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A Series: Mental Disorders
My name is Olivia . I live in Flemington New Jersey and I am 17 years old. I have lived in Flemington my whole life. My life has consisted of softball, friends, travel, academics and family. Softball is something I have pursued since I was 5 and continue to do through college. I attend Hunterdon Central Regional High School and will continue to go on to The University of Scranton to study Special Ed Counseling.
As a senior in high school, my dream is to become a special ed counselor. I want to be able to help kids who have disabilities and be able to talk to them when they are having either a rough day or week. As hard as this job may be and the stress I will probably be put under, this is something I want to do. I love to work with kids who have disabilities because I overall think it is interesting but I also love how I am able to make them happy even if they were having a bad day.
The faint sunshine reflects off the mirrors, the wind sways the curtains and the bird chirps vibrate through the darkened house. Millions of picture frames filled the walls, smile by smile, the frames continue down the hall. The passports he used for travel, the cigars he used to smoke, and the Arizona iced tea he loved dearly, still in their normal spots. Airfare tickets, train passes and concert VIP passes that have never been or never will be used on the wooden coffee table. Up the creaky stairwell, three rooms stand ahead. Up the stairs to the left was the master bedroom. The left side of the bed was always made, the blue razors clean and the toothbrush never touched. Little bits of dust piled up under the nightstand with a picture of Luke and his dad. Down the hall to Luke’s room, the door had not been open in weeks. His headphones have been stuck in his ears, listening to Sam Smith on repeat at full volume. The hum of silence is followed by his sniffles and tears being soaked up by the pillow. Without sleep, his eyes are bloodshot, unhappy and silent, he isolates himself.
The struggle never settles down for Luke and his family. Luke is a 14 year old boy who suffers from severe depression. Depression is a very serious mental disorder where the individual always think that they are worthless and there is no point of life. Often the individual will not eat, interact with others or find any point in anything.The trip of Luke’s dreams, never to be lived with his best friend. The loss took a toll on him and his mom, but him more seriously. Luke suddenly became depressed when his father had passed away in a car crash. His death was very sudden. When his dad was coming home from work, he was in a rush to get home to get ready for an eventful weekend with his son. They had planned a hike to experience the beautiful scenery of Arizona. Those unmarked plane tickets, train passes and VIP concert passes remained on the counter, untouched and never used. Eventually collecting dust, his mom had put them in a box of his dad’s belongings.
3 years later
Luke and his mom do daily activities together. Silence to her is as loud as his cries. He was not okay and she was terrified that he may never be okay. Depression is not a disease you can just get rid of, it is a mental block that for some people may never be cured. Luke was constantly worked up, turning tears into flames of anger. School was his hidden place, he was not who he normally was at home. It was as if his whole life was a light switch, turning it on and off, he was able to hide his feelings to his friends. Home was a place he felt he could show his feelings, but school he was reserved. His friends had not one clue of all the pain he was going through. The bells rang as normal, he took his tests ( barely passing) and walked to and from school. The mirrors became foggy as he could no longer recognize his dimple and eyes.
One odd morning, the world seemed still. No breeze, no moving sun, no noises. The date was August 2, 2017. The 4 year anniversary of his father’s death. This day was always a tornado of emotions for Luke. This year, his mom and him decided to take a trip. A trip that Luke had always wanted to do; hike in Arizona. His mom thought this could be a great trip to remember his father, but it was nothing but the worst. Luke’s depression had never been so bad before this day. He refused to get out of the car to see the scenery, he screeched and cried for hours at a time. He hit his mother across the face for trying to get him out of the car. This was the breaking point for his mom. Rain clouds began to storm over, the winds whipped through the air to shake the car, the rain poured as hard as his cries.
“This is it, Luke, you need serious help,'' said the mom.
Luke’s mom had never had such a bad encounter with him, she never knew how much he needed counseling until now. She decided to call him as soon as she got home.
“Hello Dr. Grove, this is Lauren Taylor, Luke Taylor’s mom,” she said as she paced around the kitchen table. Her hands were shaking continuously through her discussion.
“Hello Lauren, what can I help you with today?”
“My son Luke is suffering from severe depression. His father passed away years ago and has not been the same since. I tried to dedicate a hike to his father which he had dreamed of doing with him one day and he was very bad. He was screaming and actually hit me! I was in shock, and did not know what else to do. Please help my son and I” she said as she held back the heavy tears in her eyes.
“Not a problem, come into my office at 8 am tomorrow, I will see you then”
The next day
“Hello Luke, my name is Dr. Grove. How are you feeling today?”
“I am okay”
“Do you have anything on your mind, Luke”
Luke refused to talk to Dr. Grove and did not want to show his true feelings. He had been hiding them afraid of how the doctor may react. Dr. Grove had an idea. She had Luke’s mom go to his room to see if there were any drawing/ writings that may be able to show her how Luke is truly feeling.
The dark blue walls of Luke’s room seemed to scare his mom. No light was let in, the crimples in the sheets could not be flattened out. Papers, pencils and markers left scattered across the scratched brown desk. Next to a lamp with a burnt light bulb as of two weeks ago, there was a small black journal. Confused by this mysterious journal, she hesitated to pick it up. Her hand slightly shaking, she grabbed it and opened the book to read. What she found was shocking. She knew right away that she had to bring this to the counselor.
“ Dear Journal,
The roses are red and the violent are blue
Why can’t life be as perfect as you
Suffering and pain are all I feel
Slippery as a banana peel
I don’t want to let go
But I have hit an all time low
Goodbye world and everything in it
Wish I could say I’d miss you a bit.”
Dr. Grove’s eyes stayed the same as she read, not one second of eye opening or sudden shock. Luke sat in front uneasy, with no clue as to what she was reading. As she finished, she read it out loud to him. Tears from his pale blue eyes streamed down his face. Chest rising and falling rapidly, Luke had broke down. He was sad, alone, scared. To Luke, his father was all he wanted to become. He was his best friend, the protector of him and his mother. There was no flaw. His father loved the views from the top of the mountain peaks, felt free all the time and enjoyed life always. “Why would God take such a perfect person from this world? What did he do wrong to deserve to be taken? What did I do wrong to lose him?” cried Luke.
Dr. Grove was insanely happy at the fact that Luke began to speak, which meant she could start treatment.
Today is August 2, 2019 and Luke is 2 years into his counseling program. Luke suffered from severe depression due to the sudden loss of his best friend, his father. Depression is a mental disorder that takes time, counseling and medications to control and overcome. Luke has been taking antidepressants and visiting his counselor now twice a week. He has learned to be more controlling of his feelings and has realized that life has a purpose and it is not to be taken for granted.
Luke relates to many other kids around the world who suffer from this disease. It takes the strength of the individual and the family to help them overcome what could take their life away. Depression is a topic that needs to be taken more seriously as many teens are started to become depressed due to various reasons.
Dad, I miss you every day. You were taken from me but now I need to face reality and let you be at peace. Not a day will go by of me missing your strive for adventure and contagious laugh. You will forever hold a place in my heart, my heart will continue to beat until it is my time to be with you. You went too soon, but that does not mean that I should as well. You left a significant mark on my life, and now it is time to put the journal down. Never to be reminded of the horrible thoughts once in my head. May you rest in peace forever, I love you Dad.”
The slashed walls, shards of glass beneath the destroyed windows, sudden lights turn away.
The dark alleyways of Trenton, New Jersey were the worst of them all. Growing up in this town took a toll on an individual's physical and emotional appearance. Quivering, scared, in a state of shock, Christopher sat on the cold, darkened corner of the alleyway. Stray cats, broken Miller Lite bottles and shredded identification cards surrounded his terrified 12 year old body. Life was not always like this for the young boy.
Chris was born on September 17th into a family. The parents were loving, compassionate, and kind, or so it seemed. Flowers decorated the house, candles were lit spreading its scent, framed soft smiles from the family hung on the walls, all in a little blue house right outside the center of Princeton, New Jersey. The yellow bicycle Christopher loved so dearly was accompanied by his mothers pink one.
Thee puffy pink clouds surrounded the house, pierced by the sunshine through. Christopher, his mom, and dad loved to eat outside on summer nights. The juicy watermelon and strawberries on the side of his dad’s famous steak and grilled corn on the cob. Followed by movie night and a late bedtime. One night was different.
Christopher had fallen asleep on the couch watching the “End Game”. A sudden bang of a pan on the floor and he had risen from his deep sleep. Emptiness in the kitchen and on the sofa next to him, he wandered to find his parents. Upstairs was clear so down the creaky stairs he went. The lights out, he could not see a single thing. His basement was considered terrifying to him, he was never allowed down there. A peak of light was found through the crack of an old wooden door. His hand grabbed the knob as the door was swung open from the inside. His parents staring at him, picked him up and tucked him into bed. Although in bed, his mind was awake. “Why were they down there? Why were they in such a hurry to get me out of there? Did I just scared them? Are they hiding something?” His mind spiraling out of control, his eyes finally shut for the night.
Sunshine penetrating through the light green shutters brightening his whole room. Tiptoeing down the stairs, his bare feet went cold from the wooden floors. His mom honking, he ran in the car headed to his grandmas house. Christopher went to his grandmas house 3 times a week while both his parents were at “work”. Grandma was his best friend, she took him for lunch all the time, went to the park and told stories. The connection between his grandma was way stronger than any other. Playing a board game, Chris told him grandma about what had happened last night with his parents. Confused, grandma had never seen the door in the basement before. Getting in the car, Christopher wanted to show his grandma the door. The driveway was not empty when they arrived. His parents cars were still home. Step by step, she followed Christopher to the door. The light was on and had quickly turned off. Opening the door, Christopher was shocked to the point of passing out.
His mom and dad had been producing crystal meth in the basement for years. Keeping the secret hidden from Christopher and the rest of the family, they were finally caught. Chris had learned about meth in Health class and knew it was very bad.
“This can not be true. This is not real” Grandma had been in disbelief. She knew her daughter would not do this. Christopher never wanted to see his parents again. Grandma not on his side, was blinded by the lies and stuck by the side of her daughter. Tears streaming down his face, his face as red as flames, he busted through the front door to his bike. The yellow color seemed to have faded, as did his happiness. He biked until he felt far enough. A 12 year old out in the world alone was never ideal. He was lost, terrified and even more alone. Tubes, smoke, and bubbling liquid images swirled in his mind. Feeling dizzy, and alone, he fell asleep next to a tree in an unknown town. Liquids bubbling in tubes with a strong scent, an explosion destroying his house, he had woken up sweating. His body stayed still, his eyes wide open. Christopher had been experiencing symptoms on PTSD. PTSD stands for post traumatic stress disorder and come about when an individual witnesses a stressful event that occurs nightmares, a feeling of isolation, and anger. During a time of experiencing symptoms of PTSD, the individual is often very frightened and has no idea what is happening to their body. In this case, realizing his parents dealt drugs, he was a candidate of PTSD.
The trees were spinning, his heartbeat was felt in his head, and the outside world became quiet to just a buzz. The smoke like colored sky was above, shatters and screams in the distance. Stumbling to his feet, he got on the very pale yellow bike. The crack of the rusty chains echoed into the open town of what was known as Trenton. The 12 year old boy had no idea of the stereotypes of Trenton. Biking around, looking for a safe place, he stumbled across a big brown building with the sign “ALL BOYS ORPHAN HOME”. His parents completely out of mind, he entered. The stench of odor filled the halls. Wallpaper was slightly ripped off all the way to the front desk, seated behind it was a man fast asleep. Quietly tapping on the desk he asked to check himself in.
“How dare you wake me from my sleep you little asshole.” He threw a key at him, “Go to room 101, you and 7 other boys are there.” said the man.
Extremely anxious, the cold wind whispered into the building. As he entered the room, it was evident the new boys were not liked. The boys came over, looking him up and down and let him go to sleep.
The faint sunshine could not shine through the brick building and the boys were riled up. Constantly hitting each other and screaming, many boys were put into a “time out” room. Christopher was terrified and often sat in the corner. Tears ran down his baby cheeks and hit the floor. He wanted to be back with grandma. That night he made a plan.
He got out of the building and took him bike and headed home. Not knowing the towns and where he was headed, it was very hard for him to find his way. Tired, he found a small alleyway to settle. The slashed walls, shards of glass beneath the destroyed windows, sudden lights turn away. He did not know what to do. Stray cats surrounded him.
His nightmares occured yet again. “Yo, you got any meth?” yelled a 19 year old man towards Chris at 3 am. Flashbacks of the meth making in his basement, he stared without making a sound.
“Okay you asshole. Go home you're just a little kid, no business being out on the streets” said the man. So he eventually found his way home where just his grandma was. “They took them. The Police. They took mommy and daddy.” grandma cried. Showing no emotion, Chris gave her a hug. He was safe back at home, but shaky. Grandma spent the rest of time with him while he was screaming in the middle of the night, constantly sleepwalking and waking up each hour. She was often awoken terrified of what he may be doing. She decided to get him to see someone right away.
Counselor, Dr. K, had Christopher talk about the finding of his parents producing meth, to hims running away, to living in the horrible home, to being terrified of the outside world of Trenton, to finding his way all the way back home. Telling this story made Chris need to stop, stutter and cry very often. He was broken. A little 12 year old boy was suffering from PTSD because of his parents. He was ordered to see his counselor for at least 4 times a week as his symptoms stayed very prominent. His nightmares started to dwindle, and his constant nightly waking were limiting to only about 1 or 2 a night. He became very close with his counselor and so did his grandma. Grateful for him, Chris often gave him little gifts to show him his appreciation. Dr. K became his new fatherly figure.
As to what happened to his mom and dad? The last Chris had heard was they were stuck in a mental hospital. They were brought into jail where they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. As they realized how badly they ruined their family they became depressed and psychotic. They will spend forever in a mental hospital for their behavior.
Christopher was a 12 year old boy who suffered from PTSD as his parents were not who he had always thought or who they always pretended to be. He is now doing well and feels safe in his own home. Trenton area added to his PTSD but was truly brought on by his own family. This is not a disease to be taken lightly, Dr. K once said “ PTSD is a disorder that is terrifying. You are terrified of many things that have caused you harm you never thought could happen. Anyone you see could have a form of PTSD so be kind to others around you.”
PTSD is a serious mental illness where the individual is typically scared to take on daily activities due to a traumatic event that occurred in their life. People may never recover from such a harsh experience while other with years of counseling learn to appreciate life and can live fear free.
Blank white walls surrounding the girl. A feeling of lost and unsurety filled the room. Flickers of the lights with the windows being smacked with rain. Wires attached to every inch of her body, and the slow but steady heart rate machine on full volume. Doctors swarming the unconscious body, her heart rate drops, to almost flat line that is saved by the words “CLEAR!”. The shock awoken her 95 pound body, gasping for air, her crystal blue eyes widened. The room spun around, blur to the clarity of the world. Breathing the air once again by herself, she stayed put in the hospital bed for weeks until her body was strong enough. Almost decaying, she is injected with antibiotics to make her strong once again. The television was never able to show reality TV shows, so Nicolette was stuck with the basic news and weather channel. The click of the hospital beds rolling down the halls on th tile floor, the gasps and cries from family members, the beep of the monitors surrounding each bed. No one chose to be here, but some people had more of a choice than others. The tears rolling down her cheeks, she wonders, was all of this worth it in the end? Never for a second believing she had done this to her own body, that life she once had slipped through her fingers and here she was. 95 pounds laying scared, cold and frail in the hospital bed, realizing she had almost just costed her whole life.
Yesterday, she realized she had moved on to a type of eating disorder called Bulimia. Bulimia is an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. She was struggling through life each day, but the sun still rose through the gentle pink clouds. Flying, the birds passed the sun looking like a black shadow in the beautiful sky. The pinky tint turned to a foggy smoke. The pouring rain attacked the windows on the little yellow house. The sign “The Brightens” on their mailbox was swept away by the intense winds. The broken family sign seemed corresponding for their life. The sign had been repaired years ago after the hard ball destroyed it during a light game of baseball with her neighbors. Laughter and excitement radiates off of the 7 year old bodies. Back to a happier time, when the chaos was worth it, and the destruction was for a good laugh and only a couple bucks of repair. But that laughter, love and pure joy could not last a whole life time. The thud of the 103 pounds hitting the ground took the breath away from her family. The food in the garbage that was wasted, never to be eaten. The dog happy as can be by this disease she had. Days and days of constant arguing and crying, she never knew she was going to be in that hospital tomorrow. The day felt dull. Her escape from the world was her little diary, ripped apart from the torture and pain she felt. Distressing the pages one by one, needing to get her feelings out, they were instantly found in the trash to hopefully never be read by another pair of eyes. Each day earlier the writings were calmer, the days went on of writings and they became worse.
The year went on and the leaves slowly fell off the trees. She learned that starvation was not the only thing she could do. She was hungry at times, but could not risk the fatness in her stomach. The grippings on her stomach and sweats from the hunger made her go insane. She needed to do something to please her famished body, but not to increase its size. She thought maybe she could eat the food if it left right away. Harsh vomiting in her bathroom, the faucet was the distraction she needed. The ear plug from the purge. Crying, she had no idea what was happening. Her dainty little hands wiped the tears from her precious blue eyes as she stood in the mirror. 105 pounds and 5 foot 4 inches tall was what she was faced with. The rogues of her ribs peering through the pale skin and her wrist small enough to fit her own hand around it, she stood there still unhappy. The desire to be skinny was a disease. She wanted more. Her knees slowly caved in and her body shook from the stress. To get her feelings out, she wrote in her diary.
Another week down and I only lost 2 pounds. I still feel fat, I am still so ugly. Why was I not blessed to be a perfect model? I need to look like they do. Samantha, Lauren and Amanda all went out to eat today, they can eat without looking fat. I am hiding. I feel my insides decay from the lies I have been telling. This body is not safe, I am not Nicolette, I do not know who I am. The world makes me sad. The world makes me want to change. But how can I do that when I can not speak my mind. I want to tell everyone what is going on, but it is as if duck tape is strangled around my mouth as I plan to do so. The breath is taken right from me, frozen, I can not do anything. What do I do? I hate the amount of tears I cry, but in the end, at least I look good.I do not understand why he broke up with me. Sure I may be different but I am looking so much better. The skinny twigs I have now look very flattering. He promised to never change, to never let go and to love infinitely. He broke that. I may have changed but I thought he would like what I changed to. He is the one that changed for the worse. ”
Nicolette suffered from anorexia, a disorder where an individual feels they are not perfect and they need to starve themselves in order to create the “perfect body” for themselves. She believed that in order to be noticed and beautiful, she needed to look like all the models she saw in magazines and on the television. The thought of food once intrigued her, but now she has trained her body to push it aside. She had 3 very close friends, Lauren, Samantha and Amanda who all loved to go to lunch. As she started to talk to roommates for Alabama, she noticed she was never as skinny as the other girls. She felt like she was too fat and needed to change before her freshman year started. She thought a balanced diet would be too hard so she decided to neglect food in general. She typically would have pieces of bread, black coffee, saltine crackers and maybe some soup once in a while. Low calorie consumption is very important. She figured that would be the quickest way to lose the weighted she “needed” to lose.
Behind all the perfections in her life, there was something dark. She was hurting and did not tell anyone in order to keep her reputation alive. Seeming normal, she was always smiling, laughing and hanging out with her friends. Before the stress of college, before the constant worrying, before the comparisons, she was happy. The sun glossed her blue eyes and brought out a true purty in her soul.
Nicolette was an average 18 year old girl. She attended Florida Regional High School, was one of the most popular girls and had a boyfriend of 2 years who was the starting quarterback on the football team. Her luscious blond hair, piercing blue eyes and strut took all the attention of her peers. Her picture perfect life was something that made all the eyes on her jealous. She was the captain of the cheer team, being very good, she commited to be cheerlead for the Alabama Crimson Roll Tide next fall. Her days were filled with gentle walks, drives with the windows down, parties with exploding lights, and trips to Ocean City Beach. The thought of going out with friends to the movies, to dinner and to the beach was exciting for her. Her desire for adventure kept her looking at the world from airplanes and hot air balloons. Besides spending time with her friends and boyfriend, she was a lover of writing. Her diary was her way to record all she beauty she has seen in life.
Today has been beautiful. The view of the lake behind my yellow house was glowing. The shimmer of sunshine and slight simmer of the warmed lake floated into the humid air. With my boy by my side, I am capturing the purity in life today and will continue to do so everyday. I love this life, this scene and the thought of the future approaching. College is approaching and I know everything will never be as easy as the lake flowing downstream, but I will remind myself of this marvelous view and the feeling I have right now.”
Her hand gripping her boyfriends, they promised to never change, to never let go and love infinitely. As the sunset, the stroll they took home was a romance movie. Red, blue, orange, yellow, purple. Flashing colors as they connected heart to heart. The explosion of love captured by the tree tops, the stones on the side of the road and the birds hovering above.
Nicolette is just one of the thousands of people who suffer from eating disorders in the world. This disease is one hard to fix but can be with support. Nicolette never got the help she needed as I took you through her journey end to beginning. Life for someone with an eating disorder may be portrayed as normal or even start as that. You never know what another person could be going through or how they feel about themselves. Be kind to every individual, one comment you may say can go further than you think and end up costing a life of someone frail.
The 22 year old man, Gregory, screamed and cried when his mom walked away from him. The blue teddy bears, little light yellow blankets and light green walls surrounded the boy. The echoes of his cries filled the room until she walked back in. Giving him a bottle of slightly warm milk, the smile grew back and the tears dissolved. That young at heart thing was so incredibly prominent in this man’s life. The running warm water splashed into the pearly white bathtub, surrounded by a blue tile and a small window, 5 feet above the ground. A yellow tinted light bulb was the sun of the dim room. A constant need for attention, the smiles fade by the loneliness.
The baseballs were thrown and hit lightly and not far from him and his dad, followed by laughs to keep Greg’s spirits happy. The days were warm with slight changes in his emotions. The butterflies swarmed by and the lady bugs buzzed in the air, Gregory went to the park with his dad. The tire swings and slides glimmered by the sunshine and reflected off of Greg’s big smile. Wind whispering through his hair as he swung made him feel free. All the tears he had cried went away. The outside world was a peaceful place. He spent weeks at the little pond fishing with his dad, a once a week kind of occasion. As a “5 year old” experience is everything. He dreamed of being a sailor and owning his own boat. He wanted to help others see the beautiful waters and locations. Always wanting to be in charge, he strived to be that sailor and made a little boat out of household materials. The weeks use of tape, collection of boxes, markers and a few decorations, he made his very own boat. Although smiles consisted of most of the day, his parents worked and could not have all eyes on him. When his boat was not being looked at constantly, he cried. The attention he wanted was not there, and just like that, he was just an average 5 year old. Going to sleep, he cried softly as his head hit the pillow. The lambs above his bed spun followed by a little machine playing his peaceful music he needed. The lights dimmed and his body sunk into the bed. Relaxing, he fell deep into his sleep, dreaming of a baseball game. The fans cheering and the stadium music booming.
“Good morning Gregory…” said his father hesitantly. He knew good enough to never expect a certain answer back. He never knew who he would get that morning.
“Hey dad! Big game today!!” replied Gregory.
Gregory had no idea that just yesterday he was a little boy who aspired to be a sailor. Today, without recollection of the past, he was someone else. He had the same physical features, same toned muscles, blue eyes, dark brown hair and a little dimple on his left cheek. His strong personality shone through his masculine body. As a dedicated baseball player, making millions of dollars, he put the work in by hitting in his batting cage in his backyard. The crack of the bat as the ball hit the back of the swinging black net. The immense amount of strength and dedication was shown swing per swing. Sweat dripping as the sun beat down on his toned body, the wind whispering some of that sweat away, and the sky so blue that he knew today's game was going to be a big and an amazing one.
The sea of standing applauding people filled the stands as Gregory was up at the plate. His number “33” was found on signs all around the stadium. Ball, ball two, strike one. The next pitch made his eyes light up, down the middle he squares it up and sends it to the right field stands. Cheers from all around, he runs the bases with a faint smile. His excitement was to be held in, it was normal for them to hit home runs.
The next game he had woken up and got ready for the game. The same setting surrounded him as he stood up at the plate. Ball one, strike one, ball two. The next pitch made his eyes light up, this time in a bad way. The ball was coming fast and could not stop for a moment to let him comprehend where the ball was. It had hit him straight in the helmet. Down to the ground he went, white chalk exploding as all his weight hit the dirt. Spinning, dazed and confused, he said “What is going on?” Red ambulance lights surrounded him as he rode in the ambulance. The bump of the car as it hit the side of the curb in a rush bounced him up. Hitting the bed he was laying on, he whined from the headache. Rushing inside, he was brought to the room for a doctor to give a consult. Without any fear in his eyes, he laid patiently for the doctor. After examination, he was lucky to have just received notice of a severe concussion. Going home he was prescribed with some medications to relieve the pain, and given instructions to stay in the dark as much as possible with little activity. He could not go on his phone or do much in general. Feeling depressed, he knew this meant a big break from baseball.
So he sat there day in and day out watching the rain hit the windows, squinting when the lighting pierced through his cloudy, unclean windows. The harsh sounds of thunder and trucks hurt him. Each day he felt a little better until he came back to his normal baseball player self. But he came back just a little too late. He went to go grab his bag on the ground and made a noise in pain clenching his back. The bat felt extra heavy and the world seemed blurry.
His muscles seemed to get smaller and his face was not longer as tight as it used to be. Hi skin loosened and his body hurt. His name was Gracie. Gracie was a 72 year old woman who enjoyed playing with her cats, couponing and visits from her grandkids. Gregory once again had turned to Gracie. Her wrinkled smile and piercing blue eyes showed nothing but true happiness. The days were now filled with a silent house, the only noise was the faint sound of the TV. The rolled out yarn and cold metal needles were found on the table next to the ripe apples and green pears. The happiness turned to dark fog. Her feelings were the fog and her mood was the darkness. The one she had loved most, her furry friend, had passed. Her emotions took a turn for the worst and she no longer felt happy in life. Sadness adjusted to anger until Gracie was nothing but an old mean lady. Tornados, hurricanes, hail. Her emotions were the worst. With no one to cry to, her body sunk into the warn down bed, angry at the world, looking out the window and screaming at any happy face she saw. Her heart beat slowed, and she was weak. 80 years old she stayed in the house all the time. No room for sunshine in her life, darkness seemed to fill it.
A man named Gregory, is actually a little boy, an old woman and a famous baseball player. Gregory is a 22 year old man who seemingly lives a fairly normal life. His constant adaptations and emotional appearance took attention of the counselors. Gregory is a man who need 24/7 attention as he has a mental disorder called Multiple Personality Disorder. This disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality identities. Each may have a unique name, personal history, and characteristics. His disorder cannot be cured because of how rare it is. Fewer than 200,000 people in the US have it per year. This disorder, although cannot be cured, can be helped with talk therapy and attention from a specialist. Gregory is just one of the few who experience loss of memory and gaps in his life as he, unwillingly, turns from person to person emotionally. This is something he can not control and will never be able to control. Gregory is unique, he is one of a kind, experiencing situations in different people's eyes and emotional ways. His life will never be normal and he is adapting to the changes he will constantly face on a day to day basis.
The only noise heard was the buzz of the silence. The clarity of the room for others was perfect, while Heather saw a blurry mess. The world seemed to spin, she silently cried in her head as she could not make it stop. With no real realization that she was the only one seeing these things, she thought the world was just a weird, scary place. She thought the world played jokes on every citizen in the area and not just her.
Silently, she talked “Get away please. I am doing work right now, go and distract someone else. If you have to visit, can it please be later. Just go! Get away I am busy! Go!” The blank wall stared back at her, nothing there to talk back or to watch her scream. Her eyes blinking rapidly to make it all go away. A build up of tears came into her eyes, but dissolved by the strength of holding them in. Her teacher one foot in front of the other, moseyed over to her and said “Heather? What is it now?”
Heather was a 15 year old girl who was not normal. She was different, unwillingly different. Her mind was like a huge magic trick. Poofing things into existence and making them clear to only her green eyes. The sudden entrances of characters and objects no longer fazed her, but rather bothered her. Different objects appear, and same with people. The one exception is her friend Chase. Chase showed up everyday. Always ready to play, he urged her to come outside for a game of soccer. He was the only positive thing about this “experience.”
“Nothing, just Chase is behind you, Mrs. Abruten, he was just leaving.” Not shocked, Mrs. Abruten just said “Okay Heather” and carried on back to the desk where she instantly picked up her pen. As a special ed teacher, her job included teaching, understanding, observing, and helping. Heathers actions were normal to her disorder on a day to day basis, but whenever Mrs. Abruten thought she needed some time to talk, she requested a special ed counselor for the next day.
After school that day, Heather came home to a house with just her dad and brother. Her mom had left the world due to cancer. For years, the world was even more scary to her, as it took her best friend. To ease the pain, her dad tells her and her brother that mom is enjoying sweetened iced tea on the beach in the clouds. Feeling alone at times, Heather sat in her bed in peace thinking about her. She was happiest when she was alone, no distractions, no one talking and time to think about her mom.
The outside world, as scary as it was, looked beautiful. The clouds appeared as a light blue, the color of the waves. The sun set slowly, shedding its last ounce of light before going to sleep for the night. Just as the sun was about the set, her smile vanished as she heard Chases voice at her door.
“Hey Heather, lets hang out, I miss playing with you,” said Chase.
Annoyed and overall furious that Chase interrupted her from her grieving, she screamed in a slight amount of humiliation “LEAVE ME ALONE FOREVER! I DO NOT WANT YOU HERE. PLEASE GO!!” Tears were a flooded river down her face. Clenching her fists and tightening her eyes shut, she breathed so heavily. The red tint to her face was prominent and her nails leaving the indent in her palms from the intense squeezing.
Rushing into her room her dad came to comfort her by saying “What was it this time honey?” She did not answer. “ Was it Chase again?” She cried more to the sound of his name and buried her face in her dad's chest. He ran his fingers through her light brown hair and felt her breathing slow down. Eventually asleep, she was tucked into bed with a kiss on her head and the purple blankets covering her.
That next morning, Heather was called down to the office to talk to Mrs Rainy to talk about Chase. Heather sat in silence in front of the colorful desk, filled with stickers, quotes of happiness and pictures. Nagging her to talk, Heather finally discussed how Chase had been annoying her lately and how she just wishes he would go away. “Have other things been popping up?” asked Mrs Rainy. “Yes, yesterday when I was in the kitchen, I saw spaceships, sometimes my mom, and holes in the ground that I am afraid to fall into.” said Heather.
The holes in the ground intrigued Mrs Rainy and so did the imagery of her mom. Mrs. Rainy did not know about Heather’s mom until her teacher told her. She then put it together that the holes may represent the idea that there are pieces missing in Heathers life, a big one being her mom, and another being the fact that she feels lost and alone in the world by not being the same as everyone else. Although Heather was clueless in that sense, she knew her life was not complete,
As she went home, she did not see Chase. She wondered where he went and she popped her schizophrenia prescribed medication. As she drank water to wash it down, he arrived, but in a blurry body. He seemed to be dissolving into thin air.
“Goodbye Heather, you will miss me” said Chase. Just as the wind picked up through the white curtains, he was gone. Uneasy and unsure how to feel she sat in relief along with sadness. Her friend was gone, whether she was happy or not was the real question. Just as she went to bed, she was awoken by a voice, “Chase may be gone, but I am here to stay,” said Danny. “I am the new Chase, want to play soccer?” Scared she fell asleep and avoided him until the next morning when she had no other choice.
The illusions are never really gone for her, but come and go. Heather is a 15 year old girl who suffers from schizophrenia. This mental disorder causes illusions and imaginatory objects to appear as real. The individual has no idea that these are fake and is really just their mind playing tricks on them. This disorder is rare and can not be cured, but can be monitored with medication. Schizophrenia is a disorder to not be taken lightly, but the individual should have attention on them at all times as they can end up hurting themselves in the process of thinking certain things are real when they are not. Heather will work through his diagnosis ad continue to remember her mom through the process.