I was dealing with a severe case of anxiety in high school. Come to think of it, “severe” doesn’t even begin to cover the depth of what I dealt with every single waking moment of every single fucking day. I was always a great student with a ton of friends—often appearing on the dean’s list, captain of the varsity cheer team, blah blah blah.
But one day that all changed. It was like an internal light decided to shut itself off. Everyday tasks became difficult, and I forgot how to carry on my life as I once did. Days started to mesh together as I stopped going to school and became a prisoner of my bed. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t even watch TV. I missed 88 days of school that year, all of which I spent lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling, begging any god listening to give me my zest for life back.
The worst part of this hellish ordeal was that my best friends—you know, the ones that are supposed to stick by your side no matter what—completely bailed. All of them. I had no one left. My boyfriend even dumped me. Some of them were scared of me and who I became. They didn’t want the “new me” in their life because I’d only bring them down. Some of them seemed to forget I existed because I had disappeared from their everyday lives. And some of them had shit to deal with of their own.
But regardless of the reason, I didn’t have anyone to talk to or to help me except for my parents and my doctors. The specialists, psychiatrists, therapists, and acupuncturists all failed in their attempts to help me. I could only talk to my parents about everything for so long because as much as my condition was killing me, I knew it was even harder on them. They knew there was nothing they could do to make me feel better. In my mind there was no end in sight to this nightmare and I grew tired of the never-ending battle.
Exhaustion is what drove me over the edge. I wasn’t necessarily sad or depressed; I was simply tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of waking up everyday to wrestle the demons in my mind and lose. Tired of being such a burden on my family. Tired of letting myself down and tired of holding on. I was clinging to a memory of a past life that I wanted back so desperately, and at the time I didn’t think I would ever get it back. The only way to find inner peace was to stop the pain right at the source, to stop my heart from aching by stopping it from beating. I wanted to be erased.
I tried. I made a good attempt. I swallowed a decent amount of pills and lay still on my back so if I threw up I would choke on the vomit and die. I should’ve died, but I didn’t. Unlike other people’s experiences, that wasn’t my turning point. I was going to try again somewhere down the line. I fell back into my routine of counting the different shades of white in my room while plotting what I’d do next.
The only difference this time was that I got a daily intruder. A friend of mine started to come over every day after school and sit with me. Just sit. Like she was visiting a sick grandparent in a nursing home. At first I hated it. We weren’t even that close. Who the fuck did she think she was to come into my world just to sit and watch me crumble?
But without fail, every single damn day, this girl walked right through my front door into my room and sat with me for hours. She would tell me stories about what was going on at school and pull outrageous drunken tales from her past in hopes of cheering me up.
Slowly I started to bring down my barriers and let her in—not just into my room, but also into my colossal collection of issues that no one had ever seen. When I’d shut my eyes to sleep at night and start planning suicide attempt number two, a little voice would start whispering in my ear: “Maybe Kendall will have a funny story to tell me tomorrow; the one today was hilarious. I guess holding on for one more day won’t do too much harm.”
Although it happened slowly, Kendall managed to make it possible for me to see a different ending to my story. Not only did she give me back my will to live; she changed me. You could say I did die in a sense, and I was reborn when Kendall walked into my life. She made me the person I am today. It was out of the kindness of her heart that she decided to bust into my home and keep me company. She had no idea that just days before she started to visit, I had tried to take my life. It took me a full year to tell her that she saved me. Because of her, I now see the best in people. I understand that everyone is fighting a hard-ass battle even if we don’t see it. I give people the benefit of the doubt and I always forgive.
Not only am I beyond grateful for my second chance, I also love myself now as well. I love who I have become, and I know I have the strength to conquer anything. So I want to thank her. She is now my best friend, my roommate of two years, my other half that made me whole again.
For those of you struggling with holding onto life–it gets better. It really does. Inspiration to keep going and start over is all around you. Be patient; it could take some time. But it will come. When it does, be ready to accept it because if you do, like myself, you’ll be OK again and you will never look back.