My Silent Struggle

November 4, 2009
By , Stafford, VA
At 12 years old, my life started to fall apart. It had been threataning to collapse any moment, but when it really did I felt like there was nothing I could do, that it was all my fault.
Of corse, with that attitude nothing good can happen.
My parents had been divorced since I was eight, but at twelve my mom was getting married. I liked him okay, but still. Imagining your mother married to someone besides your father is awkward and uncomfortable. That besides, I was dealing with the death of my grandmother who I had always been very close to.
It was only natural that my body would react to these kicks in the stomach, kicking me while I was already down.
It started innocently enough. I pushed myself a little too hard at the gym until my muscles screamed in pain and tears pushed up against my eyes from the pain. But the pain felt good- like a relief that, though short, was enough to take my mind away from the emotional pain gnawing away at my insides all the time.
Though that was not nearly an excuse for what I did.
I became addicted to the physical pain- physical pain I could deal with, physical pain I understood. It made more sense to me than staying up until four in the morning, staring up at the stars that once seemed so close, so promising, now looking down at me with cold glares. I used to cry every night, as quietly as I could. I didn't want anyone to know how miserable I really was... how I really felt from day to day.
I don't know where I got the idea, but it was the stupidest one I ever had, including that time I tried to sneak out of my dad's house. But that is another story, one that makes me laugh in retrospect at my own stupidity.
I walked into the bathroom one sleepy Sunday morning. The razor I always left on the side of my bathtub glinted in the florescent bathroom lights, daring me to do something I knew I should not.
Yet I did.
I picked the razor up from where it lay, still wet from the drops of water on the side of the tub, and drew the blade across my wrist, the tiny blue lines spurting red beneath my touch.
It was even better than the over-working out at the gym! A painful smile stretched across my face. I looked at myself in the mirror, the rosy cheeks, light blue eyes, and hair of gold hiding the depression I felt swallowing me whole... and by cutting myself, I now know I was doing nothing but making it worse.
Three months later, on a cold December morning, my mom decided to take us to an indoor pool. By this time, I had wounds inches long, leading up to my elbow, and many more criss-crossing cuts across my upper arms. I tried to tell her that I didn't want to go swimming, that I had cramps, but I hadn't noticed her soft gaze keeping tabs on my subtle harming. She knew my secret... which is a secret that should never be kept.
That afternoon, when my little siblings were laughing and playing in the snow, my mother gestured for me to come into her room.
"Rachael. What can I do to help you?" She said, her voice strained. Her eyes were red. My heart ripped in four different directions- I had just made my mother cry.
I decided that it was time to come clean.
"Yes mama. Please help me." I said, my voice hoarse with words I had kept inside me for too long.
A year later, here I am. I'm doing much better, and every day I still see those scars from those awful months. I still struggle against my depression, and it's a daily uphill battle. But I have to fight it, for my mom, for my stepdad, for my boyfriend... and most of all, for me. Though its been just a little less than a year, my life has changed so much. Now I have my mom on my side, and she helps me defeat my depression.
So many statistics say how many middle school kids cut themselves. For three long months, I was just a figure, a number in the minds of psychiatrists worldwide.
Now I'm learning to live again, and I hope my story gives you hope to take down whatever adversities you may face.

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