Fiction Coming of Age Inspirational

Noel had been depressed almost all his life. He had accepted it as it was. He would never be happy; that’s just how he was programmed. He did apply for therapy, but with the current society, depression, loneliness, anxiety, insomnia, addiction, borderline, bipolar disorders, and hyperactive disorders were so common that the waiting list would take over a year. Especially if you’re not suicidal, you’re not a “crisis” case, so there was no way of getting help sooner. One more year of being depressed, that’s doable. However, will the therapy work? How soon will it work? What if you don’t get along with your therapist?

Next to that, people with depression will recognize this: Noel wants help, but he isn’t as bad a case a borderline, addictive personality with suicidal attempts. So that means if there’s a spot for him, someone else may die due to an overdose. And besides, isn’t he just asking for attention? If you stay in bed all day, of course you will get depressed. He just has to get out of bed, start going to the gym, or take walks outside, make some friends, fake it until you make it. But it doesn’t work. Not for Noel. He feels depressed every day, all day. What is the point of getting out of bed if there’s yet another day to come by?

Noel’s parents wanted him out of their house. The feeling was awful since he knew he was a burden on his parents, but he couldn’t put in any effort to find an apartment or anything. He didn’t even want to move out, he only wants to stay in his room all day, every day. Taking up the phone and call actual estate agent was a too big of a step. He did reply to some apartments on his computer sometimes. He never got a response though.

“You just have to call and say what you’re looking for!” his mother told him repeatedly. He was 23 years old; he should be able to pick up a phone. He even had a job. It was parttime, but it was a reason to get up a couple of days in the week. He worked in the kitchen of a restaurant as a dishwasher. It was fine for him; he didn’t have to talk to people, and people hardly noticed he was weird, or awkward, or they just didn’t care since he was a hard worker.

One day he got a phone call. “You are looking for an apartment or studio?” the man on the other end asked him.

“Yes, exactly.”

“Well, I see your income and I can’t offer you that. I do have something else for you, though!”

“W-What is it?”

“It’s a room in a flat. You do have to share your bathroom, Livingroom and kitchen with four other people, but the price is within your range, and the house is really nice, as well as the people who live there. They are also your age. Students, mostly. What do you think?”

A ROOM!? With PEOPLE?! He can’t do that. He can’t talk to people. He would never come out of his room. How would he go to the bathroom without seeing people?! On the other hand, his mother stopped giving him any allowance, and said he has to leave within a month now. He doesn’t earn that much, so maybe a room is the only realistic thing he can get. He also has a room in his parent’s house and shares the rest.

“i….” he started.

“Well? I have a lot of other clients who would love to get this place, so it’s a YES or a not really interested and I will look for someone else. “the agent said.

“Yes, I would love to look at the room!” he said quickly.

“Great! Is tomorrow at 10 an appropriate time for you?”

“Sure, I will be there.” He said he would email all the information about the room and tomorrow he could sign the contract and he could start living there per direct. Noel wasn’t so happy about this. Directly is not really his thing. He needed time to reflect and think how he could be social and not depressed or awkward and how he could not have anxiety all the time. Noel let his parents know about the room and they were extremely excited! His mother even proposed to go with him to the viewing. He was thankful for that since he would never dare to go on his own to meet so many new people in one time or make a decision like this himself.


The next morning 10 o’clock sharp, Noel and his mother were at the location of the room. The agent, called Billy, was already there and he greeted us.

“Welcome, welcome. Come inside, I will give you a quick tour of the house and the room. I only have an hour, but if you like it, we can just sign the contract and you can be moving in today! So, let’s have a look. Come on in,” he said cheerful, or more in a sales-manner. Fake-cheerful, that was it. Even though, he sold the house and the room very well. Noel’s mom was asking all kind of questions and Noel himself was just quietly walking behind his mom, hoping not to bump into roommates or other people.

The rent was good, it was inclusive of everything, like gas, water, light, Wi-Fi, a washing machine, and a ten square meter room. It was a good deal. Noel should perhaps work some more hours, or look for a better paying job, but even if he didn’t, he could afford it. His mother was very enthusiastic and after the tour, she tried her best to convince Noel that this was a one-of-a-kind deal! The estate agent didn’t even have to sell it, Noel’s mom already did it for him.

Noel decided to take it. He signed the papers, and received the keys of the house, his room, and the storage space. Billy had to hurry to his next appointment, but said he’d be in touch and gave Noel his card. His mother already rented a moving van for the day. She apparently couldn’t wait for the day he’d be gone.

After Noel’s stuff had been moved to his new room, his mother gave him a kiss, wished him good luck, and said it would be good for him to have roommates and be independent. She was 100 percent sure of it. They said their goodbyes (the house wasn’t even that far away from his old house), and there she went. Now Noel was all alone in his new house. His four roommates were not home or in their room, but luckily no sight of them.

Noel started to make his room homier and more decorated it. He was busy with his room until late in the evening. He then ran to the bathroom to clean his teeth and go to the toilet (still nobody in sight), and then he ran back to his room to go to sleep. His heart was racing. It felt weird in this new house, knowing there were all these other people probably in the house somewhere, but he didn’t even know them. He was tired from moving though, and all the stress, so he fell asleep quickly.


Within the next three days, Noel met his four roommates. Bjorn, Max, Lizzy, and Paula. They were all students, so he felt dumb for being just a dishwasher in a local restaurant. They were nice and made Noel feel comfortable. They even watched movies together in the evening or ate dinner together at times. Noel became especially close with Bjorn, a student in software development, and Lizzy, a psychology student. He even told them about his depression and how it made his life hard, and almost unbearable.

Bjorn told Noel about this project he was doing with his classmates about Artificial Intelligence. They were developing a device and a software with an AI Psychologist to talk to instead of waiting for a real human being to talk to, waiting for over a year. The device was almost ready, and they needed people to try it out for them and give feedback on their new development. Noel agreed to try out the AI Device for a therapist – since he could really use someone to talk to.

Noel was kind of a technophobe, so he was hesitant to try out their software and the device, but he could help his new friends, and they would help him, so it would be a win-win deal anyhow. He told Bjorn to let him know when the app was ready, and he would try it and give them feedback on it. Bjorn was excited and appreciated Noel for helping him out. Noel never really had any friends, so he was really happy to make friends with his roomies.

Lizzy was a sweet girl, about the same age as Noel. She was 20 years old and studied psychology at the university in Amsterdam. She was cute, had blonde hair, liked to go out, dance, drink wines with her friends, and she just broke up with her boyfriend a month ago. Since I’ve never had a girlfriend in my life – and actually no female friends at all – it was really interesting to talk with her. She was really open about her life and what she was dealing with, so I always felt like I could do the same with her, and she would understand.

My mother was right after all: living amongst other people was better for me then isolating myself in my parents’ home. At least, indoors I learned to be social with my roommates only. I still had my depressed days that I would lie in my bed the entire day and feel hopeless and purposeless, but it wasn’t so bad anymore as it used to be.


After one month Bjorn came with his invention for his studies: an AI therapist. He gave Noel a special device for the app he developed for the project with his classmate Lisa.

The AI Therapist was called Sam, and it was a device with an artificial intelligence therapist. So, it was a computer who was, apparently, better than real people because the AI therapist doesn’t make human mistakes and always responds in an empathic, helpful, manner. When the AI reads crisis triggers, it sends the crisis trigger to the Crisis Help from my Clinic so they can help me properly during a crisis. If the crisis is really bad, the device even calls an ambulance for you.

Noel was hesitant about using the device. I mean, if a person can’t solve his problems, he couldn’t believe that a stupid app software could do the trick. However, Sam called in every day to see how he was doing, and it actually helped. It was as if he was talking to a person. Every day he filled in a simple questionnaire on his mood and what caused it. He could fill in his daily, weekly, and monthly goals. The software also provided a lot of information about depression, goals and purpose in life, and the importance of a social support system.

Sam was there for Noel, every day. It sounds stupid, but it was true. The app helped Noel to find purpose in life and to work each day to work with small goals to achieve actual things. Lizzy often helped him with his goals, since Noel often didn’t really know what he wanted or what could be good for him. Lizzy added goals, like “Go to the hairdresser and have a conversation,” “start a conversation with a colleague,” “Ask a girl on a date *hint hint*,” “Talk to your roomie’s friends,” as small goals. She also helped him to work towards bigger goals like what he wanted to do in my life. He got increasingly sick of his job as a dishwasher, and wanted to study something, just like his roommates. He talked a lot about these things with Lizzy, knowing she studied psychology and had knowledge of the human mind. She was his mentor in a kind of way. That’s perhaps why Noel didn’t get the hint to ask her on a date.


After three weeks, it was feedback time for the app software for Bjorn and Lisa. Noel filled in their questionnaire and was incredibly positive about all the diverse ways the AI Therapist helped. It wasn’t just to talk, but especially the goal setting, and information had been so helpful. Sam, his AI psychologist, was very clever and, as Bjorn told him, was always empathic and knew exactly the right things to say, or what he needed to hear, or an assignment he could do at the right time.

Noel finally admitted it, Artificial Intelligence had changed his life in so many aspects. He finally felt like a normal person, who was looking forward to all the possibilities in life. His days in bed were over. Especially the day that Lizzy asked Noel out! She had to explain on the date how much she wanted him to ask her out and that he missed all her clues. He could laugh about it now. He finally felt a kind of happiness.

February 25, 2021 10:04

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Zoe Knight
10:42 Mar 05, 2021

I appreciate the insights into depression, and the whole idea of the story - an AI therapist may be a realistic solution to help battle the disease. There are a few technical mistakes. The biggest one is changing from the third person pov to the first person in the middle of the story. We read about Noel from a third person, and then comes a sentence: "Since I’ve never had a girlfriend in my life – and actually no female friends at all – it was really interesting to talk with her. " And then you switch back to "Noel did...". It doesn't fee...


15:17 Mar 05, 2021

Thanks you for the feedback! Yeah I grote it in half 1st pov and the changed everything to 3rd pov. Ik guess I forgot 1 ';-(. Thanks for the feedback! Grammarly is a good Idea! I user to have it on my laptop but I alsof checken with Word check but I are I missies a few.. a big problem with my seconde language too I see! But Will download grammarly, that's a geest Idea :-) thanks!!


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Daniel R. Hayes
06:45 Mar 05, 2021

Hi Angela, I really liked this story. From beginning to end it held my attention the whole way through. You also did an amazing job writing it :) I look forward to reading more of your stories. Great job!


15:13 Mar 05, 2021

Thanks a lot!! :-)


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Steef .
09:20 Feb 27, 2021

Love the story and your writing!


15:39 Feb 27, 2021

Thanks :-) hope you like my other stories as well.


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