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I have so much to say but I lack the talent. Some people have it easy; they write or paint or speak their pain. It’s a lot harder to get it out when you can’t even bring yourself to talk. So I guess I’ll just start writing it all down. She says it might make me feel better. I hope she's right.

The first thing you should know about me is that I’m perfect. Well, that’s what everyone says. I’m the bright, shining hope of my family. Their only daughter. Every day I wake up to my parents getting ready for work at a job they hate so they can give me everything they never had. So I feel like I owe it to them to be what they want. In this family it means nothing short of perfection. That sounds a bit ridiculous even to me considering how dysfunctional my family really is. But I suppose infidelity is acceptable as long as no one knows about it. That way no one can judge them.

After a few polite words have been spoken my day really gets started. School. I find the whole thing a bit ridiculous. Two thousand students all thinking, saying, and wearing the same thing. Like carbon copies or like some strange alien invasion. For six hours my brain works on autopilot, answering questions, pretending to care, all while secretly thinking of much darker things. The only time I snap back into reality is when I hear a mention of college. In a few months I’ll be mailing in my applications and forever deciding my future. I’ll either make my parents proud, fulfill every dream they’ve ever had for me or I’ll completely disappoint them by not getting in. Quite honestly I don’t know which would be worse.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of college. A place where I would learn and be challenged and grow. But recently it’s all started sounding so ridiculous. It’s a flawed system. Too many kids with not enough room, too many rich parents buying their kids’ way in. Even when you do get it, it’s all a joke anyway. I’ve stopped seeing the point. I want more than anything to just close my eyes and go to sleep. To stop caring about what I have to do tomorrow or what I should have done yesterday. To let myself be carried away by the waves of sadness that well up inside throughout the day that make me leave the classroom and cry in a bathroom. It’s hard pretending to care. Hard and exhausting.

When you’re little they say whenever you have a problem you should go to an adult your trust. So I tried looking for one that might understand. It was much harder than I thought. See, all the adults in my life are accustomed to seeing me in a certain light. I’m the straight A student, the club president, the perfect dancer. Whenever I got close to telling someone what I was feeling I would look into their eyes and realize that they didn’t really want to know what was wrong with me. They didn’t want to hear that how every part of me felt like it was burning, how hard it was to pull myself out of bed in the morning, how everything from eating to reading was difficult. I kept it to myself, only letting it out at night when everyone was asleep. Only then could I sob with the intensity of a child being dragged away from its parents. I would rock back and forth crying. Crying for everything, for my parents, whose lives I had ruined by forcing them to give up their dreams, for the children who had nothing but found a reason to smile more often than I did, and for myself, who was being pulled into a life I had never planned. The only thing that made it better was bringing out that little blade. A couple of quick pinches and it all felt all right again. It was what helped me sleep at night.

I know, it makes no sense. How can pain take away pain? Trust me, it can. The thing is, I have no reason to be sad. I have a home, two loving parents, food, clothes, and four fully functioning limbs. That’s much more than a lot of people. I felt guilty for being sad. It was like I hadn’t earned the right to be depressed. So I gave myself one.

I don’t know when I decided I needed to stop. Maybe it was when that report came on the news about the girl who killed herself. I’m not going to lie, I’d thought about it a few times. But something always stopped me. But that day when I was watching the news with my mom and she talked about how selfish that girl had been, to give up everything she had and leave her parents wondering what they did wrong, well I guess it made me angry. I wanted to yell DON’T YOU SEE WHAT SHE FELT? It was like no one thought to ask “I wonder what she was going through.” I didn’t want people talking about me like that when I died.

The next day I finally found someone to talk to. I waited until most of the students left the school then slowly made my way up the steps towards the office of my school psychologist. I stood outside her office for a long time pretending to check my phone for something, trying to make my mind up about whether or not to go in. She eventually made that decision for me when she opened her door, took one look at me, and invited me in.

The next hour was a bit of a blur. I talked about everything, how I couldn’t sleep, or eat, or think. How I longed to feel nothing. It was easier than I thought it would be; I guess it had been building up inside for a long time. After that I went into her office a few times a week. As she says, it’s the type of service my parents pay for anyway. I’d like to say that everything’s changed since I decided to get better. That nothing hurts anymore. That I wake up every morning and don’t wish I hadn’t. But I can’t; it’s much too early to tell whether or not this is going to work.

I know it’s been a short story. You probably have a lot of questions. How did this start? Why don’t my parents notice? Do I have friends, a boyfriend? What do I plan to do with my life? But the thing is, I don’t really want to talk about any of that. The whole point of this assignment was to talk about what I need to talk about. And I think I pretty much said it all. That’s not to say that this is over. Pretty soon I’ll be back here, talking about my illness all over again. But there are a few things I need to understand first. For now, I’ve said what I needed to say and you’ve heard what you needed to hear. I’m sick, I’m tired, and I was close to giving up. But I think I’m getting better. I guess you can never be quite sure.





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