He Saved My Life

January 22, 2012
By
His name was Dr. Russell Gates. I started seeing him when I was eighteen because my mother thought I was acting strange. Turns out, I was depressed. Funny, I thought I was just a little sad. At first, I dreaded seeing him every Saturday morning. He just asked me questions about my life and I would just talk. It didn’t feel like anything was being accomplished. After about three months of seeing this guy he started asking me why... why did something affect me so much? Instead of being one of those pompous doctors who think they know everything and push their vast knowledge of life down your throat, he let me come to my own realizations. By the time I turned nineteen, I had let myself realize that I was depressed and that he was helping me.

Some days were worse than others, but overall I just wasn’t very happy. I wasn’t as bad as a Debbie Downer, or a Negative Nancy, I was still me; my friends didn’t notice it. Except for my closest friend, Nora. She knew I was pretending. I wouldn’t laugh as hard at her corny jokes, things annoyed me too easily, and I wasn’t in the mood to talk about what was bothering me. Because I felt pathetic. Nothing really of importance bothered me, it was just little things bottled up that I couldn’t let go. Something that happened months ago, still had an effect on me. So she would just give me her concerned look as if asking “need to talk today?” I would just look down and she would understand.

Nora was the friend who I drunk dialed when I was nineteen and ready to end my life. Thankfully, I wasn’t at school half a country away, it was winter break. After Christmas, after New Years, in that lull of sadness that no more exciting holidays were coming up except Valentine’s Day, but I was alone. So I drank alone. Both my parents were out and the house was left to me, so I snuck downstairs just to do something. I don’t really know why, I wasn’t having one of my bad days but I was somewhat bored. “Beer before liquor you’re gonna get sicker” went through my head. So I steered clear of the beer; headed for the vodka. Sip after sip, turned into drink after drink and before I knew it I had moved on to something else. Then I moved on to another something else and before I knew it, I had had a tasting of our entire bar in the finished basement.

A feeling of sadness swept over me as I sat on the floor looking at the bottles that used to be completely. More full of happiness, happiness that I took away from this world; happiness that will never be able to get back to people who deserve it. I didn’t deserve it. I struggled up the first flight of stairs and slumped across the first floor to find the handheld phone and grabbed it. Out of the office, across the den, and to the second flight of stairs that leads to the bedrooms; into mine? No I went to my parent’s. Passed the dresser, passed the bed and into their bathroom. Open the medicine cabinet without looking myself in the eye in the mirror. I don’t even know which bottles I took, I just took them. I downed all the contents of one bottle and couldn’t swallow anymore so I threw the bottles against the wall and picked up the phone, dialing Nora’s number; 867-5309. I didn’t have to say anything but she knew she had to come over.

When she finally found me, I was about to fall asleep on the bathroom floor. When she saw the one empty bottle of pills she laughed a little.
“You tried to off yourself on multivitamins? We’ve got an Einstein here” she giggled.
She picked up my head and just cradled me brushing back my hair and telling me encouraging lines. I don’t really remember exactly what she said since I was half asleep, or passing out; I’m not sure which exactly happened, I just remember waking up the next day feeling like crap.
“I’m happy you’re still alive” was the only thing she had to say to me. I got up and gave her a hug, and reassured her that I was okay, I would see my psychiatrist today, and she could leave.
***

I didn’t even have to sit down, he knew something had happened. We somehow ended up in the completely cliché psychiatrist sitting in chair with legs crossed, pen and pad in lap and hand, and patient laying down in the couch next to them. I explained what happened to the best of my ability, but I was still baffled by the experience myself. Dr. Gates didn’t say anything, not even an occasional “hmm” or annoying nod, he just sat attentively and listened; letting me figure it out by myself. And I did…eventually after what felt like hours of pouring my heart out to him. All he said was “It gets better” and the sound of his voice, his confidence, and the fact that he actually listened to me, just made me believe him. For once, I felt like myself again.





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