My Friend Died At 17. Here’s What It Taught Me.

My Friend Died At 17. Here’s What It Taught Me.

Lacey was completing her last year of high school when her friend died. Here’s how she got through the grief, and the new things she learned about life along the way.

If the subjects of mental health, anxiety, grief and/or loss raise any concerns for you, please contact the relevant support services listed here.

It felt like the world was setting me up to fail. At the beginning, it was all a blur of sadness and anger. My coping methods at the time included going through the motions and completing the bare minimum with my schooling. I had stopped studying or caring about my education as I thought nothing mattered anymore. 

I was beginning to fail at school while completing my Year 11 exams. I was in a daze only getting out of bed to go to school. After school, all I did was lie down in my dark bedroom and cry. I cried for my tragic loss and the unfairness of it all. 

During the end of Year 11, my mindset was purely negative and depressive. My grades and my mental health was worsening. I had thoughts like ‘there is no point anymore. I don’t want to do anything. I want to be left alone.’ 

However, as Year 12 wore on I had no choice but to change my mindset and focus if I wanted to get into university. I had to study hard every single day in order to accomplish this goal, and it all became possible when I was able to change my mindset.

This wasn’t an easy task and it wasn’t short either. I did it through distracting myself and plunging into schoolwork. I began to surround myself with incredible friends that made me feel happy and loved again. I was the happiest when with my friends. Throughout my schooling, I had also attempted meditation and mindfulness, which helped me relax and settle my anxiety and depression.

However, I’d still have those bad days where the sadness came flooding back into me. When this happened, I allowed myself one day to feel the pain and do nothing. When that one day was over, I plunged back into family, work, school and friends. 

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My mindset changed gradually as I made goals for the future, such as saving money for a house and graduating university so I can become a writer and change people’s lives.

One of the main things that helped me fully change my mindset was the way I looked at my friend’s death. I used to be sad and angry that he had passed on at the young age of 17, that there was nothing I could do but feel sorry for him. I changed my mindset by thinking that he is proud of me and looking down on me from above. I started to look back on all of the happy memories instead of the sad ones. I felt happy and relieved that he is watching me. When my mindset changed, I was able to graduate from Year 12 and progress on.