People always say everything happens for a reason.Ó IÕve come to a point in my life where those five words bring me more comfort and hope for the future, as well as justification and solace for the past, than anything IÕve ever known before. My connection with this quote may seem bizarre, for I have literally used it as a way to understand and cope with certain events, actions, and emotions I have experienced over the past eighteen years I have spent on this earth. Growing up and becoming a young adult hasnÕt been the easiest thing for me to do. IÕve experienced heartache and heartbreak, love and loss, plus happiness and elation. For the majority of my life, most notably from my freshman year of high school to freshman year of college, words like depression, agony, and sadness would best fit the emotional and mental state I was going through. Those feelings of inner turmoil followed me on a daily basis. No matter where I was, or who I was with, my depression tagged along to everything I did. I remember how long the days felt back then. Going to school was the worst part, by far. Walking down the hallways of my huge and overcrowded high school, which contained nearly four thousand students in its classrooms and stairwells on an average day, was like torture. Seeing my fellow peers laughing, smiling, and gossiping, all the while all I felt like doing was taking the first bus back home and hiding under my covers drowning in self-pity. The most challenging aspect of the emotional burden I was dealing with was due to the fact that I could never, no matter how badly I tried, pinpoint the precise reason as to why I was feeling like this. I was experiencing distress for reasons that were unknown and unclear to even myself. How can it be possible to feel depression and sadness for something or someone that you canÕt even recognize? What was wrong with me? This was the question I asked myself every morning and night. You may be wondering how all this relates to my most valued quote I had discussed earlier. If for whatever reason I had never experienced those four years of suffering and grief then I wouldnÕt be the person I am today. During those unhappy years of my life I learned so much about myself; how I think, feel, and react as a real human being. I feel as though I have a greater understanding of myself than most people because I have been to a place thatÕs so dark and rarely traveled by the average person. The whirlwind that was those few years is something that I would never want to experience again but it was certainly a journey that I will value and respect forever. IÕm glad to say that I was able to pull myself out of that dark place all by myself and be a better person for it. I can now appreciate the brighter and happier side of life without seeing any of the negativity that may be around me. The glass is half fullÉI hope it stays that way.