In July of 2013, I was diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic Hospital with a rare blood disorder that ultimately ended my basketball career. Since 2010, I have also developed severe ulcerative colitis, Addison’s disease, orthostatic hypotension, arterial hypertension, and diabetic hypoglycemia. I have spent so many days in the hospital that they wrote “Welcome Back” in my room during my last overnight stay.
My hopes and dreams of being a successful basketball player ended with that final diagnosis. My brother and my father both played at the division one level. In fact, my brother broke my father’s school scoring record. The pressure weighed on me heavily, and landed me in a world of disappointment.
I had already transferred schools after my sophomore year because my coach believed that I was too unhealthy to play. I was determined to prove him wrong. I fell short of revenge, spending eighteen days during my junior season in a hospital room. But my determination kept me from missing a single game.
It was this same determination that kept me from heading down a dark path. I was at a new school where I ate alone at lunch for almost an entire year. My only sense of hope was my sport. When that was gone, I felt alone and lost. But when the depression snuck in and my thoughts became dark, I used my determination to succeed to pull me out.
No matter what adversity I face or pain that I feel, I always remain determined. I have now used writing as both a coping mechanism and a route to success. The key to fighting depression is to give yourself something to be proud of. I am proud of what I am becoming. I refuse to give up.