother in Dayton. I always kept a lot to myself and never really dealt with emotions and eventually that caught up to me. For a while, I had been dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts. It got to a point where I realized I needed to do something about it. So for me to finally say something, it took a lot.

I woke up on a Monday morning and just couldn’t find it in myself to get up for school. I called my girlfriend and told her that I wasn’t going to school so she would have to find a ride. She’s always been very close to my mom so she texted my mom and asked her to check up on me. In the message she sent, she told my mom that I had been self-harming and about all of the suicidal thoughts I had been having. My thoughts were very specific and gruesome, and when they started becoming extremely frequent, I started to get really scared that I might do something. It wasn’t a fear of the action, but a fear for the consequences. My mom and I talked about it for a bit and made the final decision to go to the hospital.

The process of getting admitted was a very long one. I ended up having to stay the night at a hospital before being transferred to the actual institution itself. Around 1 in the morning security guards came in to transfer me to another room where there could be constant supervision. I was wearing nothing but the hospital gown and had to be escorted all over the hospital with four grown men just standing around me. Not only was it humiliating, but the fact that one of my issues was one that dealt with sexual assault, it made me immensely uncomfortable. My mom stayed the night with me, and I remember threatening my mom a couple times saying that I was just going to leave or that if she didn’t get me out or thatI wouldn’t talk to her ever again.

When the morning came I had to be tranferred to the other place strapped down completely to a stretcher. It was such a horrible, vulnerable feeling. Over the next couple of days I just stayed to myself. Other kids brought in blankets and clothes but I wasn’t going to do that. I stayed in only the things given to me and only used the things given to me. Everyone had an assigned doctor, either male or female. I was unfortunate enough to get the male.

It was Wednesday, my third day, and I was called into his office to talk. I thought, I'm in the hospital so I might as well make good use of it.

We started talking about my home life and my family, and I started really opening up. As I started talking about the problems I was having with my mom, he didn’t really look at me anymore and he stopped taking notes. When I finished talking about how I felt, he looked at me with so much disgust and said “You’re pissing me off."

That immediately threw me off guard so I just questioned him like, “What are you talking about?”

He responded with, “If you ever want to get out of here then you need to show that you’re making an effort, if I can’t see it, then you’re not."

He stood up, opened the door, and told me to leave. I went straight to my room and completely broke down. For a long time, even after I was discharged, that moment stayed in my mind.

Being in a bad state mentally, I think is alot scarier, than having to deal with some doctor who is upset one day. So even though this experience happened to me, I was able to look for other resources, and I was able to keep going through it and that's primarily what I want to get across. Mental illness is a never-ending battle between you and your mind.  The moment you get over your fear that your mental illness is stronger than you, the moment you realize you dictate how you feel. It's the moment a lot of things get better.

Andrew Marrero at Stivers School for the Arts. Special thanks Leslie Rogers and Eva Maksutis of the Creative Writing Magnet. Learn more at the school's website: http://www.stivers.org/ Support for Dayton Youth Radio comes from the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.