“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

During my darkest days in college, I could only look inward, brooding over my own black-and-white world of mental pain and self-pity, oblivious to the vibrant life around me. My external circumstances were enviable – a privileged existence with a loving family, loyal friends, and all the advantages of an excellent education in a free society. Yet I couldn't see those things through the suffocating shadow of severe depression.

One evening, while waiting to meet someone for dinner, I noticed an old friend frantically flipping through the pages of his notebook with the haunted expression of a man at the end of his rope. He was behind in his work, despondent and adrift, but I told him I couldn't chat. I had a dinner to attend and my own issues to deal with. "We'll speak soon," I assured him, but we never did. My friend took his life shortly thereafter. Even then, my depression was so deep that I only felt the faintest tinge of loss.

If Iʼd been looking outward, his plight would have been apparent. Instead I was too preoccupied by my own troubles to assist my friend with his. I am better now but will always look out for others who are struggling, because sometimes we need a reminder that life is worth living, through good times and bad.

— John Regan