Utah seniors share their stories of resilience.
By Lexi Gardner
I wasn’t your typical kid growing up. At the age of eight, I was put into foster care, my mother longed for a brighter future which sadly didn’t include me. Before foster care, I had to survive my mother’s random outbursts of anger, which most of the time either left bruises or knife marks on my body. I never knew my dad, although I became very formal with all the strange men my mother brought into the house. It seemed that every week she had fallen in love with another man, a man who wanted me to call them “daddy”. Most of the time these circumstances had the same outcome which ended in screaming, cussing, and me having to call the police.
I never had to go to school or do anything that a normal child would do. I never showered, brushed my hair or teeth, I never had play dates or did homework. After being put into foster care I went to several families all over Utah. One was so abusive I was removed from the home in six months. During my stay at this home I began to bond with a girl there, she was sixteen and became my sister. A week before I was removed from the home, it was too my horror that I found the girl in our bedroom which we shared where she had slit her throat due to the horrible abuse she was facing from the foster father.
I remained in foster care until I was ten when I met my adoptive family. Things seemed pretty good, until Junior High hit… and my life once again became a nightmare. At school I couldn’t understand anything. I couldn’t do math. I could barely read… the teachers would get frustrated and snap at me saying “how old are you? You should know this?” But the reality was I didn’t know it. I was never forced to go to school until then. How could I possibly understand what I was learning? My grades got worse and I noticed that I began to drift away from my family. I began to hate them and wished I could run away. We began to fight every night, and I slowly started to spend my days in my room just to avoid being near them. Finally, half way into my seventh grade year I began to self harm to deal with the pain life brought me. Overtime I became suicidal. I would find any possible way of harming self. I spent days and days thinking about suicide and how I’d be better of dead.
It was in eighth grade when I had a melt down in my home base class that I knew I needed help. I told my father I needed to be hospitalized in fear of ending my life. Because reality was, I didn’t want to die, but I had no clue what was stopping me from ending my own life. By the time I hit my junior year of high school I had been hospitalized nine times including the State Hospital where I spent my ninth grade year. I was put on medications to help with my depression and anxiety.
Finally, over time, my wounds healed and I found true love in Fashion. I channeled my pain and anger into something beautiful. I graduated high school with honors and a 3.8 GPA. I finally found my reason to live. Everyday my parents and I’s relationship grows stronger as my smile grows. In the fall I will be starting school to become a nail tech. And even on the days, I feel at hopes end, I always know to pick up a makeup brush instead of a knife. And when people notice my scars I will have the courage to say to them, “these are not scars you see, I’m just a tiger who wore her stripes”
******Note – we were so impressed with this story that we reached out to Ashlynn Marie and asked her what tools she used to make such amazing changes, and this is what she shared:
Something just clicked inside my mind. It wasn’t really therapy. To me, it was just waking up one morning and realizing that yes I have depression but it doesn’t define who I am… so instead of letting it control me I just learned to live my life and make the most out of every day because in every day there is something to live for. For me, it’s the little things like a sunset or the smell of rain.
She then gave this powerful advice:
I’m probably gonna get a ton of hate for this but it needs to be said.
Yes, I’ve been diagnosed with depression by professionals. Yes, I’ve dealt with depression for several years my life. Yes, I used to use music to help cope with depression. But the reality is… that certain things, including music, movies, and TV shows can trigger depression among teenagers. I’ve read a ton of research and I can relate extremely to this topic.
When I was in seventh grade I became really depressed and anxious and I used music to cope. I was listening bands like Black Veil Brides, Disturbed, Bring me the horizon, and pierce the veil. I thought these bands really helped to see how I feel until I actually listened one of the lyrics to one of the songs. Here are some lyrics from Bring me the horizon
“I’m scared to get close, but I hate being alone. I long for the feelings to not feel at all, the higher I get the lower I sink. I can’t drown my demons they know how to swim.” Can you feel my heart? Bring Me The Horizon.”
How exactly is that song supposed to help with depression? It literally preaches about your inner demons being too strong to control. Which in reality isn’t true at all. What I noticed about myself was that my depression began to center around this music. It was a cycle. It didn’t help tame my sadness if anything it fueled the anger and self-loathing inside my soul. The truth no matter how hard it may seem is… that Screamo/heavy metal music doesn’t help you cope with depression it makes it worse. Here’s why:
1. The violent/dark nature of the music that’s centered around depression, self-hate, anger, anxiety, PTSD, self-harm and suicide – It may seem comfortable for someone’s who’s depressed to find hope in something that relates to how they’re feeling. But with screamo it doesn’t help the depression, it traps it and makes it continue for longer periods of time.
2. I noticed that when I was depressed and having a down day that I would listen to screamo and the more I listened to it… the angrier I became until I self-harmed.
3. On the day I switched my music from screamo/heavy metal to country and rap I noticed a shift in my mood. I stopped listening to screamo consistently two years ago. And it’s been exactly two years since I’ve self-harmed. (Notice the difference)
4. And I’m sorry to say this and this is my opinion but the people I’ve noticed listening to screamo music always seemed to have a negative/self-hate attitude.
So I truly believe in my heart that if you are depressed and have a mental disorder stay away from screamo/heavy metal music and again here’s why:
It never ends- bring me the horizon –
“I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice I’ve said it a thousand ****** times that I’m okay that I’m fine that it’s all just in my mind”
Bring me the horizon- Alligator Blood
“Put a gun to my head and paint the walls with my ******* brains”
Sleeping with sirens/better of dead(lovely title)”
“Maybe I’m better off dead, did you not hear a word I said? This is not where I belong you’re going to miss me when I’m gone”
I can go on for hours posting upsetting lyrics. I have enough songs on my old iPod,. These are lyrics from songs on my old iPod I used to listen to in junior high.
So tell me what you think? Do you possibly think that those lyrics above can stop you from killing yourself? Because half of the screamo community will tell you that their music saves lives. What do you think?
Lexi Gardner can be found on FB Ashlynn Marie – Tiger Eyes
About the Author
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