I believe that no one is as they seem. On paper, my life is almost perfect. I’m school co-president, smart and have tons of friends. I’m a tall, thin blonde member of the “in” crowd, dating a boy who’s captain of both the varsity football and lacrosse teams. My parents are still married and I’ve never been in want of anything. To those who don’t know me, I live a fairy tale life. Those who really know me know that beneath the surface, my life is a little less enchanted.
At age 13, I came within a hair’s breadth of being hospitalized for attempted suicide. Three times total I’d tried and failed to take my own life. At first I settled on pills, but the bottle I’d chosen only made me extremely sleepy. The second time, I stood in the shower and held a razor to my neck, prepared to sever my carotid artery with the hope that the water would wash everything away so that my parents wouldn’t have to clean up after me. In the shower, I began to count to three. When I reached two, my sister walked in to find something, causing me to lose my nerve. I didn’t even get close to my goal on the third attempt. My dad found me sifting through his dresser drawers, searching for the small, silver key that would unlock his gun case. My dad wanted me to go to the hospital, but my mom convinced him seeing a therapist would be better.
The scariest part of my story is the fact that for over a year no one had any idea that I was in trouble. I was brilliant at hiding my problem. At night, with my family sleeping, I’d drip with sweat, biting a pillow to keep me from screaming aloud during my frequent panic attacks. I’d silence myself until I was exhausted, eventually falling asleep to the sound of my own gasping breaths. In the mornings I’d go to school and pretend to be fine. The same thoughts never stopped spinning in my mind: I wasn’t pretty enough, I was never going to make my parents proud like my sister, I was stupid, I was a waste of air and food. To put it simply, to me, my suicide was like my gift to the world.
Today my gift to the world is being alive to find the beauty in life, with every morning beginning with me taking anti-depression/anti-anxiety pills. For the first time in a long time, I’m happy. In some ways, I’m happy I went through what I did because its taught me not to take for granted what’s hidden in others. The quiet, shy boy with the glasses in math class could be the funniest kid you’ll ever meet, but you’d never know it by looking at him. The school sports hero could be insecure and scared. Beneath every surface, a unique and amazing story hides. I believe in trying to find it.
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