There’s something about growing up in a strict home that leaves you unprepared for the rest of the world. I don’t know about others, but I’ve always believed my social awkwardness and tendency to be seclusive are results of growing up alone.
When I say I grew up alone, I don’t mean I was orphaned or an only child. Far from it. I have a robust family of seven. As a child, I was sheltered to the point of paranoia. I couldn’t compete except on intellectual ground, I couldn’t keep friends, and I couldn’t develop hobbies that didn’t steer towards a career in medicine.
At 20, I was already in college and questioning a lot of things my family believed to be right. A few months before my Internship semester, I got the news that my aunt had died.
The Darkest Points In My Life
It was a very low period for me. Aunt Emma had been the closest thing to a friend that I could boast of. Anytime we spoke, the 13 years between us just seemed to fade away.
I spent the six-month duration of my internship in depression. The world seemed bleak and without colours. I had no friends that I didn’t have to pretend around, and all I wanted was to be alone. By myself. I stopped speaking with my family because they only seemed to judge everything I did.
At some point, I started to smoke and get high just so I could avoid being conscious of my depression. I got suicidal thoughts, and although I never put them into action, it was scary waking up some mornings to find that I had written a suicide note at night while I had no memory of it.
After my internship, I resumed my final year of college with disinterest. I didn’t know it was the year everything would change for me.
The Friend Who Healed Me
I met a friend one day. I was meeting Davis for the first time, although we had been friends for years on Facebook. It was a pleasant sit-out, but just as he was about to return to his town (A two-hour drive), all hell broke loose. He complained of excruciating pains and it was so intense that he began to convulse. I took him to the hospital and it was there I found out he had gone into sudden cardiac arrest.
It broke my heart to see a charming young man in such pain and I couldn’t leave his side throughout the week he spent at the hospital.
Davis healed me. At least, I think so.
The Lessons I Learned
What changed me was the experience of coming out of myself long enough to see that everything didn’t always have to be about me. I learned patience, tolerance, and empathy, just by spending time around him and others in the hospital. I learned selflessness and it changed me.
With less time to think about all the ways I was losing, I began to find out ways to win; sometimes, ways to help others win. I realized that I needed people as much as they needed me. And in the months after that, I opened myself up to beautiful friendships.
I find myself being a support for people who are depressed, and I no longer have so much animosity in my heart. The lighter I felt, the easier it was for me to connect with my spiritual side and even get closer to God. I still have some way to go, but I know I’m beyond the darkness and what got me out is giving myself to others; people who needed a light.
The trick to finding oneself is giving oneself. The realisation of how much you can do to bring change to others’ lives is a great motivation. I know now that no matter how low one is, it’s always possible to chart an upward course.
This story was selflessly submitted anonymously.
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