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Four years ago, my mother came to the conclusion that I was depressed. Terribly, clinically depressed. Once she had decided this, the next logical decision was that I would need to see a psychologist. She, too, concluded that I was wallowing in a dark and all-consuming depression. So she sent me to a psychiatrist, whose conclusion was becoming all too familiar.
But I wasn’t depressed, not really. I had no reason to be depressed – no reason to be unhappy, really. I had great friends, a great family, great grades: an altogether great life. But apparently trying to kill yourself, despite a great life, sets off some kind of alarm that screams, “DEPRESSED! DEPRESSED!” Who woulda thought?
So Dr. Kellar, the psychiatrist, gave me some kind of pill to keep me not-so-depressed, which I took only once, on the day it was prescribed. Each morning after that, my mother would say, “Don’t forget your medicine!” and I would say, “Got it!” I would then remove one pill from the little orange bottle. This powdery pill would soon meet its most unfortunate fate: a flushing as ceremonious as that of a goldfish gone belly-up. Because I didn’t need that medicine, and I knew it, even if no one else believed me.
About two years ago, after being named team captain of the varsity swim team, all of the greatness got to me once more, at which point I tried to kill myself yet again. But I don’t think I really wanted to kill myself, because if I did, I would have succeeded. I mean, we are so fragile; it is not at all difficult to end your own life. I live in the South, so, not one to defy stereotypes, I share my home with more than one shotgun. It would have taken less than a second to shatter my skull and splatter the wall with the remnants of my brain. But I didn’t even consider that an option; I am far too creative for something so cliché – or I just really don’t want to die.
Anyway, that little episode landed me right back in Dr. Kellar’s office. He had aged a lot in the four years: his hair had turned gray, his blue eyes had sunk into his head, and the lines on his face had turned into bona fide wrinkles.
“What happened?” he asked me softly, in that ‘I now plan on shrinking your head to a more manageable size’ voice, which he had perfected over the course of his long career.
I sighed, “Well, I tried to kill myself, but not really.”
“And what do you mean by that?” he asked, unfazed.
“What do you think I mean by that?” I retorted; his very repetitive questions had grown to annoy me.
“I am not here to think about or judge you, only to help you understand yourself,” he informed me. This was his favorite phrase, a phrase that I had concluded was his mantra. Pretty lame mantra, if you ask me. I mean, what ever happened to the tried and true “carpe diem” or “you can do it!”
I rolled my eyes in that way that oh-so-mature way that sixteen-year-old girls are famous for. Dr. Kellar just stared at me, waiting for me divulge my deepest and darkest secrets. Yeah, he wishes.
So after a lot of questions on the part of Dr. Kellar and a lot of silence on the part of myself, the conclusion was made that my pills were not doing their job to the extent that they should have been – no s*** they weren’t, how could they if I wasn’t taking them? – and I was given oblong blue pills to replace the little circular white ones. I didn’t even bother to take one of these, just introduced the next lucky casualty each morning to its predecessor in that wonderful land known more commonly as ‘the sewers.’
And this daily routine had worked for me. It had worked for me up until about fourteen minutes ago. Because fourteen minutes ago, the greatness of my life had collapsed around me, crumbling into a million pieces and falling into an irreparable pile at my feet. My world was no more, and that, understandably, was too much for me to handle.
At my feet, next to the growing pile of the rubble that was my life, there now rests a less metaphorical piece of hardware. I stare at the gleaming shotgun, think of the game I have killed with it, the pests I have eradicated using its little bullets. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that to pull that trigger one last time will be infinitely easier than trying to reconstruct the broken glass that constitutes the mirror of a life that I live.
But ease does not equate superiority. So now here I stand, on the edge of that proverbial cliff, wondering if it’s time to jump.