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  • MUD

From Darkness

Photographs and story by Garrett Troutman

Oscar Islas, 25 years old, graduate and singer. He would have never imagined struggling with hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. No one does. So I asked him to share his story on his experience with mental health and what brought him to his breaking point. 


I am the oldest of six. You know, I was the star child in my family, my whole family, my grandmas, aunts, uncles cousins — I was the only one who went to college; I was the only one not in a gang or has kids. I thought “I have a good life” and I work really hard, why would I want to end that? 

It just goes to show that I was in a very dark place for me to even be thinking that I’m not worthy to breathe another breath. 

Four years ago, my mom told me “Your father and I are having issues we might get divorced.” And that was all she said. 

So I thought “Oh, they are just having problems like every married couple.” And then by the end of my senior year of college that is when I knew something was up, something was different about my parents. 

I thought these are not my parents. Just the way they were acting, but I had no idea they were on drugs. No idea. 

Oscar asked his aunt, who had past drug abuse issues, if they were experimenting with substances. She confirmed that they had been using. 

For me that was a huge turning point in the whole thing, I remember just breaking down in my car crying and not being able to understand why they were on drugs. They were the biggest advocates in my life that it was never a route to take. 

I led worship that weekend and put on a show. I was feeling like I did not want to be up there. I was feeling like shit. I was feeling worthless, unworthy. 

And that became a weekly thing for me.