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I remember the wonderful days of innocence. The carefree laughter and careless exuberance carried all the way into high school, for me. But responsibility, inevitably, catches up with us all. And when there comes a point at which we must all decide to look for help, not all of us are lucky enough to find it. I remember that time.

As a big brother, I was used to taking the flak from parents when things went wrong, blazing new trails of freedoms, and being looked to when the situation required responsibility. Some of it even carried into school. I eventually became a confidant. When my friends had problems, they came to me. I even was a few classes ahead of the others, so they thought I was intelligent. But what happened when I needed a confidant?

Depression was a common thing in high school. People were still adjusting to the new atmosphere, dealing with new levels of hormones in their system, and trying their best to be noticed (especially by the opposite gender). It often came to the point at which one would become depressed simply so those around would take notice. Needless to say, I quickly began to associate depression with weakness of character. The big surprise came on my birthday, when I began to feel sorry for myself for no particular reason. I don't know if it was the fact that I didn't have the energy for birthdays anymore, or even if I had eaten too much candy, but it was unpleasant.

So who could I go to when I was feeling guilty of my own conviction? I was the mature one. I couldn't show weakness. I could tell that some people looked up to me. That was a strange feeling. I couldn't tell these people that I was human. They would hate me for it. For the sake myself, and others, that day became the only day I was able to tell myself how to feel. I told myself to feel strong, because depression is a sign of weakness. I told myself what I told everyone else.

But if it were up to me, and I could do it all over again, I would have said the opposite. There is no sense in masking emotion when you feel inadequate. And when there is no one to go to, that can be dangerous. Masking my thoughts made me feel empty. I didn't feel better. I just felt immature.

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