Ben Kochensparger - Grade 9, Centerville High School
Building A Mountain
Being a good person and doing good things results in happiness. Sounds simple enough, but it isn't for some people. I am one of those people. I was diagnosed with depression at eight years old.
Dysthymia (chronic depression that is not caused by a specific event) is one of my defining words. I become sad more often than most people, and sometimes I don't even know why it's happening to me. I get sucked into a spiral of worsening thoughts that can't be stopped unless I stop it myself. I have to think of the good things. And I've heard that so many times from so many people, but I have to remind myself of what happens if I don't pull myself out of my own head. If I get dragged into the spiral of depression, I won't be able to be optimistic about life. My sister's optimism is something that I've always admired, because I know that I could never accomplish that. I have to keep resisting and refuse to give in to the thoughts that are dragging me down.
While I will have to face my chronic depression my entire life, I still have to find the good things. I can find happiness in a set build in the theater program at my high school. I enjoy the feeling of everyone working together as a team to make a great set out of nothing but raw materials and drills and our own hands. We're all helping each other with the same end goal— to build a really cool-looking set that the audience will find entertaining.
Life is a journey, it's not a goal. It's not about achieving absolute happiness, it's about climbing the tallest mountain of life and reaching the peak. When you arrive at the very top, you don't back down to anybody or anything and you don't let the depression make you stumble, because you'll fall down the mountain and you'll have to climb it again.
If we were happy all of the time, then we would never learn anything. Another important factor that we can never forget is that we aren't alone in this world. We're in this together, me and every single person who has depression. Life is not always about being happy, because we can't always be cheerful. It just doesn't work that way, and we have to accept that. Some people will be sad. Others will be sad more often and at more extreme levels than some people.
When the going gets rough, just think of it like a set building session. You do your own part for the team. You build your own mountain with a drill and some screws and you throw down a rope to the people at the bottom and you pull them up. When you escape the spiral and you think about the big picture—working together and helping others, you realize that is how you accomplish a good life.