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Learning the Importance of Life

Learning the Importance of Life
Writer, 15

I had a pretty good group of friends and an affectionate but overbearing boyfriend. My life was so simple on the outside! I wasn't involved in anything, so I just stayed in my room daydreaming and writing poems. The only thing that could drive me out of my space was when my friends called and we'd go "hang out." The summer was pretty repetitive and I had lots of secrets. I wrote poems about things that I didn't know I had inside me and wrote letters to people that didn't exist. I had been dancing for my whole life and stopped because of lack of resources and money. Sometimes when I had too much energy, I'd dance this one long adagio I had made up and I'd add pieces to it as I went along. I was obsessed with my thoughts. I couldn't figure myself out from one minute to the next.

I felt as if my family didn't exist even though I loved them. I'd come down for supper every night that I was home and head right up to my room as soon as I was finished. My parents and I would get into long, drawn-out discussions about how selfish I was not to spend any time with them. They suspected that I was on drugs. Small discussions would turn into me crying about all the confusion in my head. My parents thought it was a lame and heartless excuse because "I had plenty of friends." They didn't get it and neither did I.

My thoughts continued to spin more and more out of control. I felt like I was going crazy, and for a time I think I was. I'd go to enormous lengths to get rid of what was going on in my head. It started with banging my head against the wall and holding my breath until I fainted. Then I started cutting myself because I believed that there was some sort of supernatural power within my blood that could release whatever was driving me mad.

Stranger things started happening. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer and my close friend was in the hospital because she weighed 85 pounds because of anorexia. I stopped eating to gain control of my life just as my friend had. Cigarettes were my nourishment. I experimented with a lot of drugs, and the only time I ever actually felt happy was when I was high or tripping. I knew this was just digging me deeper into the hole that I was in all along. Something had to be done. I was fed up with my life and believed that if my life stopped everything else would too. I really did believe that the world would be much better off without me.

I had everything figured out: I would swallow two bottles of Tylenol and one bottle of aspirin and wait for everything to get "better." I sat myself in front of my full-length mirror and stared until I saw double. I got impatient and decided it wasn't working and that I was being foolish. I went downstairs to eat something and came back to my room.

I remember looking at my hands, and seeing my veins visibly throbbing out of my skin. I could see the blood running through the veins in my arms! I don't know how long this took, but I remember crawling to my mother's room to ask her about my doctor (this part is a blur). She looked at me, completely shocked, and immediately pulled me up and started shaking me, asking me what happened. I mumbled something about a bottle of painkillers, and the next thing I knew I was strapped into a hospital bed with an IV in my arm. Strangers were standing around me and everything was so bright. I got angry with these people and started screaming mean words at all of them. They told me they would have to pump my stomach. I would have nothing to do with this! I fought and fought until something was shot into me and I couldn't move. A one and a half inch tube (in diameter) was forced through my mouth and into my stomach. The following minutes were the most terrifying moments of my life. I will spare you all the gore and skip ahead to after the 12 doses of rotten egg smelling medicine were forced down me every four hours.

My boyfriend and two of my girlfriends visited me along with my aunt and cousin. My parents visited me too. I was so lonely, though. For the following week I spent my time in the mental wing of the children's hospital. I wanted to be a bitch. I refused to talk to anyone during the first few days, and I threw things at a nurse who would force me to talk about things that were of no use to me. I was assigned to solitary confinement for a whole night and a day. I knew that I had gone crazy for sure and I had to stop. The doctors tested me several times and told my parents that I had bipolar disorder/manic depression and attention deficit disorder. I didn't like those words at all.

I was given a medication to control my moods and my sleeplessness, and I participated with group discussion and made a few friends. One particular patient turned out to be my soul mate. I spent my time soul searching and praying like I never had before. I couldn't believe the progress my faith had given me. I was a little discouraged because people had come and gone from the hospital's care, and I was still in my room, waiting to go home!

Nevertheless, I did come home! It took a year, lots of counseling, and different types of medication. I can now actually say that I like what goes through my head most of the time, and I use my differences to my advantage. One of my best friends was depressed and took some of the same measures that I took to get better. I felt very guilty, like I was a major influence in her sadness. She is also doing much better now. When I look back on the past year and all the years that added to it, I try to think to myself, the world would be totally different without me and I'm happy with what I have done to become happy. Life is different from just birth and death. Every person has a reason to live, and life is far too short to waste trying to figure everything out since you won't be able to. I hope no one has to go through what I went through to find that out.

Last Modified Date: 1/10/2001
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