Morgan’s Story: #BellLetsTalk

Words by: Morgan
Performed by: Morgan
Music by: Micco; used with permission. 

Contributor: Ruth McKeague and Morgan

Bouncing Back (#RHSBouncingBack) is a school-wide initiative at Ridgemont High School aimed at building resilience and wellness into students’ day to day experiences. It promotes a school culture where students feel safe talking about mental health.  

When Morgan was given a poetry assignment for her grade ten English class, she decided to create a poem and put it to music. “I’d been wanting to write a song for a long time,” she says. “This is the first full song I’ve ever written.” 

A fan of Billie Eilish, she went to Youtube, searched “Billie Eilish type beats”, and found music by Micco that worked for the poem coming together in her mind. Of her creative process, Morgan explains, “My brain just says, ‘This is how it’s going to happen.’ And it just goes.” 

Morgan recorded her song for her teacher to hear, but she chose to present only the lyrics to her classmates. Even in its spoken form, “Tired” had an impact. Walls were brought down as she expressed her experience of depression. An open discussion followed, and four other students in the class decided to share their poems about personal struggle.

Already thoroughly impressed, her teacher Ruth McKeague listened to the recording of Morgan’s poem put to music. It gave her goosebumps. Immediately, McKeague emailed Morgan, asking for permission to share the recording with staff and students. Surprised by the praise, and a bit nervous, Morgan granted permission.

“Wow. Just wow,” said one teacher. “She has a lot of guts to share that level of personal experience … I’ve been there.  It is an honest and open representation of depression in a way most people can’t really appreciate. Please tell Morgan how much I admire her honesty and courage.” 

As a young teen, Morgan suspected that the suffering she was experiencing did not fall into the category of regular teen angst. “I didn’t want to self-diagnose though,” she says. She asked her parents to make an appointment with her family doctor. Her doctor confirmed that she had clinical depression, and since then, Morgan has been getting help through both therapy and medication. “I don’t think medication is a bad thing,” she says. “If it helps, use it. One person’s depression is not going to be exactly like another person’s. It’s not One-size-fits-all.” 

Sarah Mastoras, an OCDSB psychologist who initiated Bouncing Back @ RHS, says, “Morgan’s song tells a story of bouncing back in progress. Naming her feelings and sharing her experience are an important part of that process. While depression isolates, sharing reconnects.”

Morgan is sharing her song in hopes of reducing stigma, helping others to understand depression, and helping those who might relate to this experience feel less alone.  If you identify with Morgan’s experience, seeking help is an important next step. Talk to your parent, family doctor, guidance counselor, or an adult you trust to find resources and support.  If you are in crisis, get help now:

For those in Ottawa:

  • Youth – Youth Services Bureau Crisis Line – 613-260-2360
  • Adults – Ottawa Distress Line – 613-238-3311

Across Canada:

  • Youth – call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text TALK to 686868
  • Adults – call Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566. 

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