Johanny Suriel, an 8th grade scholar at our Sarah D. Ottiwell Campus, wrote the following essay for the Fourth Annual Frederick Douglass Public Speaking Competition.
Trigger Warning: This speech contains very serious and possibly triggering topics such as addiction, blood, self harm, and suicide.
You see the funny thing about depression is it doesn’t choose who you are, you can be rich in a perfect family or can be poor in a terrible one. The funny thing about depression is that it seems to lead to Self-Harm which then seems to lead to an addiction. People say that when you Self-Harm if they don’t see it on your wrists then it’s nothing to worry about. But you see whether it’s on your wrists or not it is real, no matter what somebody will tell you. People will tell you that if it’s not deep enough if you are not covered in blood after, if the blood isn’t dripping on the floor then it’s not something to worry about. But what people don’t realize is that the reason we self harm is because that physical pain is greater than the emotional. That physical pain is what fixes your emotions and that damn feeling is what becomes the addiction. And that addiction is what runs your life. After you have self harmed for more than a week you’re already addicted, whether you feel depressed or not you self harm anyway. Addiction doesn’t care what you do to yourself.
Depression doesn’t care what it does to you. Depression is something that is there to ruin you, something that is there to test you. But the sad thing is most people in the end lose to depression. But when people make fun of others for self harming, what they don’t realize that it’s a way of surviving, it’s the way that we don’t kill ourselves. And whether or not it draws enough blood it is a problem. But you see either way you look at it you’re being controlled. And that’s the funny thing about depression, self-harm, and addiction. You don’t control them. They control you.
An impactful example of a suicide case is that of the death of Dazharria Quint: She died at the age of 18, on February 9th and was found dead in her closet. Dazharria had hung herself. Before she committed suicide, she was going through a lot of things, like trying to keep her mom from doing drugs, also had a complicated relationship with her mom, and she didn’t meet her father until she was in her teens. Everyone could judge the situation but they don’t know what she really felt inside. Depression and thoughts of suicide happens to a lot of teenagers in this generation, the cause of this is lack of attention from parents, having to the grow up fast because your parents are always at work and having to be the parent for your younger siblings. Most of these thoughts are bottled up by these teenagers because they don’t want anyone to see the vulnerable side of them. Dazharria’s father wished his daughter could have talked to him about her stress and the thoughts of suicide.
The rate of suicide has increased since 2018-2023 and the age group that is mostly affected is people from ages of 10-24 years old. Symptoms of depression are hopelessness, lack of interest or pleasure in activities you usually find engaging, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, and anxiety. If your friends are feeling this way, check on them, communicate with them, give them advice, and if it ever gets serious inform an adult. If you yourself are ever feeling suicidal or having any type of self-harming thoughts call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK and if you need support through text dial 741741. You are not alone! You matter! You are loved and cared for! You are ALWAYS gonna be enough!