Growing up I always had the incredible support from my family. My mom and dad never spared the praise whenever I would do something—no matter how small. We went on tons of family vacations and spent time together: on the lake, camping, at Six Flags, or even just playing Frisbee across the street at the park. It was always a fun adventure and my little sister and I never lacked support. We were always encouraged to do well and succeed. We were promised that, no matter what, we would have their undying love. My family life seemed like a perfect little bubble until my parents divorced.
I was 12 when my parents started fighting, and instead of fighting in front of us they kept it private; or at least that’s how it was supposed to be. My dad leaned on me for support and told me all the details of every fight and every argument and claimed (untruthfully) that my mom was having an affair and even told me that I had to help him save his marriage.
I was 13 and keeping a secret from my little sister and trying to carry the weight of my entire family on my own shoulders, and by the time I was in 8th grade they were divorced.
I know now how ridiculous this is, but at the time I felt like it was all my fault since I was supposed to help my dad save their relationship. I stopped focusing in class and started acting out. I bad-mouthed the teachers, I talked back to their faces, I was horribly mean to the girls who had picked on me before, and my grades even started to slip.
Ironically, since I had always been such a good student no one ever wrote me up. There was never a call home, there was never detention, not even a note to my parents. Half the time my teachers let me redo assignments or just dropped the grade since they knew I was smart. But this was the downfall since no one ever saw my obvious cry for help.
I was in a deep depression that was causing my health to suffer– taking care of the house at dad’s house and at mom’s while my parents were too emotionally chaotic to handle it on their own. I was too young to know how much this situation affected me and too afraid to ask for help because if I did I felt like it would all unravel.
My depression was getting worse to the point where I honestly thought death would be a relief from what I was feeling. I was being a jerk, acting out, and being the smart-mouth in class and no one connected the dots. That is, until one day after class my English teacher told me to stay after and she asked me one simple question:
“Are you okay?”
I burst into tears and could barely say what was bothering me, but she made it out enough to call home and request I see a therapist. I was able to find the help I needed.
I will never forget this amazing teacher and I will always be grateful for her. It was because of her that I found help and eventually worked through these issues. And even though things are still rocky and I continuously work to maintain my mental health, I will always remember this one caring teacher.
This is why when I met Matt Boisvert and Rachel Phillips-Buck and learned of their mission at Pharos Resources, I felt called to contribute to Pharos’ mission.