RAB Source Entry #3: Interview with my best friend
Yahir, Vazquez, [Teenager ]. Personal Interview in person. New York, NY. April 15, 2022.
My best friend is an 18-year-old who lives with his mom, stepdad, and stepbrother in the Bronx. He currently works as a security guard and spends his days off hanging out with me. There are times when he spends his time off with friends but he prefers to spend time at home playing video games. Throughout our conversation, we talked about the habits he developed throughout the pandemic and what allowed his mental health to worsen.
At the start of the pandemic, Yahir’s grades started to decrease by the day. He would only attend class once or twice a day of the week, at most. Yahir eventually gave up. He is a visual learner and found it extremely hard to comprehend the online learning situation. Yahir was also shy to speak up and ask for help which is what made online school 10 times harder. Unfortunately, he ended up having to do summer school for a month.
Yahir got addicted to marijuana. He developed a bad relationship with his mother due to a lack of communication and his current addiction. His mother didn’t accept his decision to smoke marijuana. That created many conflicts between each other. His mother consistently worried when he would go out with friends because she had already known what he was out to do. It began to concern her. She eliminated his privileges to go out with friends.
He fell into this phase of misery. All he wanted was to stay locked up in his room. He slept for 10 hours a day. Distanced himself from society, including his friends. Since he rarely would be awake during the evening, he didn’t eat during the day but ate more than he would regularly eat at night. At the start of COVID-19 Yahir was 145 lbs, throughout the pandemic he gained 59 pounds.
Then I continued to ask him, “what allowed you to isolate yourself from society?” he responded, “loneliness”. As he elaborated, he mentions how nobody was reaching out to him, and out of all his friends he would do the reaching out. It got to a point where he let go of those so-called friends.
Some parts of the pandemic are a blur to year. But the memories he remembered were a memory he didn’t to repeat. He sacrificed a lot during COVID-19. He had lost connection with his peers, got addicted to marijuana, and developed a negative relationship with his mother. He wanted to change but didn’t know where to begin.
He followed to mute his distractions and procrastinated less. Yahir texted his counselor and asked if there was any way he can be guided for his last month in school (summer school). He was able to balance out his grades, study his ass off, and ace his exams. By August, he was able to graduate but not with his class, unfortunately. He had been proud of himself and so was his mother. His only concern was “what to do next?”.Yahir knew he also needed counseling when it came to his mental health. He asked his mother for help, he want to take therapy.
After 2 months of therapy, he felt entirely refreshed. He started a new chapter in his life and to him it was amazing. Even though there were still struggles in his life he still managed to find solutions to the more important concerns.
As hard as it was to even speak on this topic, I just want to say I am truly sorry. It can be extremely traumatizing to even speak on your additions, traumas, and conflicts throughout the pandemic. It isn’t easy so thank you. You mentioned feeling lonely and having no one. It made me think, I didn’t have anyone either when my mental health had worsened, but how many more teenagers had only themselves to rely on at a time like that. However, not everyone should be alone at a time like this. I believe situations can be prevented if you at least have one person supporting you.
The interview went a little better than I expected. Not everyone feels comfortable speaking about these certain things. It made me realize that I’m able to communicate with other about their traumas while also making them feel secure. Like it’s a safe space to speak on these types of things. I chose to interview my best friend because out of all of my friends his story was the most that stood out to me. It had morals. Also made me see how so many can relate to the loliness or addiction, or even gaining weight during the pandemic. It can be a frightening thing.
“I’ve never thought in life that i’ll ever sink so deep”
“I didn’t know who I was anymore, and neither did my mother.Regardless of my situation she still has faith that i can change. She never gave up on me. “
“I still think about how lonely i felt till this day”