Meet 2006 Justin

By | December 4, 2018

To fully understand this beast that is depression, one needs to understand that it can truly happen to anyone, regardless of perceived happiness or “right” to unhappiness. Before I delve into my own story of facing depression twice in my life, I need to share the context of 2006 era Justin.

I grew up in an upper-middle-class family. I am the oldest of three kids and my parents are still together to this day. Our family unit was strong and truly cared for each other (and we still do). My parents provided for my siblings and me in every way possible, and I never had to experience want, poverty, hunger, abuse, or neglect. I was fortunate enough to have all four grandparents alive and living close by, in addition to a number of extended family members living in the tri-state area.

I was in the gifted program since third grade and school came rather easy to me. I was known as the perplexing dichotomy of a class clown and a well-mannered “smart kid.” Though I was no Michael Jordan, I participated in a number of sports over the years, including soccer, tee ball, and taekwondo.

I had a strong core group of friends and fellow athletes and didn’t really have any enemies to speak of. I don’t mean to sound braggadocious about my various accomplishments and qualities, but this was my reality in my high school years.

To summarize my 2006 life in simplest terms, I was the definition of privilege and from the outside, I had no “reason” to be unhappy. Yet, as would soon become evident, no amount of “ideal lifestyle” could keep me from facing a terrible ordeal in the coming months.

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