My name is Alex Martinez. My nickname is Pen. My life can be summed up in one sentence, “That didn’t go as planned.”

I’ve had visions in my mind’s eye as to what sort of life I wanted to live at this point of my life. I was supposed to start this wonderful new adventure with my best friend when I moved to the college town of Boone, kick all kinds of ass in Appalachian State, make some amazing friends, maybe meet a guy who’d want to become my future husband, and maybe have a real shot at leading a depression-free life.

What do I get instead? The exact opposite. It’s been like this since the summer of 2014. A lot has happened and I thought that I had managed to put it all behind me; the malice, melancholy, internal struggles, repeated failures, solitude, and nightmares. But no such luck. Just when I think I’ve found a little bit of happiness it ends up slipping through my fingers and I come back to where I never want to be, in some perpetual limbo with only my demons to keep me company.

This spring semester has me feeling defeated and in my mind, bloody and broken. Thoughts of self-harm and suicide plague my mind. I do my best to fight them off, but the best I can do is curl up into a ball and cry out to the universe to have mercy on me.

Naturally when my mind feels like it’s gone straight to hell everything else follows. My schoolwork suffered a great deal, my emotions went haywire, and the hits don’t stop coming. This is my vision of Hell. It’s not my first bout of depression, but there’s something different about it. Every other time from before I could at least trace it back to the root and then I could work from there. But there is no root here at all. It just happened. That makes me feel even more frustrated with myself.

I envy the people around me who seemingly have nothing wrong with them. And if there is anything wrong with them they just smoke, drink, or fuck their problems away or at least make themselves numb to it all. I don’t have an easy access to drugs, I’m not under any sort of medication, and I don’t have a convenient fuck buddy. I’m all alone here in Boone and I keep getting knocked down, again and again. I feel like I can never catch a break. As though I can’t be allowed any sort of peace in my life.

But I want to put an end to all that. I want to keep living and turn everything around. If there’s no one to help me, human or God, then I will change things with my own power. Because I have already wasted so much time waiting for someone to come save me and feeling sorry for myself.

There is absolutely no reason why I can’t be allowed to be happy or be allowed to succeed. My depression has left me with a twisted cognition of the world and myself, but maybe I don’t have to let it destroy me. Maybe I can use it to my advantage. Before I made the transfer to Appalachian State I wanted to be a novelist. I wanted to write amazing stories. There is a story project that I have in mind and I believe that I can use my depression, anxiety, and all that’s connected to it to make an amazing story because as of now the way I perceive my whole life and this world is a near perfect match to the story world I have in mind.

My intentions, however, is not to publish it and become famous. I’m not doing this with the goal of becoming the next J.K. Rowling or George R.R Martin, or anyone else. I want to do this for me. I want to write and finish this story with the goal of putting a permanent end to my depression. I’ve been getting signs that keep referring to taking control of my life, breaking myself free from my own limits, and preparing for some new adventure. Maybe everything that I’ve been through in the past and what I’m going through right now is meant to lead me to this conclusion, to this very moment. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t want to sit and wait for answers to be given to me. I have to walk on faith and do this. I also intend to come back from my failures and turn everything around with school and everything else in my personal life as well.

By this time next year everything will be different. All my struggles will be worth it. I swear it.  If this is supposed to be a new adventure for me then I will begin with this moment and move forward from here.