Positive Connections: Wichita teen overcomes depression, publishes book

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Depressed, unworthy, fearful. A Wichita teen has turned his negative thoughts and struggles into success.

“I just want people to realize that even if you have it bad just pursue what you are good at and someday it will pay off,” said Ethan Smith.

Smith, 18, is a senior at Northwest High School in Wichita. He is also a published author.

“I take pride in this one (this book) because it’s the one that got me started in writing,” he said. “Writing means an escape to me.”

“A Wolf’s Heart” is about two teen werewolves navigating the ups and downs of adolescence. Smith said he pulled some of the storyline from his own experiences.

“I would get hit at home. I had an alcoholic for a stepdad, and my dad was never there. My dad would make promises but not keep them,” Smith explained.

Smith said by the time he entered middle school, he was filled with thoughts of suicide.

“My depression has gotten the best of me and I have, um, tried to end it,” he said.

Smith’s theater teacher, Jerry Wehry, took notice of his student’s extended absences and demeanor.

“I watched him come to class and be completely torn down, but still come to class and try and so I knew that he had it in him to be and grow and do whatever he wanted to do, he just needed the right push. He just needed someone to push him,” said Wehry.

Wehry connected with Smith and encouraged him to pursue his dream of writing. He will admit it was not always easy.

“For Ethan, it’s a process. There were a lot of times it didn’t go so well, the conversation didn’t go so well at times, but I think he heard my words, and eventually, we were able to have the good talks where eventually really help push him in the right direction,” Wehry explained.

Smith credits his teacher for getting him on the right track and ultimately pushing him toward his dream.

“Mr. Wehry has allowed to help me with writing my book and pushed me forward and now my parents are pushing me forward even more. Everyone I am near is pushing me forward to write more books,” Smith said. “It fills me with joy to continue writing and gives me a sense of purpose.”

“I think it’s any teacher’s honor to be in a place with any student where they feel like they have made a change in their lives. That’s what we do this for. We do it for them,” Wehry said.

Smith’s book, “A Wolf’s Heart”, is available on Amazon. He told KSN he is already writing another novel and plans to write as many books as he can. He hopes his story will inspire others.

“I hope that other people who are struggling to write or struggling with whatever passion that they have, they see this and pursue this even more. Just because everything seems dark doesn’t mean it is. The world is more positive than negative and it’s taken me a long time to realize that and because of the people in my life I have finally found my calling and I have purused my dream,” he said.

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