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My Other Half
I walked down the long hallway and came into a large room with windows covered in pictures – they were colorful and vibrant; the way kids should be. I felt like it was all a lie. Everyone is in pain here. I saw an older kid punch a wall with his one unbroken hand. I walked into the room, my hair is a mess and these hospital clothes truly make me feel mental. They brought me some dinner, egg rolls and rice without any silverware. I was still just staring at the windows, soaking in the sadness that was pouring out of the paintings.
The first girl I met was sad, she wasn’t just a soft type of sad like when you didn’t do your homework or something. She was sad like a mountain. Her sadness instantly overpowers the entire room. It’s not her fault. I was rushed to my room and sat down on the bed, my home for the next 7 weeks. I ran to the bathroom and three staff followed me and stared. I just needed to wash my face. I looked at myself in the mirror and I am horrified of what I have become. I don’t even know myself anymore. Some dude yells that it’s group time. All the broken teenagers pile into one gathering room. She sits across from me – that sad girl. My soul hurts, something has pained her so tremendously that I am scared to look into her eyes.
Group was something about why we hate ourselves – about public schools and stuff. I don’t care, I never expected a place like this to save mistake kids. The rest of my first day was completely a blur. I remember a doctor handing me some PJ pants and a couple of pills. I probably laid in my bed for an hour after lights out – just making up scenarios in my head. I almost forgot every one of us misfits get a roommate. My bed was against the wall, there was another bed closer to the door. It was empty. I lifted my head, then quickly laid back down when I heard footsteps. She walked in. Of course, she is my roommate. Now I will be sleeping in her aura of misery. She saw that I was awake and said nothing, laid down and turned away from me. Another hour passed and the next. Can’t sleep.
“I like your smile,” she said to me. Almost scared me straight out of my hospital pants. “Wish I had one like yours.”
The next couple of days were all the same. Breakfast, group, snack, group, lunch, group, dinner, group, snack, TV time, and then bed. Everything was going okay for my first time being here. Today she wore a short sleeve shirt. You could see her body blanketed in her addiction, the only thing that helped the never-ending anxiousness mixed with crippling fatigue. The perfect mixture for optimal hopelessness. Group was going as usual but this time she had to walk out, shaking and warm tears trickling down her pale face. It was the first time that I saw her have a panic attack. They seemed to get worse as the days went on. We only talked at night, when we were alone and could finally let out our true thoughts. She was lonely like me. When she talked, her voice was low and rough, like she had been screaming all day even though she rarely talked.
One day I woke up and she wasn’t in her bed. I was confused as she usually slept in and it was quite early. I thought that maybe she had gone to grab her meds or was talking to one of the staff so I stared out of the window as I waited for her. The closest buildings that you could see were part of a shopping mall and you could barely make out the names but you could see the outlines of the cars zooming on the highway. I did this every morning. Looking and hoping that one day soon I’ll be out there, at that mall or on that highway getting away from here. She still hadn’t returned after a while so I just went about my day. I got ready, went out to group and did everything that I was expected to do. But today felt different. Normally I’m depressed but in that moment, I felt kind of normal, even though I hadn’t experienced that feeling in a very long time. The day went by fine and when it was time to return to my bed, I remembered that I hadn’t seen her all day. The only person that I had a real connection with during my time here, and I forgot that she was missing.
“Where is she?” I asked the staff, my voice shaking with concern.
“I’m sorry, who -,” They said confused, even though the question was so clear.
“WHERE IS MY ROOMMATE?”
“You never had a roommate, you are in an isolated room due to your personalities.”
“What personalities? I’m just here for a little depression. I’m fine.”
The staff began whispering amongst themselves, giving me concerning glances as they spoke. I couldn’t here all of it except a few words.
I broke down. They escorted me to the panic room as I waited for my clinician to come in and talk to me. She told me everything and was brutally honest. The good thing, my meds are working. The bad thing, they were given to me to treat my multiple personalities. The only person I had in there was just a glitch in my head. My inner self had escaped through all the cracks in my brain and showed herself as a real person, who I really am. How could I not have known? Why didn’t they tell me sooner? They gave me some more pills to calm me down and help me sleep. This time it was completely quiet as I laid in my bed, the only one that was in the room.
I woke up again like all the other days and stared out the window, knowing now that I wouldn’t be getting out as soon as I had expected. I did my daily routine, except now I didn’t have her with me. They talked to me again about what my plan would be to recovery. I didn’t want to get better. I wanted her back. She was the only person I had, the only one that understood the pain and thoughts that were rushing through my head. I can’t just let her go. So, I waited.
I hid my pills in my cheek, I pretended that everything was normal. Until finally she came back to me. Oh, how I missed her. She was the same as when she left, those sad eyes staring at me. We kept it up as long as we needed to. She hid her panic attacks and I pretended to be happy. Everybody was fooled and one day during my meeting with my clinician she gave me a release date. Four days. I had four days to say my good-byes, prepare my crisis plan, and get ready to be released back into the world, a whole, single, new person, or so they thought. But she came with me. She followed me to the car, came with me up the stairs to my bedroom, and laid in bed with me as I took a nap. She was the only person that I cared about. They would never find out about her. She was mine, she is me. And she will stay with me forever.