Youth Forward scholarship summer 2016 – My Kryptonite

Name: Kellie Knasel
From: Edgewood, KY
Grade: Junior
School: Dixie Heights High School
Votes: 2

Kellie Knasel

Core 5


I walked into Algebra 1 the first day of 8th grade, quietly, only to be greeted by
a “get to know you” sheet. I started filling out the
stereotypical questions with ease. Favorite color? Easy, purple.
Dream job? Detective. Then I arrived at a question that really made
me think. “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” I
listened in on the conversations of the students around me. “I
would totally want to be able to fly! Wait, no invisibility! Then I
could pull pranks on my friends without them knowing!” I sat there
stunned by their answer. Invisibility? Why would someone wish to not
be seen by anyone? To have people not know they exist? I guess they
don’t know what it’s really like.

All of middle school I was alone. I sat in the front row, working diligently on my
classwork by myself. I had very few friends due to my anxiety and
shyness. I felt awful, as if I didn’t matter, like people didn’t
notice me. Then, I was browsing online one day when I stumbled onto a
website called 7cupsoftea. This website was dedicated to helping
those who are struggling with different types of mental
illnesses/social situations. I talked to these “listeners,”
telling them my situation and they constantly reminded me I was not
invisible and that someone was always there for me. After about three
months of using this website I slowly grew more confident. I started
talking to people online and at school. I no longer felt alone. These
listeners inspired me to assist others with their problems. I signed
up to be a listener on 7cupsoftea and began my training courses. I
would spend hours every night talking to members, helping them
through personal issues such as, anxiety, depression, suicide, abuse,
and trauma. Through this I met many teens experiencing a lot of the
same situations I was. Boy, was I wrong about being alone. I spoke to
Pascal, a boy who felt alone. He had severe social anxiety which lead
to depression. He had no one there for him and just wanted to end his
life. I stayed up until 5 am talking about how he isn’t alone and
how he has people out there who care for him. We came to agreement,
he would not end his life, but rather would come and talk to me
everyday and we would work through his issues. I remember sitting in
my room at 5 am thinking “this is what I want to do, I want to save
people.” I felt like a superhero, I helped people realize their
full potential in life, that they are loved, and that they are not
alone. I talked to hundreds of people for at least 20 hours a week.
Knowing that I made an impact on hundreds of people’s lives really
made me happy. Through talking to them I became more aware of the
problems in my life and I took action. I also noticed the problems
around me. Too many people feel alone in this world, they have no one
to talk to who they trust or who understand their struggles. I want
to be able to be there for them and be their superhero.

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