Having suffered from severe bouts of clinical
depression for much of my adult life, I’d like to share some of my observations
from personal experience. If the reader has never suffered from one or more episodes
of severe clinical depression they should consider themselves to be very
blessed. Make no mistake about it. Depression is a serious condition that can
both devastate and impair one’s ability to function in life. I know that many
of my Christian brothers and sisters will take exception to what I’m about to
say. I can only write from my own personal experience and to tell the truth
from the way I see things.
In my opinion, clinical depression is not the result
of some kind of spiritual deficit. In our society it takes an enormous amount
of courage to admit that you suffer from this illness. Believe me. There is
still an unfortunately large degree of stigma attached to the illness of
depression. It is first and foremost a medical condition. A person with
depression is no more to blame for their disease as would be the case if they
had diabetes or heart disease. Yet most depressed people blame themselves for
the periods of time when they cannot seem to manage to function.
Joshua Jacobson could best be summed up as being a
nerd. He was seventeen years old and attended Manhattan Central High School.
Joshua’s level of intelligence would be close to the genius level. He excelled
in all his grade twelve subjects, but he liked his math and science classes the
most. Joshua was an intellectual in every sense of the word. Although his great
desire was to be a famous scientist one day, he was also a voracious reader
with interests in a wide variety of subjects.
Joshua read nearly everything he could get his hands
on. Although his parents were on the lower strata of the annual income
spectrum, and neither one had earned a high school diploma, they were very
aware and were very proud of Josh’s intellectual accomplishments. From an early
age they had a sense that God had given their son and amazing brain for a
reason. Although Josh’s parents were poor, they used what little extra money
they had to further Josh’s ambitions. As Josh enjoyed reading and conducting
research so much, his parents paid for his monthly subscriptions to Audible
Audiobooks, so that their son could choose a new audiobook to listen to each month. They also
invested in a subscription to Scribd, a website service that allows its
subscribers to read an unlimited number of books on a wide variety of topics.
Science fiction books had always been Josh’s favorites.
Attending high school was at times pure hell for Josh.
Senior years schools have long been known for bullying students that did not
fit the predetermined criteria of what was considered normal. The social aspect
of high school was based on cliques. Every high school student ended up in a clique
that was defined by possessing certain, identifiable physical and mental
There was some overlap, but generally all high school
students receive a mandatory designation that they were in some group or
clique. There was sometimes some overlap, but rarely war a student integrated
into more than one or two defining groups.
The first category was known as the brains. This
entity consisted of all kinds of all the students that were known for getting the
highest marks in all subjects on the secondary education curriculum. The brains
were usually not very popular with the rest of the student body. These academic
high achievers were either disdained, ignored or were used by their peers. The
brains could be helpful to their less academically gifted counterparts in
certain situations. Brains came in handy when one needed to cheat on a test or
exam or copy yesterday’s homework assignments. The trade-off or you can say.
the upside for the brains was that some of their fellow students who required
their services offered the brains protection from other students who would
bully them, steal from them or threaten to beat them up.
The second clique was known as the jocks. This group
consisted of all the star athletes in the school. A third group was labelled as
the stoners. This group of students were known for regularly ingesting a wide
variety of both prescription and illegal drugs. The brains and the jocks rarely
had anything to do with the stoners. Stoners were not known for doing well in
their academic studies because they were, as their name implied, usually flying
high on some psychoactive substance that would interfere with their cerebral
ability to concentrate on their school work.
There was a subgroup of students within the stoners who
were talented musicians. The ones that played in a band were generally held in
high regard by almost all the student body. The jocks envied the artistic
talents of the musically gifted stoners and were very pissed off by the fact
that student musicians who played in local bands often had more groupies than
the jocks. The jocks could never conceive how these scrawny, dope smoking rockers
didn’t need to have any respectable physique to attract females. The jocks
never grasped the concept that these musically gifted stoners needed to
practice their guitar licks just as long and hard as the football team had to
practice their passing, blocking and running skills.
The last high school clique were the most unfortunate
ones. This group was cruelly referred to as the nerds. The nerds presented in
all shapes and sizes, but their most prominent distinction was that they all
presented as being weird in some way or another. Some were morbidly obese, some
were tall and lanky and had faces that were crated like the surface of the moon
with acne. Many of them offended their peers and teachers because of their
strong repulsive body odor.
The nerds were mostly shun by the vast majority of the
student body and faculty. On rare occasions, a student that was considered
normal would attempt to befriend them or at the very least try to strike up a
conversation with them. Those few nerds that received these acts of kindness
were often forever grateful for even the slightest sign of attention and
acceptance. The few students who displayed this kind of compassion often found
that the result would be that the few grateful nerds would cling to them and
wouldn’t leave them alone for at least a semester.