One Life

By Alexander Kovarovic • April 1, 2017

What’s wrong with me? It’s something every teenager wonders from time to time throughout their life. Most people just say “nothing” or “you're perfect just the way you are” when asked that question. Well yes that is true, you are perfect just the way you are, but does hearing that really help you feel better about yourself? No it doesn't. Hearing things like “it'll get better” or “you'll be okay” are nice to hear but it can get very annoying especially when things are only getting worse. People are just trying to help you, but in reality if you could just “be happy” wouldn't you? Ahh, that word. “Happiness.” What does it mean? Many people wonder the same thing. Happiness could be a puppy, or a new Mustang, or even dating the girl you've had a crush on forever. However to me, happiness means something completely different. Happiness to me is very simple. Its getting through the day as best as I can. Because for some people, making it thro! ugh the day is a huge accomplishment all on its own.

Childhood. To some people that's a very special word that shows a time of innocence. However to others like me, it's something you strive to rid your brain from. Here’s a little story about mine:

“I don't care.” Hurtful isn't it? I grew up hearing that and feeling that way quite a bit. Growing up with a depressed mom, not knowing what day abuse would occur in my home. Not knowing what day I’d cry in my room, just praying for help to get my mind off of how much I hated myself. My dad tried to help. But it didn’t always come across the right way, I didn't really matter to them as much as I should have, but it’s okay. You think you're lonely because your friend is busy and can't hang out tonight? Try being lonely everyday. Loneliness is sitting in your room all day. No one texting you. No one seeing you. No one calling you. Nothing. Besides school, you have almost no contact with the outside world. Friends were never allowed in my house. In 18 years I had friends over once. One time in tenth grade. But “don’t worry it will get better.” It didn't get better, it got worse actually. Middle school was no different than grade school, so I won't go into detail.

The constant demeaning, verbal abuse had finally gotten to me in high school. I was screamed at all day and all night at home. I would get up in the morning usually after two or three hours of sleep and have to get ready for school. I tried my very best to not sleep during class but it got very hard to deal with all the stress. Teachers do a lot of work. Kids give them a lot of crap, but most of them do the very best they can. But a lot of teachers just don't get it. They don't understand the stresses of a teenager nowadays. Many days I went home and with all the yelling between my parents, I could rarely ever focus on my school work. So the next day the work wouldn't be done so I started getting a lot of failing grades. So now my grades are really starting to suffer. Teachers start getting mad and ask where the work is. I’d just say “I'm sorry I forgot” because I was too embarrassed to tell the truth of why it wasn't done. How could I tell my teacher? Would they eve! n understand or care? Now tests become harder and harder, teachers keep pressuring me for work, home is getting worse. I'm becoming so depressed, that I truly had no energy to even sit down to do a math problem. Teachers and friends thought I was just lazy but in reality I seriously couldn’t do my work. I tried almost every day to just get something down on my paper, but I just couldn’t do it. I had trouble doing my homework, and practicing my trumpet, and going to sports practices and eventually even getting out of bed was a serious struggle for me. But what can I do? Nothing. I'm just a kid. Why do I have to deal with all of this? What did I do to deserve this? Eleventh grade ends, I barely passed.

I started twelfth grade with a positive attitude. That quickly changed. My mom started getting more depressed. Many times during my senior year, I walked into my house with police officers, firefighters, and EMTs. I tried figuring out why she would do this. She never really said much. Usually just made comments that would make me feel awful and guilty. That really hurt. The relationship between my parents started to sever. They began fighting a lot and one day it went over the line, and my dad left. But he took me with him. We went to my aunt's house which was an hour away. I stayed there until June. I had to wake up hours earlier to travel to school every day. I had to leave everything. All of my belongings, all my friends, everything. I finally went over the edge and couldn't take it anymore. It really was a horrible senior year for me. I had almost no friends, no support at home, and not much love from anyone. Some people just didn't get it and some really just didn't car! e. It’s hard sometimes for people to understand what’s going on, especially when they have been through no emotional trauma in their lives.

Then it all happened. The day that changed my life. April 10th, 2016 at 7:47am. I woke up to multiple police officers banging on my door. I looked out the window and multiple police cars were in front of my house. Why? Well I had become very depressed and suicidal and I had planned on ending my life that day. I sent my guidance counselor at school an email explaining everything, I expected to be gone before she read it. Well for some reason I slept in that day. Honestly, that saved my life. As soon as I woke up, police were there to take me to the emergency room. I then spent over fifteen days in a hospital trying to get better. I had a lot of trouble speaking how I felt and being there was really torturous for me. When I left the hospital, I was worse. I had started to self harm, pretty badly. It released the emotional pain I was being put through. I started to see a therapist. I love her, she's the best. Life got a little bit better.

My stay at the hospital wasn’t totally bad though. As I stated before, I wasn’t used to having someone by my side. I met someone who I became very close to. She quickly changed my life around. She probably doesn't even realize how much she's impacted my life. She gave me something I never had. Love and friendship. She's been there through everything and I'm very lucky for that. Some people don't get to have that. It's nice knowing someone loves you just because you're you. I can honestly say, in my eighteen years of life, she is best person I have ever met. It’s amazing how one person can turn your life around. Did it hurt to go through so many uncaring friends and heartbreak? Of course it did, but it was all worth it to get to this point.

She is still my best friend to this day. And that makes me very lucky. But people leave. Its sad, but it happens all the time. Many people promised not to leave but they did. In eighteen years, one person has stuck by my side through it all, and hundreds have left. But remember, one is plenty enough. It's quality not quantity. Being popular really means nothing in school. People considered me popular but what does it matter? They weren't real friends, they all left. Having one true friend means everything.

My parents were in the process of divorcing now and that was tough to go through, while trying to finish your senior year and graduation. But I did fight through it and I passed all my classes and graduated with actually not bad grades. I’ve messed up a lot of relationships in my life. I was always so tired, and depressed, and lonely that when someone tried entering my life I’d push them away in fear of being rejected. It's tough but I started letting people in and it feels like such a huge accomplishment. Unfortunately, that ended up being a very large mistake.

One thing I've struggled a lot with was insecurities. Everyone is insecure in some form. Maybe you don't like your body, or your voice, maybe you have bad acne, or you just don't like yourself. Everyone is insecure, but some people like me, are insecure about everything to do with themselves. But really, why? You are perfect just the way you are. No one should ever change you, and if they try then exclude them from your life, because they aren't worth it. What you need to do is then find someone who loves you for you and that's it. Don't change because a guy said to, only change because YOU want to, only you can make decisions on yourself. And to all the girls out there:

You're perfect just the way you are. I’m tired of seeing girls change the way they look and act just because their boyfriend said to. If you have a boyfriend, he better treat you the way you deserve to be treated. And if he tries to change the person you are, then he isn't the one for you. If you like music, listen to it. If you like reading, find a great book. If you like soccer, become the star player. Don't let any guy dictate what you do and where you can go. I see so many girls getting controlled by their boyfriends and it isn't right. Date someone who loves you the way you are. Someone who loves all of your flaws and insecurities. You want someone to like you the way you are, not because they changed you to what they wanted you to be. Sometimes we get ourselves into relationships that are hard to get out of, you feel so attached to them, and you feel like if you weren't dating them, your life would end. Trust me, I recently went through this. But the truth is, it won't end because you're stronger than this. It will be tough to move on, but you have to realize that you're worth more than how he or she is treating you. Think about this. It's going to seriously feel awful when you have to end the relationship, BUT how will you feel when you have someone who treats you right, doesn't cheat, and loves you, just you? Amazing right? So why are you with him if all he does is bring you down? I hate to say it, but if he really loved you, he wouldn't cheat, abuse you, and make you upset. Real men would never hurt the girl they're with. So to every single teenage girl out there, remember this. Letting go is hard, but sometimes it is a necessity to live a safe, happy life. You're perfect the way you are so don't change. Be in a safe, and caring relationship with someone that only loves you. And remember if you are being abused and can’t find a way out, call the abuse hotline or your local police non-emergency number for help. People will help you. Then you will be able to move on and be happy. We all deserve love and we all deserve to be treated with respect, just make sure you're with the person that does that. And if you are with an abusive boyfriend or girlfriend then maybe you need to second guess your relationship. The saddest thing to see is an amazing girl getting abused by her boyfriend because she feels that’s all she deserves. NO ONE deserves abuse, you deserve love like everyone else. We all make mistakes, it’s what makes us human. Don’t let your mistakes define you. Learn from them, grow from them, and most importantly, learn to love yourself. It’s hard, trust me I know. But remember, you were perfect before he came into your life and made you feel that way. Do not let a guy dictate your happiness. Only you get to be in control of that. No guy is worth going through abuse for, and remember not all guys are the same. Some of us out there only care about the wellbeing of others and would never let a girl get hurt. I’m one of those people. There's nothing! I hate more, than seeing a guy abuse his girlfriend. Just keep all of this in mind the next time you date someone. And remember “Don’t change so people will like you, be yourself and the right people will love the real you”. You're perfect just the way you are. Don’t forget that.

One day, I was on facebook and I noticed this girls’ status. I knew she had a boyfriend, but I began seeing multiple facebook statuses a day from her. She was posting very depressing things about feeling lonely, and losing the one she loved. It honestly started breaking my heart so I started commenting on some of her statuses asking if she was okay and telling her that if she needed someone, I was always there. I didn't know her, but I do the best I can to be there for everyone. One day, the statuses made me so heartbroken that I decided to message her. We ended up talking for a pretty long time, and she had opened up to me a lot. Her boyfriend had cheated on her in a substantial way and it made me very angry. This girl had everything going for her. She’s talented, smart, very kind, beautiful, and loving. And it just didn't make any sense to me. You have literally an amazing person that's right by your side, but you still choose to cheat. She loved you more than anything, she gave you her all, and you returned the favor by going with another girl to cheat. You left her heart in pieces but soon you will realize what you lost. You lost the best thing that's ever happened to you. Bottom line is, don't lead them on making them feel loved just to cheat. There is never a good reason to cheat. Missing them is not an excuse, feeling lonely is not an excuse, needing more attention is not an excuse. If you feel that way then talk to your boyfriend/girlfriend. Tell them how you're feeling. Don't ever leave a girl feeling like she's not good enough, because that's the worst feeling you could give a girl. If he does cheat, don't ask yourself “whats wrong with me?” or “why wasn't I good enough?”. You're beyond good enough, you're way more than amazing and if he doesn't see that, then pick yourself back up and find someone who treats you right. There are people out there that will treat you right. I know it's hard to move on, and it might take a while, but you will. As much as you think you'll never find someone else, you will, I promise.

As fun and excited as dating can be, nothing can beat a good, solid friendship. Have friends you can be yourself around, those are the most healthiest relationships to have. Although insecurities are not something to stress over, sometimes you are made fun of for them. Its awful. Bullying is not okay at all. As bad as bullying is, people that stand by and just watch are just as bad as the bully. I’ve lost many people to suicide because of bullying. It’s sad that you can bully someone so much, that it causes them to want to take their own life. Bullying is disgusting, and instead of being mean, try being nice to someone who is getting bullied. Be their friend. That way both of you will feel better about yourselves. Don't bully. Instead speak out against it. And remember, don't be just a bystander. My high school english teacher used quotes on a daily basis and i’ve really grown to love them as well. Here is one of my all time favorites: “Pulling someone down will never help you reach the top” -Anonymous. I want to share something that I really like, it’s a really good example. “If you break a plate on the floor then say sorry, does the plate go back to how it was before? Or does it stay broken?”

Words hurt. Saying sorry can mend a problem, but it’s not going to fix bullying. You never know what happens behind closed doors. The kid you're bullying and tormenting may be going through a lot and you're only making it worse for them. The very thing you bully them for maybe the reason they're so insecure and it may be the reason they are up crying every night. Bullying, belittling and harassment is not acceptable, ever. How would you feel if the person you constantly bullied took their own life? How would it feel to bully someone so much to the point where they cannot take it anymore? You’d feel like an awful person wouldn't you?

But, bullying is not the only issue among teens. I see so many people in toxic relationships and I ask myself “why?”. Why are you dating them if all they do is hurt you? I understand you love them and maybe you don't know how to leave, but you should never be with someone who doesn't treat you right. If they abuse you in anyway, leave them, just leave. No person should be treated badly. No one deserves it. I know it can be hard to leave a toxic relationship, so if you are getting abused please reach out and get help. Whether your parent is abusing you or whether it’s your boyfriend, it is still abuse and you don't deserve that from them. You deserve the absolute best and remember, you are ALWAYS worth more than how you feel. Don't date someone just because you feel that’s all you deserve because it isn't. You deserve the best.

It’s sad. Its sad that some people feel the only way to end their pain is to end their life. I’ve been through it all and I've still made it. I can relate to many situations, some of which I decided to not share in this story. Suicide is never the answer. As many times as you may hear it, it’s true. Take it from someone who knows, you are always stronger than the pain you're enduring. You won't know what an amazing life you might have if you give up too soon. Everyone is beautiful and amazing in their own way and every single person matters. I say to keep fighting and to stop harming yourself. I know how hard it is to stop, trust me, but it'll feel amazing when you are able to. Just take slow steps. You'll get there. No one knows this but last week a girl came to me and asked for help. I didn't really know her but I talked to her. And before she went to bed she stated to me “thank you Alex, I was planning on not making it till tomorrow, you honestly saved my life, no one has ever just listened to me before without judging me and you have no idea how much that means to me”. Back in May, if I succeeded in taking my own life like I wanted to and tried to, then who would have been there to help her?

I understand it’s tough. The hardest part of my depression was the loneliness. No one was ever there for me. My family didn't understand what was going on with me and they would get very angry with me. My friends all got sick of me and would leave, even after they promised never to do that. I’ve learned over the years that just because someone states they'll never leave you, doesn't mean they won't. But that's okay. If they decide you aren't worthy of their time then that’s their loss. You're being the best person you can be and eventually someone will come along and see how amazing and how strong of a person you are.

I felt inspired. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to get stronger. I began wanting to help people. I wanted to prevent people from feeling how I've felt. If I could help just one person, then it’s worth it. I starting training to be a volunteer firefighter, and an EMT and I have been responsible for making people’s lives better. I love helping people, being able to make someone smile is amazing to me. Like I said, I still have bad days, but everyone does from time to time. Pain sucks, but if you try hard enough, you can overcome it. No pain is worth your life, your life's way more precious than you may believe it is.

So, where am I now? Good question. I’m actually happy in my life, I have some road blocks but I will get through them. I still don't really have a lot of people in my life, but I still have my best friend, and that's all that matters. Life truly does get better, even in your darkest days, it will get better. I’m now a New York State volunteer firefighter and I'm going through EMT training now. It's really hard work, but getting the chance to save a life is so worth it. I’m actually really proud of myself. I’m now a New York State certified crisis and suicide prevention counselor, and I'm going through vigorous training now. Who would've thought that someone like me who wanted to take his own life, would now be responsible for the saving of others. It makes me feel like I have a purpose here, and like I matter to this society, and I do. I’m doing great now and it’s all because I realized I matter. You do too.

If I have learned anything over the years, it’s that you do matter. Suicide does not solve the problems in your life, it only causes pain for others. You may feel like no one cares but there is someone out there that would question their life if you took your own. It’s hard to hear sometimes, but you do matter and you will make a difference in this world if you just hold on. The key to life is believing in yourself. Any guy can give you a compliment, and any girl can make you feel good about yourself, but YOU have to believe in yourself or it’s meaningless. I have many insecurities like I stated earlier, but it’s all about embracing them and learning to love yourself the way others do. The key to success is never giving up. Anything is achievable if you fight hard enough for it. Keep fighting, and if someone doesn't believe you can do it, prove them wrong.

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” -Frank Lloyd Wright

If you are lonely and feel like no-one understands, don't forget that I understand. Always remember, you’re only given one life...

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” -Confucius

Don't ever give up...


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