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2018, Chase Callister, HWRA, Bountiful HS, Awardee

Apr 24, 2018

My name is Chase Callister and I am currently 18 years old. When I was a kid I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Bipolar disorder is a disorder causing severe mood swings. Generalized anxiety disorder is a disorder that causes severe constant anxiety. These disorders are very difficult and I have been to many psychologists and psychiatrists, and have tried several different types of medication. I have attempted suicide a few times and have been in a mental hospital. When I was younger I had a very difficult time dealing with these problems and I still am dealing with them and I think I will be for the rest of my life.

As I grew older I found ways of dealing with my problems that weren’t healthy for me and I developed a very negative outlook on life. I didn’t have friends, my parents got divorced and constantly fought, and my mom dealt with depression and had many problems of her own. She was later diagnosed with colon cancer and the cause was a gene that runs in our family which makes cancer much more common. She had to undergo several surgeries and almost died 3 times. This was very hard for me as she was living in Utah and I was living in California with my dad so I couldn’t see her often. When I was 12 I had to choose which parent I wanted to live with. Fearing I wouldn’t see my mom for much longer I chose to move with her in Utah. I now currently see my dad only a few times a year. This was very hard for me and I felt guilty for leaving my dad when he was struggling financially as he lost his job right before I left.

Given time I eventually overcame this and realized that I couldn’t control what life had thrown at me but I still have the freedom of choice and the freedom to think. One of the biggest influences was actually a book called mans search for meaning by Victor Frankl. Another large influence was the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. These helped me remain strong and find a reason to keep going. This book and poem have both saved my life and helped me find and control myself better.

I am now currently still dealing with my problems but with the help of thoughts and writings by others I am doing much better and have regained my ambitions and my hope. I am currently attending bountiful high school and have good grades, friends, a girlfriend, and people who love me. I have become stronger after dealing with my problems and have overcome my fear of many things. The only thing I fear now is fear. As long as I have hope I will survive and keep pushing forward. Thank you for taking time to read this.

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