Untold Stories of The Pack


Parker Slayden

Parker Slayden smiling for a picture.

Jaysen Ford, Editor in Chief

Parker Slayden is a senior in high school. As a little kid, he’s always wanted to be a writer or storyteller, putting his life experiences and struggles that have shaped him into that creative work from a unique perspective. 

Growing up, Slayden saw his mother battling drug addiction. He goes over how the addiction began and progressed. “When I got diagnosed with ADHD is where I think a lot of it began.” After being diagnosed, Slayden has been prescribed Adderall and Ritalin pills, both addictive stimulants which his mother began abusing. Until one day they weren’t enough.  moving to methamphetamine and heroin.

“Growing up, my mom wasn’t really there, and when she was she wasn’t mentally there,” he recounts. “She was always sort of gone, always out of it.” As the drug abuse continued it had a devastating impact on Slayden emotionally. “You can’t help but blame yourself, ” he says. I know you shouldn’t, but I’d be lying if the thought hadn’t crossed my mind that maybe if I had been born more ‘normal’ it wouldn’t have happened. It’s just the little thoughts that attack your mind. It stuck with me for a long time.” He explains how throughout this, he was battling a great deal of depression and still does. All of his freshman year he was dealing with suicidal tendencies. “It hurts to see somebody you love go through drug abuse,” says Slayden. “It messes up your whole world. It messes up everyone around you.”

Despite the dark situation, Slayden seems to have found the silver lining upon retelling his story. “Everybody feels like they have the worst problems ever but, realistically, as bad as my mom was she never hit me or anything like that. I had my dad there who was very supportive so didn’t really have to worry as much. Most people aren’t as fortunate.” 

What really helped him overcome it was moving in with his dad over the pandemic. He got help from a supportive group of family and friends. His father had dealt with abusive parents, and Slayden says that his dad shared things that helped him. “Of course what helps one person doesn’t help everybody else,” he says. “But he was able to help me a little bit with advice.” Going out and doing things to keep you busy can benefit anyone going through something like depression. Activities that make you feel productive, little things like making a bed or a short walk, can make all the difference.

Slayden says overcoming his experiences made him more optimistic. “I didn’t think anything could get better, but it did. It got better. At the same time, I’m not going to say everything gets better all the time, because it doesn’t.” He says that in life, things go in cycles. There’s always going to be good to balance out the bad things, and bad things to balance out the good. When adversity hits you, you have to grit your teeth and see it through. He adds, “The good times will come, and when they do enjoy them while they last because they won’t last forever.”