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I had kept it hidden for so long. I had mastered the skill and patience it took to conceal it from the rest of the world. One simple mistake, a cut too deep that didn’t kill me, was my downfall.
To be honest I don’t remember what made me decide that this was the only way I could continue living. It wasn’t for attention or to make everyone else in my life guilty. I mean that was obvious since I’d been doing it for so long without a single person questioning my sanity. I appeared fine and happy on the outside, but if they knew what was going on in the inside. I would’ve tried to kill myself sooner. And that was the most I had told her within my three weeks worth of counseling.
“Why do you think you tried so hard to hide it from everyone?” her serene voice asks. My mind is stopped and brought back to the present as I try to think of my reasoning. I stare back at my so-called mentor; technically she’s my counselor while I’m residing in this lovely place. Her name’s Dr. Taylor, she’s a nice woman, younger than most with pale blue eyes and golden hair pulled back into a tight bun. I consider her the one who has been stuck to babysit me through what my parents are calling my rough patch.
Being here was not my first option. I wanted to be dead. This was the option that my parents had to choose. I’m sure they didn’t want this, sticking me inside an institution, with padded rooms and no freedom. Sent to a counselor to discuss how I’m supposed to put the pieces of my life back together and more importantly why it ended up this way.
“I don’t know,” is my only answer to her as I sweep my brown bangs away from my dark brown eyes that are more content to look at the floor than her. I can feel her studying me, trying to find a way into this life that I’ve shut everyone else out of. I look back up. Her soft blue eyes are looking at me with concern hoping they can speak louder than any of the words she has said to me today.
“Well then how did you feel when they did find out,” she asks. I’m not allowed to leave this room until some new feelings are out in the open. But of course that hasn’t kept me from refusing to say a lot, which is obviously getting me nowhere and making her slightly disappointed.
Of course there are reasons, but I don’t know how to explain them without sounding crazy. But I’m here so I’m already marked as crazy. How should I feel? Should I be upset? Disappointed? I don’t know, so I pull out my strongest emotion.
“I’ve never felt good enough,” I finally answer after a long break of silence.
“And why is that?” she asks me eagerly, hoping I answer.
This allows my mind to wonder once again seeking the answers to the questions that haven’t stopped since I’ve been in here. Where to start though? Then it hits me like the realization that I had failed at killing myself.
“I would try so hard to do what they wanted, but the only response I got was how I managed to mess it up,” I stop letting my words sink in as she scribbles down some notes since it was the most I’d said since arriving here.
“So you didn’t feel good enough, which caused you to think irrationally and try to take your own life?” she asks degradingly as she looks up.
“Yeah, basically. I mean if you felt like you weren’t good enough, would you want to keep living?” Two could play at this game.
She pauses, not offended by my question, then replies. “I can see how that makes sense, but maybe the problem is sorting through what is true and how you feel. Emotions can be very misleading.”
“Yeah, but I’d always hear that I wasn’t doing something good enough. There are no emotions, there are no doubts. Solid proof from whoever said it and meant what they said,” I reason with tears stinging my eyes.
I’m getting worked up over nothing. My emotions are getting the best of me once again. Maybe she was right. I need to control my emotions better. It could be why I never thought through any of my actions.
“I understand that, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right. I know it’s discouraging, but maybe you should’ve approached that person before it got too out of hand,” she calmly tells me as I settle back down. That was easier said than done though.
She remains quiet studying me making sure that it’s okay to continue speaking.
“Why else did you not feel good enough?”
“I could tell that people were noticing I wasn’t happy and it made them upset. Especially when I realized I was hurting them, so I figured that maybe if I just left their lives my sadness would go with me and they’d be happy again.” I finish and of course, it sounds so absurd now that I’ve said it out loud. Did I actually think that killing myself would make people instantly happy? I probably looked insane at the moment as I try to replay my thoughts inside my head, making them sound right like they used to before all of this.
“Do you still believe that now?” she asks me.
I take a deep breath in and pray for the best. This was already a long session and it was just going to get even longer.
“I thought I did, but . . . ” I pause slightly embarrassed to continue on. She gives me an encouraging smile and I take another deep breath and continue with my answer. “But now that I’ve actually said it out loud, it doesn’t feel so right. I was able to convince myself that being dead would make me happy, which in return would make everyone else happy, having the opposite reaction of my sadness.” I try to explain hoping that she might understand at least a little.
The room grows silent again. I don’t want to look up and stare into those eyes that seem too understanding. So instead I decide to continue on.
“I guess the thought that they’d be more upset if I was dead roamed through my mind, but that night I just didn’t care. I figured the pain I was causing them now was worse than what they would feel after it was over,” I stop knowing that I can’t continue talking at the moment.
Too many thoughts all out at once, it was more than I could handle. I also felt embarrassed by this thought, but it was nothing I could control. It was now in the past and the only way to move on was to let it all out.
She’s staring at me and I realize this is like some short of enlightenment that every counselor waits for when they’re dealing with kids like me. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m healed. There’s still a long way to go and part of it will be done once I answer her next question. Part of me is dreading it, but at the same time I think it might help me with all of this.
She’s been taking notes this whole time, jotting down little bits of info that might be important later down the road. Her pen is scratching against the pape, it’s the only sound now and I just sit here waiting for her to continue with what I know is about to come. Finally she looks up at me into my eyes. I don’t turn away, maybe because I don’t feel as ashamed anymore. Maybe by understanding and accepting myself I can let people see and accept me.
Finally she asks the question that I was expecting. “Would you mind telling me about the night you tried to kill yourself?”
I remember the first time she had ask me this question. It was my first visit with her and I was having difficulties adjusting to this drastic change. Right after she had asked me, I started crying and yelling at her that it was none of her business and that it didn’t matter anyway since I was here and alive.
I thought about it for a second. I could just say no and let it be over for today. Or I could actually tell her and get over the inevitable. I might actually understand myself more if I get it out in the open. It had been gnawing at me for the past three weeks. Maybe it was about time that I opened up. I take a deep breath in controlling the tears that are threatening to finally escape and breathe back out preparing myself for this.
“It had been a long day. Too long I guess you can say. I had been feeling really depressed lately and nothing could make me feel better,” I stop yet again trying to decide on how I should say it.
Soon I figure it out and go on, “I had lost numerous friends recently and I felt more alone than ever. The two I had been closest to had replaced me for each other and inside that just killed me. I missed them more than anything, but they couldn’t care less about me, and I knew that I deserved it after how I had treated them the past few months.”
Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I tried to finish my story I had avoided thinking about that night and all the feelings surrounding it, but now I had to embrace it or else I would never go back home. She let me gather myself back together before continuing.
“I know you may feel guilty, but that doesn’t mean that no one wants you. And also you’re feeling too guilty about something that you couldn’t completely control and because of this lack of control you thought of doing something that was irrational,” she tells me.
This desire to control something. Could it be possible? I knew I felt guilty, but was this guilt the cause of my desire to die in a different way than I thought? I thought it was because I didn’t feel good enough, but maybe it was because I couldn’t control my life or fix what I was feeling guilty about. I mean I know it’s not the only reason, but it was certainly a start.
I go on with that night. “I was home alone. I had spent the day with my parents. It was okay, nothing great. I remember coming home. I was a little upset by just life in general and didn’t really feel like doing anything. My parents decided to go out for a little bit, I think it was a trip to the grocery store. I started to feel stressed out and decided to go for a walk it was cool out and I thought it would clear my head. I didn’t stay out there too long because it was getting too cold and I didn’t want my parents questioning me. I went back inside and took a shower to warm up.” I paused and looked up at her, she was the first person I had ever told about this and I knew it was going to be a challenge.
“Go on,” she encourages me as I figure out how to continue with this slightly pathetic story of mine.
“I came back inside. Lately I had been isolating myself, not going online or talking to people in general. I had heard multiple times that I was too depressing to be around and I was tired of being labeled that.”
I stop wondering if she knew what that was like. Being labeled something that you knew you were, but at the same time hating every bit of it.
I start up once again. “I decided to maybe talk to people, but I saw something...” I trail off. This was the worst part to me.
“I saw what I had feared, I was replaced for good. Everything that I had still kept with me seemed tossed away and the people I still cared the most about couldn’t care less about me. I was upset and hurt, but I know just because of two people I shouldn’t determine if I should live or die. But it proved to me that I could easily be forgotten. I mean it made sense to me since some of the most important people could forget me, why couldn’t those who didn’t know me as well forget about me just as easily? I didn’t see the point of living a life that I hated with people that had no desire to remember me.”
Now I was really crying and I couldn’t stop the flow of tears as I let them fall steadily down my cheeks. I couldn’t talk any more the words were stuck in the back of my throat. I didn’t need to explain what happened after that anyway.
She knew the rest of my story, how I had tried to kill myself and my parents came home to find the bathroom flooding. Eventually reaching my half-dead body in the bathroom with the tub overflowing with water that was tinted red with my blood. How they called 9-1-1 as they kept me alive, then an ambulance arriving with paramedics that put IVs in. Recovering in a hospital and realizing that I had failed once again. Then being sent here and questioned until I was finally able to figure out what went wrong. It all came crashing in and it was more than I could bear.
But before I can completely breakdown, she speaks up, “Thank you, for finally opening up to me.”
I look up at her, she seems happy that a part of my rough exterior has been broken away, but we both knew we had a long way to go before I could be considered sane again.
“I think that’s enough for today,” she tells me as she gets up from her leathered worn out armchair. We walk out the door together and leave Room “B” behind us, at least for today. She takes me to my “bedroom” and I walk in lying on my bed collapsing from mental exhaustion.
“Everything will work out okay, I promise. And you’ll see that people really do care about you,” she informs me from the door before shutting it and securing it shut behind her.
By the time I think of something to say she is long gone and now the only thing between me and my freedom is the one door that I must overcome to figure out who I am.