Incredibly long and personal, but I've been wanting to share this for a while. Also read the accompanying list if you get a chance: WHAT I'M GRATEFUL FOR: MY BROTHER'S DEPRESSION EDITION.
  1. My heart sank.
  2. Here was a good-looking, kind, and intelligent 17-year-old ready to take his life.
  3. My brother was not a confident kid.
    He was bullied relentlessly for being overweight when he was in elementary school.
  4. After he worked his butt off to lose the weight in 7th grade, it still wasn't good enough.
    People were constantly comparing him to me in middle and high school. I was your classic nerd, which teachers loved. He turned into a bit of a class clown, not rude, not stupid, just came up with smart jokes sometimes. Teachers did not love that.
  5. He permanently damaged his finger despite physical therapy in 9th grade. He had mono in 10th grade. He got serum sickness in 11th grade.
    He used to be a very sick kid when he was young, and it was happening again. Just when he thought things were going okay, BAM, another medical problem would strike him.
  6. He and his girlfriend broke up soon after.
    She and her friends called him and left him a nasty voicemail where they read out his texts and made fun of him. He replayed it over and over and over again.
  7. He started spiraling down. His spirit was shattered.
    He started therapy at my mother's behest.
  8. One month later, I came back home after two weeks away for business travel, and everything had changed.
  9. He had stopped talking.
    My mom would ask him if he wanted pizza or a sandwich, and he would raise either 1 or 2 fingers to indicate his preference.
  10. He locked himself in a room and almost never came out other than for his research internship (See? He's a genius!).
    Very few people were allowed to see him.
  11. He cut himself.
    The scars are deep and long on his arms, still visible today.
  12. He attempted suicide on July 18, 2014.
    I was at work, and he called to tell me. He was going to go to the top of some parking garage. I was terrified, but I told him to call the suicide hotline. I didn't want to say the wrong thing to him. I called my parents, and they rushed over to his workplace and found him there okay.
  13. This was the first time God saved him.
    Apparently, he had taken a bus from work to go to a train station and jump off a parking garage there. He was seated next to someone with schizophrenia who may have been having an episode. That shook him up, and he went back to work. That was when he called me.
  14. He attempted suicide less than a month later, the day before his 17th birthday.
    He tried to hang himself with a belt. The belt slipped. This was the second time God saved him.
  15. He always considered his family.
    My dad is a consultant and travels for work. I was interning with a consulting company and also traveling. He and I were only home on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. One day, my brother revealed to me that he would only attempt suicide when my dad and I were home because he didn't want any of the three of us to be alone when it happened.
  16. This kid, in the midst of going through the worst phase of his life, never let his academics slip.
    AP scores, grades, the ACT. I could not believe how intelligent he was to be able to pull that off. When I had mild depression and mono, my grades were a mess.
  17. He went back to school, and someone two years younger than him committed suicide.
    The school brushed it under the rug, refusing to talk about it. This angered him.
  18. Two months later, he was back talking to his ex-girlfriend. That didn't go well, and he spiraled down again.
    One day, he texted me: "I don't know if I'll make it to high school graduation. I don't know if I'll make it to 2015." I was in the middle of a group meeting in college, hundreds of miles away.
  19. I don't know what happened to make him slowly start doing better, but he did.
    Therapy? Medication? Inner mental strength? He still has depression, no doubt about it. However, he's found an alternative to medication for himself: power lifting. He's incredibly dedicated and now, so buff, haha!
  20. He made it to 2015. He made it to high school graduation.
    He's a freshman in college now. His college experience has not been easy and fun, but he's trying his best.
  21. I'm proud of him.
    For being a fighter. For not giving up. For being such a wonderful person that he would put us above his own struggles.
  22. My heart swells when I hear him say, "Love you, didi (older sister)."
    He had stopped telling anyone in my family he loved them. I appreciate every word that comes out of his mouth so much more now.
  23. I'm grateful he's alive.
    When the new year struck, I silently thanked God that he had made it to 2016. I think I will be doing that every year he survives.
  24. There's no point to this list or this story.
    Because life doesn't always have a point or a happy ending. It's just life.