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The Light at the End of the Tunnel This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , PORTLAND, OR
Like everyone in this convoluted world I have ups and downs; highs and lows. However, sometimes in life you hit bottom, your absolute bitter, dark, godforsaken bottom. Hitting that lowest point changes you. Maybe it makes you more mature, or it forces you to see things differently. Maybe there's just no way to define how it changes you. It just does. It's like when you have sex for the first time. Nothing about you really changes, yet everything does. You're a different person and sometimes you just can't put into words the metamorphosis that has just occurred. I had that period of defining time and I'm not going to say I turned into a beautiful butterfly because of it, but a part of me did change.

At the beginning of senior year my life had sunk to an unfamiliar low: my absolute best friends no longer associated with me, worse than that they acted like I didn't exist; my father would just stare at me like he was looking out a window, all the while asking me superficial questions; and I no longer knew who I was. Quite frankly I was depressed. I felt as if I meant nothing to everybody and therefore I meant nothing to myself. I understand the ideology of teenagers; depressed, love obsessed, dramatic. But that was never me. I never bought into the partying, drinking, and weed smoking image that people have of teenagers nowadays. I had never drank, smoked, or even had sex. All that mattered to me was my family, my friends, and school. At that moment my small circle of life was in complete disarray, even my school life became twisted and dark.

To be honest I had no idea how to handle everything that was going on. I started to slip into a rabbit hole that I didn't know how to climb out of. I would sit in my room, alone, and just sleep. I hated life so much and I hated myself even more. I even turned to extremes to deal with everything. Cutting meant I could control my feelings and it was the only thing during that time that would bring me clarity. Picking up that blade for the first time was my lowest point. The sad thing was I knew it too. I knew that I was hitting my bottom even as I held the razor in my sweaty hand. In those moments something about me changed. Being in such a dark abyss meant leaving behind that innocent, carefree girl. I'm not saying that I became an adult but I certainly wasn't a kid anymore either.

I realized I could no longer pretend that my world would work itself out. I had to take back some control of my life. First, I set up meetings with my best friends that I hadn't talked to in a month. No matter what happened between us I needed closure. To counteract my antisocial behavior I tried out for cheerleading. Lastly there was my dad and our deteriorating relationship. Unfortunately I was forced to realize that our relationship had been breaking for a long time. I had just kept myself blind to the truth. Then, when things still didn't get better, and that defining darkness still loomed over me, I went to see a psychiatrist.

With help from an antidepressant, counseling, and the people I love I was able to bring a sense of normalcy back to my life but things would always be different. There was just no way to go back to who I was before those pitch black months, looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. It was as if I went into that tunnel an ignorant child and the only way to come out of the tunnel, back to the light, was a part of me had to grow up.



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