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I Am Still Here This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , White River Junction, VT
There are 20 other students sitting around me in my study hall. I write as quickly as I can. It is as if my life depends on what I get down on the page before my first class starts. In some ways, it does. Unlike the other students in my study hall, I am not doing school work at all. I am writing a suicide note. Not my first note of the type, but the first one in which I address everyone I care about. The list of names is immense because although I have written notes to my loved ones many a time, this time I am also writing to my teachers, classmates, family friends, and acquaintances. I know I am important to many, but today, the people that love me cannot keep me safe any longer. As soon as I finish my letter, I will go to the bathroom, swallow all of my pills, and cut my wrists as deeply as possible. Someone will eventually find me but it will be too late. I cannot stand my life any longer.

My study hall ends and I have yet to finish my letter. I know I cannot handle going to any classes. So I take my backpack and go see the school counselor. I tell her how I’m feeling, but not about my plans. I figure I won’t have to go to class, I might get a chance to do more writing, and I can sneak off to the bathroom at some point. However what I say worries her enough to not let me be alone. She takes me to the emergency room and later that night I arrive at the psychiatric hospital that will be my home for the next two months.

They say that depression can be caused only by chemical imbalances, but if that were the case I would have started getting better in ninth grade when I first started taking different medications. So how come I only got worse as time went on? How come I turned to hurting myself to get through a class? How come I started dreaming of death?

Questioning one’s own existence is normal; hating it is not. I lost the ability to see a future for myself at all. I was giving every ounce of my energy into resisting the urge to create a permanent solution that I knew would hurt the people I care about. They were the only ties grounding me and keeping me safe most nights. I made lists: reasons not to die, people that love me, and little positive aspects of everyday. I made huge strides in accepting my body image, I tried to get better, and I reduced my self harm from multiple times a day to maybe once a week. However, the cuts were deeper each time and even though I was trying, I found myself getting worse. I had things to look forward to, but they couldn’t keep me afloat.

Fast forward through two hospitalizations and a school year...I am okay. That is no longer a lie that I tell every day. I am okay. I don’t know what has changed. I used to define myself by my mental health. Because of this, I spent countless hours questioning: Why am I this way? What caused my demons to take over? Why should I even bother existing when it is so painful?

Now that things have changed, I have depression and anxiety, but I’m not defined by them. I am like everything around me, a tiny speck on this planet connected to the world around me in a totally unique way. Although I know not what has changed for me, I have finally realized that I am so much more than my depression.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

WIZZ said...
Jul. 29 at 8:52 am
Very well done. :) I give this one a 5 out of 5. 
 
jjnbee62 said...
Jun. 24 at 4:30 pm
This essay was amazing. I am proud of the writer for acknowledging his/her flaws but not allowing them to define who he/she was.
 
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