The Stigma of Depression and Suicide by T.W.

My sister is on a search and rescue team in Boulder. Two summers ago she and her crew went to search for a 17-year-old girl who disappeared around Flagstaff. The fire chief told them that the girl’s boyfriend had just broken up with her. Her family said she was on medication  for depression and anxiety. When she didn’t show up for school, her family found a note she left behind. My sister spent hours in the mountains with her crew, looking for the lost girl. They had been briefed for hours about how to deal with someone suffering from depression but they didn’t get a chance. Eventually they found the lost girl. She had jumped off a 100-foot cliff and died instantly. My sister and her partner found her and guided the police to her body.

Every year, more than 150,000 teenagers in the U.S. receive medical help because of self-inflicted injuries, according to the website healthresearchfunding.org. According to statistics from rawhide.org, 5,400 teenagers commit suicide every year, a rate that has tripled since 1960 even though we have more suicide prevention programs than before. Seventeen percent of high school kids in grades 9-12 have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s website cdc.gov, males usually use guns to kill themselves. Females use poison.

The Centers for Disease Control says the risk factors for suicide are a family history of suicide, a history of depression or mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, a stressful life event or loss, easy access to lethal methods like a gun, exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, or being in jail. It also says that the victims are often blamed or their families are blamed and people don’t often want to talk about their problems. Healthresearchfunding.org states that studies show that at least 90% of teenagers who kill themselves have mental problems. So if someone is suffering from a mental issue or going through a tough experience, how do we help them?

A friend of mine started suffering from depression her senior year in high school. Brianna’s always been kind of quiet, but she has a lot of friends. Last fall, she was nervous about going to college, really anxious about being on her own. She took a lot of advanced courses and she started wearing herself out. She gained weight and started hating herself because she couldn’t fit in her clothes. Even though Brianna has nice parents, she started falling apart. She told me she thought about dying a lot because the stress was too much and one day I saw her at the back of the class crying. I found out later that she went to be evaluated that night because she was thinking about suicide. She wasn’t in class for the next month. “All I wanted to do was stay in bed,” she told me. What was strange was that, not even a week before she fell apart she looked fine. She was a social butterfly and I’d always see her in the hallways talking to a bunch of girls. I never would have thought she’d be so depressed. She told me she was too embarrassed to tell people how much she hated herself for not being able to keep up in math class, and how much weight she’d gained over the semester. She said she was scared she would fail in college. Now she’s seeing a therapist and she’s on meds for depression.   

I think the best thing we could do for people is be a friend. I think social media makes us feel more alone and we don’t get relationships from following someone on facebook. I ask my friends how they’re doing and I listen to people. I think if people listened to their friends and actually take the time to like be a friend that someone who’s depressed would explain what’s going on. I think the expectations of our culture put so much pressure on people my age. The girls all think they have to look a certain way and guys think they have to dress cool every day. Everybody is so self conscious and the think worse of themselves than they really are. We need to encourage and support each other, stop judging and realize that friendship is important not just because it’s fun to have friends but because we need to communicate and know that other people are going through problems too and we can support each other no matter what is going on.

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Fading by B.F.

 

Fades into a girl named ALI about age 22 sitting down with her knees clutched to her chest and her head buried in her hands. Its very easy to tell that she is crying. The lighting is fairly dark with some blue light shining in from a window down the hall. She looks up to the ceiling.

ALI

<sighs>

 

Scene fades into a sunny Autumn day. Camera is about at the height of a child’s head. Scene is slightly blurry to show it’s a flashback. There are tons of leaves on the ground of different vibrant colors ranging from bright red to blazing yellow. Two giant oak tree frame the picture in the background while 3 people slowly walk diagonally towards the left of the camera. The two people on the outsides are two adults(ALIs parents), one male and one female, however due to the camera angle you only see them from the waist down. In between them is ALI as a small girl about age 5, jumping in the air while the adults hold her hands. Their talking is lightly muffled.

 

YOUNG ALI

Higher, Higher!

 


DAD

You want to fly?

 

DAD picks up YOUNG ALI and spins her around his head

 

YOUNG ALI
Weeeeeeeeeeee!

<child’s laugh>

 

Picture freezes and starts to cloud up. Child’s laughter is still in the background but is slowly fading away. Scene fades to the bathroom. ALI is standing in front of the mirror, camera is behind ALI looking into the mirror as well. Though she has stopped crying you still see the makeup that has streamed down her face with her crying. Suddenly she gets really angry and punches the mirror. Before the fist hits, the camera switches to being parallel to the mirror. The fist hits the mirror and mirror shatters. Blood starts coming out of her hand as she hunches over the sink, out of breath. The camera starts fading into another flashback. YOUNGALI2 about age 7 is sitting in a dark room next to an open doorway.  In her hand she’s holding a flashlight and a book.. Through the doorway you can see light streaming through as well as the blurred images of ALI’s parents. MOM and DAD are both arguing.

 

MOM(muffled)
HOW COULD YOU CHEAT ON ME?!

 

DAD(muffled)
WELL MAYBE IF YOU SHOWED A BIT MORE LOVE IN THIS RELATIONSHIP, I WOULDN’T HAVE TO!

 

MOM(muffled)
I”VE HAD ENOUGH. GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, AND OUT OF MY LIFE!

 

YOUNGALI2 buries her face in the book she’s reading and starts crying. Camera transitions into a scene where YOUNGALI2 is lying in her bed facing away from MOM. MOM is sitting on the edge of the bed trying to comfort YOUNGALI2. YOUNGAALI2 refuses to face her.

 

MOM

Honey, I know you’re upset about what is going on, but sometimes these things happen in life,

YOUNGALI2
<silent>

 

MOM

Mommy and Daddy just dont love each other anymore, and that’s why we have to be apart from each other. I know you dont like it, but we have to try our best to move on.

YOUNGALI2

<silent>

MOM

Can I have a hug?

 

YOUNGALI2 turns around and collapses into MOM’s embrace. You hear the muffled sound of crying as MOM comforts YOUNGALI2.

 

MOM
Everything is going to be alright!.

 

Fades back into present time. ALI is walking down the street in the rain when a MUGGER appears and pulls out a switchblade. ALI sighs and hands him her purse, and continues walking. MUGGER looks surprised at how easy it was, and sprints away. Down the street aways he ducks into an ally. ALI sighs again and looks downcast. Fades into another flashback. YOUNGALI3 is sitting on the floor watching TV in a grungy old apartment. YOUNGALI3 is about 13 years old. You hear DAD call from the other room. He’s obviously drunk.

 

 

DAD<yells>

ALI, GET IN HERE!

 

YOUNGALI3 rushes into the room and sees her dad. He’s sitting at the table clutching a bottle of vodka. His hair is all rumpled up and in general he’s a total mess.

 

DAD
D-dance fur me, sugarplum.!

 

YOUNGALI3 starts to back away with a terrified look on her face. DAD sees this and starts to get mad. He stands up and chucks the vodka bottle at her feet. It shatters all over the floor.

 

DAD
DAMMIT ALI, I SAID DANCE!

 

YOUNGALI3 starts to dance pretty badly as her feet get cut up by the shattered glass. You can see tears coming down her face as she tries not to cry. DAD looks satisfied and sits down.

 

DAD

Thas-is a good girl!

 

As DAD is finishing up the word girl he clenches his stomach and collapses onto the floor. YOUNGALI3 rushes to his side as he mumbles.

 

DAD

Call an ambulance!

 

YOUNGALI3 rushes over to the phone. Scene fades into a rainy day in a cemetery. YOUNGALI3 is standing over the grave of her father and sets down a single rose. She then walks away. Scene fades back into present time. ALI enters her house, locks the door and turns around to see EX sitting in a chair. ALI gets really scared.

 


EX

Hey, there baby doll.

ALI<terrified>

What are you doing here, why are you here?

 

 

EX
You ran away from me so I came looking for you! We cant have you running away like that now can we.

 

ALI
GET AWAY FROM ME. I DONT WANT YOU IN MY LIFE.

 

EX stands up out of his chair and walks towards ALI. She tries backing away but gets trapped in a corner. EX walks up to her and sizes her up. ALI tries to run away but EX pulls her chin towards him.

 

EX
Now thats no way to talk to your boyfriend, now give me a kiss.

 

EX leans in to try and kiss her but she slaps him and tries to run away. EX gets mad and tackles her. EX pins her down and leans in close.

 

EX
Im gonna make you wish you didnt do that.

 

Camera fades to a scene behind ALI’s shoulder. She picks up one of the broken mirror shards and looks at herself in it. In the reflection you see she has a black eye and bruises on her face and neck. Her hair is extremely messed up. She stands up and walks over to her key rack. She grabs her keys and heads out into her garage. She grabs a vacuum hose and hooks one end to her car’s exhaust pipe and puts the other in the slightly cracked car window. She gets into her car and closes her eyes. Suddenly the entire film up to this point plays really fast as a flashback in about 3 seconds. She opens her eyes and sighs as she reaches for her car keys. The screen goes black as you hear the car start.