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The Secret of Happiness: Mastering the Art of Helping

Joined: 6/1/2016
Posts: 1
Before my brother Eric was hit with depression, he was a 10th grader with a high GPA and overflowing confidence about the future. Gradually I saw his signature smile fading away and being replaced by reticence and resentment. Along with his nose-diving grades was his alienation from his friends and his hostility toward me. Within months he turned from a caring elder brother to a cold stranger. He built a wall around him that completely separated the two of us.

Things got worse when anxiety followed after depression. Eric became increasingly aggressive. My violin became the first target of his anger venting. After smashing my violin, my calculator and my laptop, he turned his anger towards me. I endured his shoves and tolerated the books and plastic water bottles thrown at me. His angry bursts escalated on December 31, 2012 when he pushed me down on the floor and tromped on my chest. I ended up spending the New Year’s Eve of 2013 in urgent care.

For a while, I hated my brother and wanted to retaliate. Even when medicine eventually restored his brain chemical balance and eliminated the physical pain associated with his anxiety, the emotional pain lingered on. His irrational behavior basically drove away all his friends including me.

Finally, my desire for revenge was overpowered by my compassion for my brother’s suffering. I decided to do something to change the situation. I tried to talk to him and ask him to join my activities, but he refused and kept his silence. He had his feelings bottled up and kept his pain to himself. One day when a friend of mine asked about my Facebook account, I thought about an idea to help my brother.

I registered an account with the name John Smith, and requested to be friends with Eric on Facebook. After he reluctantly accepted the request, I started to talk to him about his favorite topic – basketball. Day after day, he gradually opened up and talked more and more. He still kept a stern face to me at home, but he said to John Smith on Facebook: “I don’t have any friends except you. I can’t even talk to my brother, but I can talk to you. Weird.”

When he was gradually coming back to normal, one of his friends asked him on Facebook, “Who is John Smith?” Eric replied, “John Smith is my best friend!”

You can imagine the astonishing face when Eric found out that John Smith was actually me. John Smith has come a long way in restoring happiness to both Eric and me. Today John Smith still has his Facebook account and has become our secret weapon of fighting off stress and bringing in laughter. John Smith doesn’t talk as much as before, but we enjoy his company and understand him fully - even a smallest gesture of his can bring smiles to Eric and me.
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