Behind the Last Curtain

Andrew - Allendale, Michigan
Entered on September 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, illness

I believe you should take each day one step at a time. My life has finally come to this path but after suffering from what the doctors called “depression” for quite some time.

I was in eighth grade. I was a talented athlete, and socially I was in all the right cliques. Why then did the attacks start coming? One night I shot up out of my bed and for some strange reason the first thing that came to my mind was the subject of death. Sure I’m a Christian and I believe in God, but for the first time that night I began to fear death. I tried to get back to sleep, but I was engulfed by panic. I couldn’t breath; my parents rushed me off to the emergency room. I had asthma so they just assumed I was having an asthma attack, not an anxiety attack. I would never tell them why I panic, I couldn’t tell them, and I was scared to tell them. I figured people would just assume I was crazy if they knew, so I kept it a secrete

There were many more nights like this that followed, the fear of death followed me all the way into college. High School was just a blur. That fear carried its way into my days as well. I was miserable with the thought of dying always on my mind, I was only 14. I worried so much about something that was out of my control that I forgot to live in the now. The attacks kept coming. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, well of course they couldn’t because there was really nothing wrong with me. They just prescribed to me pill after pill, like medication can really cure all.

Last year was the first time I was able to control this fear, but it came at a high price. My girl friends dad was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said it would be terminal. I thought I knew the man. He was rugged, loved to hunt and fish, tough, enjoyed watching hockey and baseball, loved his family, not the kind of man I would have ever thought to write poetry. Well it turns out that while his body began to slip away his mind stayed sharp. He could no longer speak full sentences but he expressed himself through poetry. After he passed away I sat down and began to read the book of poems that he had created. Many poems were about death and his thoughts about it, he knew it was coming.

He wrote a poem called “The Last Curtain.” I am not going to read you the poem but the last lines are as followed, “While going through life only one thing is certain. You should never try to guess what’s behind that last curtain.” Reading these lines for the first time I realized that’s what I was trying to do. I was trying to guess what was behind my last curtain.

I’ve learned to slow down and enjoy all aspects of life. There are no more panic attacks now. I get up every morning and thank God for a great day. I’m focused on the big picture but I am no longer trying to see the end of it. Life is good! This is the reason I believe you should take life one step at a time.