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  • Writer's pictureDerekGMZ

My Origin Story: The Girl Who Gave Me Hope

Depression is a dark, cold, secluded abyss of emptiness. Motivations are non-existent and any type of self progression seems worthless.

During my high school years there were no social networks. Myspace wouldn’t be founded until a year after I graduated. Dating sites were fairly new and weren’t given much respect. We hadn’t quite hit the age of instant information. My sources of outreach were limited to television, radio, and the local newspaper. If friends wanted to chat we made phone calls.

I did well academically, I wasn’t picked-on or bullied, my pain came from being socially awkward. It was difficult and draining for me to hold a conversation. I eventually secluded myself from the real life social network. I would eat lunch in the locker room with a select few from the wrestling team. I stopped texting my friends due to anxiety, because they would prefer to talk over the phone, rather than text. I would dread any type of social function, yet I would yearn for the social acceptance. Everyone else made it look so easy. The hopelessness began to kick my ass. Depression set in and no one could see it.

I hit a breaking point. I grabbed a knife from the kitchen, placed my wrist over the sink and began to apply pressure. Then my Dad walks in and sees the worst thing any father could witness. I immediately throw the knife in the sink. We sit down and have a long emotional talk. My father was clearly devastated and I felt like an asshole. We never spoke of that moment to anyone and he had me promise not to tell my mom because it would crush her.

The talk with my dad helped, but the problem still existed. I couldn’t connect with the outside world. I hate that the love of my parents and family weren’t enough for me at the time. In my emotionally unstable mind I felt that their love was standard and not earned. Of course they loved me, they were my family. Three more days past and the darkness began to overtake again. I saw nothing in my life, no spark, no hope, no purpose. At the time I was a believer in gods, ghosts, superstitions, and magical psychic abilities. I was subjected to whatever my parents and family taught me, and I had not been exposed to any outside information to denounce what I was taught. As the darkness became an issue, I began going to church on my own hoping for guidance, a sign, a sliver of anything. What I got was bread, a few nice songs, and some hand shakes. Another week went by. I sat home alone at the dinner table and thought very deeply about that knife. The act of grabbing it never took place, as I began to get angry. Angry at my insignificance, angry at my suffering, angry at my God, angry that all this free and easy happiness was all around me and I couldn’t tap into it. Before I knew it, my chin was dripping with tears. I broke down and yelled out, “Fuck you, God!… You made me like this, I’m going to make you watch me suffer!”. It was an emotional and exhausting night, but I went to bed feeling empowered. I hadn’t felt that free for quite sometime. I was a little timid Chicano teenager who just vigorously told God to fuck off. Sirius bznss!

The next morning I woke up and went about my normal high school routine. I arrived early to my history class. In walks one of the most beautiful girls in the school. If there were a ranking system for beauty, brains, personality and overall social standing, she would be interchangeably in the top 3 with little debate. She sits down in her seat behind me and to the left, glowing with confidence and comfort. I thought to myself, “I want to feel that way“. A few minutes pass and as I’m engaged in my friends’ conversation, Taneisha turns to me and says, “Excuse me”, she continues after a slight pause, “This is going to sound really random, but how old are you?” My heart starts beating and my mind begins to fill with intrigue. I’ve never interacted with this girl the whole time I’ve been attending high school. “17”, I replied. Without skipping a beat she continues, “Well, you’re going to be hot when you turn 21” … My mind was blown! I was sitting there with braces and a buzzed head, which I’ve been told is not a good look for me. I turn to my right and see both of my friends’ jaws on the floor. I turn back to Taneisha as she says, “Just thought you should know that.” Then she nonchalantly turns around and continues her previous conversation with her friends. “Dafuq just happened?“, I thought to myself. This wonderful human being took a risk and told me what was on her mind without a care for the high school drama and/or repercussions. For any teenager that is huge. I thank her wholeheartedly. I left Mater Dei High School that day on cloud nine. It turned out to be the spark I needed to keep moving forward. This was my contact with the outside world, I was recognized on a personal level, someone who didn’t have any reason to interact with me gave me something special, hope.

Two weeks later I found out poker could be played in a tournament format. The next summer I watched Robert Varkonyi win the WSOP main event via ESPN. I had found my true calling. I started searching everything poker: books, home games, online poker sites, etc. The poker world had found a new son.

I have progressed many years since then and poker has taught me many things. I now believe in numbers, probabilities and the laws of physics. I am no longer crippled by my secluded indoctrination. We are now in a time of instant information and there is no excuse to stay ignorant of the real world. There are message boards, we can skype and stream, social media is the new constant, 10 year reunions have become obsolete, and true facts and information can be transferred from anywhere on the planet in seconds. It’s time to start educating and progressing by letting go of silly traditions, which are based on superstitions and primitive thought processes. I believe the world can change for the better, because I have.

Questions are healthy, reach out and educate yourself.

If you or a friend/family member are suffering from depression here are some links to facts and suicide prevention:

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