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July 2, 2011
By , West Chester, PA
I have committed crimes punishable by life in prison. I have starved, neglected, inured, and attempted to kill people. I have caused permanent psychological damage, yet I have never been in trouble in my life. On paper, I am a great kid, however the cruelty and hatred that lie inside of me is disturbing. The reason I have never been punished for my crimes, is because they were committed against myself, so that apparently makes it ok. I am never good enough, no matter how I try. For a long time, I would wake up every morning, disappointed to be alive, to have to face another life as the fat, ugly, terrible person that I am. Every passing car brought forth the almost overwhelming urge to throw myself in its path, but then the rational part of my brain would remember that odds are, that won’t be deadly. Death seemed to be the only viable option to end the pain of living. When it came down to it, I was tired, and ready to take a fistful of pills, and go to sleep forever, all I wanted was to feel nothing, to make the pain end. When riding in the car, I prayed for a fatal crash so my life could end, and nobody would be mad at me, as they surely would be if I chose to take my own life. I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation/attempts, self-mutilation, anxiety, compulsive behaviors and an eating disorder. I didn’t even want to save myself by going to the hospital; I just wanted to make my mother happy. Seeing my mother cry, and worry if this would be the last time she would see her daughter alive was greater punishment that the marks and letters I was carving into my skin with a razor blade. I used the physical pain from the burn of alcohol in open wounds to distract myself from the emotional feelings I was tired of dealing with.

Though I never lashed out at others, I was ridiculously angry for the duration of most of the lows that I hit. I was angry with myself, for not being perfect, for worrying my parents, for being the fat, ugly weak girl I knew I was. That anger translated into sadness, and cutting, besides shielding me from emotions I no longer wanted to deal with, it gave me yet another to direct my anger and aggression back towards myself. I hated myself for reaching a point where my calm, capable mother, the women who raised two infants without the benefit of a husband admitted that not even could protect me from myself. At a later time, she admitted one of her biggest fears being that should I manage to somehow render myself unconscious, she would be unable to save me, because I am too big for her to move. Embarrassed that my obese, 118-pound frame could worry my mother so worried, I immediately downed 4 of the laxatives leftover from my younger sister’s colonoscopy. When I was admitted to the hospital, I had not kept any food down in over a week, another bi-product of the eating disorder I have kept hidden for so long. I never ate unless forced, and even when forced, I stuck a toothbrush down my throat to induce vomiting. Being the paranoid person that I am, I also took way too many laxatives to ensure that nothing even resembling food stayed in my body. It was, and still is a challenge to eat, both physically and mentally.

I still am disgusted with myself when I am not hungry, but even more disgusted when I do what I want, because deep down, I know the pain and worry that I am causing the people that care about me. From consuming no food for so long, my body still sometimes panics, and rejects whatever I had attempted to eat if it is too much. Learning to love myself, to take care of myself has been an ongoing challenge, probably one that will still be a part of me years from now. Recognizing myself as a decent human, worthy of respect is going to be my life’s work. I understand that coming out of depression is a long road, and relapse is very possible, but I have learned, and grown as a person. I understand that I will make mistakes, and just because I get a B on a test doesn’t mean that I have wasted my parent’s time by existing just to fail them. There will always be reminders of where I came from, my worn down back molars, scars, and the word ‘failure’ carved into my abdomen. My ribs and hips will still stick out, and my esophagus will always be burnt, my body damaged from the nutrition I refused to consume. I am ashamed to let others see what I have done to myself. Recently, I cried when shopping for a swimsuit, I began sobbing upon seeing the damage I had caused to my own body, and from the regret that I still looked fat, even with the sharpness of my exposed bone, unmasked by body fat. Because of things I did, I will probably never be able to have a child because of the wild imbalance in my hormones that the eating disorder caused. I will always have scars from where I cut, and occasional neurological misfires resulting in involuntary movements, caused by the potentially fatal overdose of stimulants that I took. Maybe someday, I will be able to attend a family brunch, and not be embarrassed when I can’t eat anything. I will triumph, survive, and maybe someday, have the strength to say I’m pretty, and not be lying through my teeth. Through out all of these trials I have faced, one positive thing has stuck.

I like to think that I am weak for being depressed, because as far as I am concerned, I have no right to be depressed. I come from a middle-class family, I have everything I need, and many of the things I want, and my mother would do pretty much anything for me, but I know that that isn’t true. I have played volleyball on a broken ankle because I didn’t want to cause anyone any trouble. I have faced my ultimate fear and enemy to appease others worry, saving my own life in the process. I wrote this, finally admitting to myself that I do indeed have problems that only I can fix. Though most of the positive things I have done in my life have been for the benefit of others, it is a start. I want to get better so my family can move on, and not have to worry about finding someone to babysit their teenaged daughter who can’t be trusted alone, but though those motives may be admirable, it is not going to get me anywhere in my recovery. I need to save myself for me, and no one else, for once, I will be number one.

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AddieDay said...
Aug. 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm
Beautiful. Depressing, but beautiful. You aren't weak at all; this article proves it. It must take an amazing amount of strength to write with such truth and clarity.
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