12 May Unbreakable Stories: Eric Kenneth
As Mental Health Awareness Month continues, we want to do all we can to spread the word about this important issue and amplify inspiring stories that help us break the stigma surrounding our mental health and well-being. These are stories of overcoming obstacles and coping with trauma that we can all learn from. Here at TLC, we call these “Unbreakable Stories”.
Our next Unbreakable Story comes from TLC facilitator Eric Kenneth. A former TLC student who fell in love with the program, Eric is ready to pay forward the experience he had as a student, to the current students of TLC. He aims to help others to see the greatness that they have inside them.
Here is Eric’s Unbreakable story.
Inside my mind each day, I fought off thoughts like ‘the world is better off without me.’ No one in my inner circle knew of these battles that I was going through day in and day out. I was at the lowest point in my life, and many things weren’t going the way I had intended. My thoughts were taking over my mind and telling me negative things, such as ‘you’re not handsome enough,’ ‘you’re not good enough,’ ‘you’re not going to do what you said you would do,’ and even ‘your own father doesn’t even love you.’
In my senior year of high school, in 2018-2019, I attempted to take my life with a bottle of pills. I was truly at my breaking point with everything piling upon me. Then one day at basketball practice, I lashed out at my friends and teammates, and started throwing punches and cursing at them. After it got broken up and I was kicked out of practice by my coach, I stormed off. My coach tried to get me to sit down and tell him what is truly going on, but I didn’t want to talk. My teammates were texting me to come back, but I didn’t. I didn’t go straight home, either. I went to go numb myself with some bad people. When I got home around three in the morning, I saw all of my teammates’ cars in the road and all of them sitting on my front porch. They were the first ones to truly know what was going on in my life. That same night, we went and ran all the way to puke hill in Costa Mesa.
They didn’t know that I had the bottle of pills with me in my back pocket, which I had kept with me since the start of basketball season. I could tell by their eyes that they were worried I was going to take them right then. Then something happened that I couldn’t explain. At that moment, I looked at that bottle, looked out at the riverbed and threw them as far I could while screaming ‘What was I thinking?’ After I did that I looked down with tears running down my cheeks. This was the first time my friends had seen me cry. They lifted me up and told me it was time to go, and took me to get some pancakes at IHop. They helped me that night, and still check up on me to this day. That group has saved my life. I get back up for them.
I still struggle with these thoughts, but I learned that a person is as strong as the people they surround themselves with. I hope this story of mine shows people who are struggling that you’re not alone. I’d rather hear your unbreakable story than read your eulogy. My name is Eric Kenneth — and I am unbreakable.
We hope that reading Eric’s story brought you peace, joy, and the courage to fight any battles you may be going through. If you have a story about a time you felt unbreakable, we’d love to read it!
Tilly’s Life Center is dedicated to providing teens the tools they need to thrive, and educating the community about mental health. By allowing teens a space to cope with their emotions and learn how to navigate these formative years, we’re creating a better and healthier world for the future.