Creative Writing: A Life Saver

I’m a two-time published writer—three if you count the my school’s literary magazine. How many high school students can say that? All bragging aside, the real story is in how I got here.

Freshman year. I had plenty of friends—I had been going to Pewaukee schools since first grade—and I had pretty good grades. What did I have to worry about?

But shortly after my fourteenth birthday, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I finally understood the reason behind my mood swings, my anger, and my desire for isolation. My mom thought she could fix me. Prozac, Zolaft, Lexapro…we tried everything. But I felt I was a lost cause.

Sophomore year. The depression got worse. I lost friends, as well as my desire to live. I was suicidal—and a danger to myself. My mom admitted me into a mental hospital on February 1st. After my release, I was absent from school too much. Getting out of bed and facing the world was something I simply couldn’t bring myself to do. My grades slipped.

Everyone knew I was in the hospital. And my peers looked at me like I was dying. Maybe I was.
I was alone. My friends stopped talking to me—they were worried they’d say or do something wrong. Lunches were spent in the guidance office. My grandpa drove me to and from school so I wouldn’t have to take the bus. He tried to cheer me up with his corny jokes—they didn’t help. I was ready to end it.

Junior year. Concerned with my well-being, my mom suggested I try public school. The school of stuck-up rich kids. I didn’t want to go, but I couldn’t leave my family without trying to fix myself—they would never forgive me. So I transferred.

First semester was rough. As an introvert, making friends was hard for me. I kept myself isolated and didn’t talk unless I had to. I struggled with depression. None of the medications worked, and I was preparing myself to give up.

But second semester changed my outlook in a class called “Creative Writing.” When I signed up, I was unaware how big of an impact this class would have. For the majority of the prompts we received, I weaved the way I felt into my writing. It was a way for me to get out the things I kept bottled up. Whenever I wrote, I felt better. And I came to the realization that writing was a way to cope with my depression. I began to write outside of class. Stress? Anger? Sadness? Time to write.

I was finally improving. My grades. My mental state. My writing.

Each piece I wrote was submitted to at least one contest, or somewhere looking to publish ameture writing.

One day, before first hour, I was called down the the office. The secretary handed me an envelope with the school seal on the front. It contained a check for $25 and a certificate, commending me for my excellent writing. The Literary Magazine had chosen to publish one of my poems. It may not have been the biggest accomplishment, but it mattered to me. I was good at something. I had a purpose. And I was happy.

At the end of the year, I got a postcard in the mail. It was from one of the contests I entered. I was being published in a book of poetry printed by a company called Creative Communications. My name, and my work, was in a book. A real book. I was finally proud of myself for something, for the first time in too long.

Senior year. I’ve been off medication for about six months now.

Another publication request from Creative Communications came. I’ve now been published twice.
Although no longer in the Creative Writing class, I’m still writing. All the time.

In my eyes, my life now has purpose.

Going into social work will allow me to help people who are going through what I did. I’m hoping to help them find their equivalent of Creative Writing. I am living proof that things will get better.

I’m happy. I’m proud. I’m alive. Because of Creative Writing.

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