By Alli Kruse, grade 11
Junior year has been more than a difficult year for me. I’ve struggled with a new diagnosis of mental illness and months of depressive thoughts and emotions. Battling the first half of the year alone was the hardest part and fighting manic depression without therapy or medication is an experience that has tested me to keep myself together.
While my grades were slipping, I became less interested in my favorite things, and I lacked regular emotions and feelings, Mr. Lewandowski was the only one to take notice and push to help me. Opening up to school resources can be very difficult (given past experiences of the school board not handling situations appropriately and sometimes just making the situation even worse). I remember sitting on the chair in the corner of his office twiddling my fingers and biting my gums in my mouth feeling helpless and doubtful.
I felt so close to giving up and leaving everything behind. My last attempt to cry for help went to him. The night before I came to see him, I contemplated everything, thinking I had no other options and that no matter what, nobody wanted to help me the way I needed to be. Nobody took action or took my emotions seriously until I had met with him. He made one of the biggest impacts on my life and even prevented me from losing my life.
Talking to him felt like the calm of the storm, as everything around me was caving in and collapsing on me. I felt like I had no longer had the strength to push off the rocks that had been weighing on me. He took off some of the pressure, talking to me like my feelings mattered and that I’m not a little kid meant so much and helped me understand there are people who can talk to me the way I need them to. Making subtle jokes about the situation and laughing at some of the things others might consider kind of serious helped me realize that I might be okay, for the first time in months. He made me feel seen.
I met with Mr. Lew again yesterday for the first time since December. As old habits began to start again, I knew I needed to turn back to him. In this essay, I chose to write about him because he made such an amazing change in my life. Without him, I am not sure I would be back in therapy or on the right medication to get me better. I thank him so much and appreciate all he has done for me.