Dear Ellen Hopkins,
When I first saw your book impulse it immediately caught my eye, and as I read the inside jacket I was instantly hooked. So, I acted on my very own impulse and brought the book home with me. I soon grew very much attached to Conner, Vanessa and Tony who are in a facility for those who have attempted suicide.
Conner reminds me much of my close friend. At a glance he seems to have everything: Good lucks, charm and a great sense of humor. On the inside however he is troubled by dark consuming thoughts. A few months ago I received a call from him, which I found strange because he hates phone conversations. He told me he was failing all his classes, his friends were ditching him and that the pain was just too much. He said he needed relief and that cutting his arm wasn't going to help him this time. For an hour or so I just listened to him ramble and cry until he could no more. I never once told him that 'Everything will be okay' because at the time even I didn't know if it would. Instead, I told him that I loved him and that I would help him get through this.
I knew exactly how to help him too. I, myself, have been down the dark allies of depression. Ever since I was little I showed visible signs of depression but I wasn't diagnosed until I was 12. Ever since then I've been attending therapy sessions.
Last year, when I had just started taking medication, I read your book. Your book helped me realize that I wasn't alone and that thousands of others suffered from depression. After I became emotionally stabilized, I knew I had to help teens like me and I knew I had to start helping now! I immediately started by simply decorating my myspace with suicide hotlines, banners and information. I needed my friends to know that I would be there for them regardless of whether they have a mental illness or not. I hope that I will soon be able to help others from different schools and/or states.
Your book really opened by eyes to mental illness and suicide. Just like mental illness, things aren't just black and white; there is plenty of grey in-between. Just because you are depressed does not mean that you can't laugh or smile. Some of us are less severe than others. I am not ashamed for having depression because without it I wouldn't be who I am today.
Thank you for helping me realize that.