My daughter knows the three D's to avoid when writing a college essay: death, divorce, and disease, however, she wrote this based on the following prompts and I am confident she made her point without being morose.
College Essay prompts
1. If there has been some obstacle or "bump in the road," in your academic or personal life, please explain the circumstances.
2. How has your family history, culture, or environment influenced you?
The word depression has a connotation like no other. Depression can halt a room filled with thousands of smiling faces. It isn’t something easy to deal with. Depression is life altering.
My brother was diagnosed with depression when he was fourteen. In addition to depression he suffers from psychosis, and severe anxiety. It was something I had to work and live with. It was my "bump in the road." I remember thinking there wasn’t an, “if my brother would die,” it was a when. There was a knowing feeling that one day, we wouldn’t save him, and we wouldn’t get to him before death struck.
Matthew, my brother, was sent away to a help center in Utah where he received treatment for his illness. Visiting him was dark. He’d seem fine, and then I would say something or he could feel uncomfortable and like a match, his illness would spark. The progress my brother made in his time away was immense. His homecoming was nerve-wracking, but also miraculous. His being sick caused a major "bump" in my grades during my sophomore year. It took an emotional toll on me and my family.
Despite this, his illness taught me and my family more about life than anything in the world. It has influenced our lives forever. While visiting Matthew in Utah, I heard horrific stories from teens my age. I heard people’s desperate cries for help. It opened my eyes that there are bigger issues in this world. I learned to be sympathetic. I learned never to judge someone. I learned that flashing a smile or lending a hand can make all the difference in the world. My perspective on all things has changed.
My brother has overcome his illness. It will never go away, he will always have to make some hospital visits, and check himself back into reality, but he has lived through his pain and he is such an amazing example for me and any other teenager struggling with depression. My brother is my hero. I now know that he is strong, and smart, and there’s no “if” anymore. There are only wills. He will live. He will succeed, and he will be happy.
(names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals)
Having a child in your family with an illness is very difficult for the parents, but we must not forget about the siblings. Your other children are affected, more than you know, by what is going on in their household with their brother or sister. Do not forget about them. They need support and help from you and professionals.