Lost Myself

October 3, 2012
I remember the moment the boy walked into my Speech class with a bright orange slip, I already knew. We had been doing group work in class. My group, of course, had been goofing off, with the other girls at my table and I laughing wildly at our silliness and sarcasm. With these girls, I felt elated. The simplicity of our friendship brought me a ridiculous amount of happiness due to the way it outshined everything in the storm that clouded my life at the time, as light always seems brightest following darkness like when you awake in your pitch black bedroom, and must squint and blur the bright lights of the bustling kitchen upon opening your door to prevent burning out your eyes, only to discover, once your eyes adjust, the sky is still black and only a single light is on. My comfort with these girls filled me with joy, for it had been so long since I had felt comfortable with myself, let alone anyone else. They had begun to warm my frozen heart, and though it still hurt, I was no longer numb. I had begun to feel again, have some good day, instead of the stagnant aching nothingness that was ever present in the previous months. I was healing, but it was too late.

I was trying to contain my laughter, at least to the point that I wouldn’t fall out of my chair, when I heard the click of the door opening. I glanced up and saw the office aid march over to my teacher’s desk and give her a councilor’s note. Immediately my elated heart plummeted under the burden of knowing fear. My teacher’s eyes shifted down the slip; skimming its information, then raising their gaze to me. That glance affirmed my fears, but I kept denying it in my head, lying to myself in order to calm my heartbeat that had quickened with terror. The teacher called me to her desk and handed me the note. I stared at it with such intensity, but with my heart pounding in my head and panicked thoughts racing, I found I was completely unable to read. I blinked trying to focus my mind more than my eyes and after a moment I was able to comprehend the words scrawled on the note. I was supposed to report to my counselor's office. There was a big check next to the box that said immediately. I remember thinking the carefree style of the check mark felt completely out of place there, where it marked my impending doom. I looked at the teacher and thanked her with a quick, strained voice. I went back to my table and silently shoved everything into my backpack. The girls at my table asked what the note was about and I told them I didn’t know. As I slung my backpack over my shoulder, one of them looked me in the eye and told me they hoped everything was alright. Their small comment soothed my panic slightly. My heart was still pounding and I still was extremely anxious about what waited for me in the counselor's office, but I felt that maybe, no matter what happen, things would be ok. As I shut the classroom door behind me, I hesitated for a moment, staring at the cheerful red poster on the door and realized my hand that still rested on the doorknob was shaking slightly. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Finally I turned and began to walk at a steady pace. I knew I couldn’t stop what was already set into motion; my only option was to move forward and meet my fate.

When I entered his office, my counselor told me to take a seat. He shut the door behind me, and I recognized this as a bad sign. With the impending doom so close now, the fear was so prominent and strong it caused my brain to buzz with erratic, terror-stricken thoughts. They pulsed in my mind with increasing pressure, wearing on me, threatening to break through with all their insanity. The councilor sat across from me, behind his desk and folded his hands, staring at me steadily for a moment. Finally he said, “XXXXX, we’ve received reports that you’ve been cutting yourself.” I was speechless. My mind screamed a billion things at once: outbursts of denial, honest confessions and attempting explanations, but none reached my lips. There was nothing that could be said. He then informed me that he now had to call my father. Immediately all the secrets and lies that had held up life for the past few months fell apart and with it my world crumbled, crushing me. Even after expecting this I was still shocked to see all my nightmares materialize, and with the fresh impact of surprise added to the stress that had burdened me since I saw the note, I finally broke down. Tears began to pour out of my eyes. For months I had felt the demon of depression growing inside of me like a black hole, consuming me from the inside out, but it was as if until that moment none of it had been real. That was when I first recognized that the demon had taken over and I had become a monster. I sat, in ruins, and listened as the counselor informed my father of my “problem”. During that phone call, it felt as if the remainder of my soul died. I wanted desperately to protect my dad from all this, tortured with the unbearable fact that I was the cause of his pain. I had never intended my self-harm to hurt anyone else, especially not someone I loved, not such an amazing person as my dad.

The moment he learned about my problem, my life and heart shattered, but when I heard the sadness in my father’s voice, I could finally see I had lost myself. When I felt I was only hurting myself, it hadn’t really mattered, but now that my destructive ways affected others, I knew this was not who I wanted to be. From the ruins of it all, I was able to find myself and rebuild my life the right way.

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