"It will not be beautiful but the truth never is."
When I was 15 years old I got my first boyfriend. I had been with boys before, but never ones who loved me, and never as a relationship. After 15 months, after love, and pain, and verbal abuse, I left for good. Leaving was hard. But not as hard as what came after.
I started my first year in one of the hardest and most elite programs in the country, and as if that wasn't enough, high schoolers- to put it simply- are assholes. Luckily, I had good friends who kept me grounded, and new friendships which grew stronger as the first few months progressed.
Also within those first few month, I started making poor decisions regarding boys and drugs. It never became anything serious, but it was a major distraction from my schoolwork. I started having sex with people who didn't care about me. I'm not sure why. Maybe they made me feel wanted. Maybe they helped me forget. Maybe getting high and having sex was what I wanted at the time. Whatever I told myself was just a lie- the truth is, I was running. Running from the pain of my breakup, the pressure of my program, the fear of inadequacy. But I very quickly learned everything catches up to you eventually.
I was fired from the first job I ever had about the same time my depression and anxiety began to escalate. My mother was struggling with her family life as I struggled with my personal one. By October my anxiety became so bad I went to the doctor to get medication. I had know about my disorder for years now, but I decided I couldn't do it alone. I needed help. And at first, the medication did. But the loss of support from my mother combined with all the other pressures around me proved too much, and I began self harming around Thanksgiving.
Over the next month things stayed the same. My brother was in and out of jail for the past several months, and he ended up incarcerated for Christmas- which also happens to be my birthday. Losing him among other people and things was probably the hardest. He had been my best friend and my partner in crime. It was an impossibility I could hardly bear.
Fast forward to April and my brother had been in and out again within one month of getting probation. I had stopped self harming and seemed to getting a grip of the stressful program I was in. But my mother only collapsed further and became so overwhelmed by her own depression- which yes, I had inherited from her- she had become a shell of herself. She was barely eating and sleeping constantly. She worked out quite often and lost around 30 pounds. I'm still not sure if she starved herself or was too barred out to eat, but she lost the weight either way. I, however, since the year started gained around 30 pounds, something she constantly reminded me of.
School prom was in April, and that's where the 17 year olds being assholes thing really comes full circle. People were excluded, bullied, and drama had stirred within a friend group which I had thought I had been apart of. Besides the belittlement and embarrassment I felt for allowing myself to believe I had friends I hadn't, my best friend decided she would rather spend her time with them than me. With so many family things spiraling out of control in my life, I had hardly noticed her fading out of the picture. But 8 months was a long time to make mistake after mistake. Maybe I hadn't been a good enough friend, or maybe I just hadn't been there, but she slipped away when I needed her most.
That was the last straw. The last three months of my junior year in high school I was suicidal and completely checked out. I stopped washing my hair, stopped wearing make up, stopped going out. Everyday became a battle. I got up, finished the school day, and fought off the demons who told me to end it. Medication had turned into a nightmare over the past few months- I was late everyday from over sleeping, missed classes and full days of school, and was napping constantly. I was a full blown mess. And I was alone. Most of the friendships I had made I had somehow severed. I felt worthless, and purposeless. I had trips planned for summer I had no excitement for. Life had lost any sense of hope or happiness.
I'm not actually sure why I never did it. Everyday for three months all I could think about was taking my own life. But I guess I had found enough courage to remember the people who would miss me. I reminded myself that there was a life past the one I was living right now.
In June I went to Costa Rica and found meaning in life again. I had never seen a place so beautiful. The people who so humbled and happy and kind. And I decided that's how I wanted to live. They had a saying there which meant happiness and oneness with the world. "Pura Vida." Pure life. What a wonderful outlook on living.
Today I am seeing a therapist twice a month who helps me fight my depression. I surround myself with people who support and love me, and I talk to my brother as often as possible. I focus on my purpose in the world, whatever that may be. It kills me to see the world so full of cruelty, and pain. So I've decided to be good to people, and do what I can today. Because I know tomorrow will be better.
As far as boys and drugs, I must remind myself that growing is a process. We do not become who we want to be all at once. But everyday I have a choice to make decisions which will help me grow into someone better.
I am no where near perfect. I may have come to peace with my mistakes but the damage is far done. I ruined my GPA, irreparably damaged many relationships, and grew a reputation with many I am not proud of. My depression and anxiety still win some days. I'm not through the hard parts, I still struggle with my relationship with my mom and I miss my brother everyday. But this life is too wonderful and this world is too big to not want to live. And so I choose to remember the good, and always try to stay good to people. Because you never know what they're struggling with. You never know what it's like the fight demons until you've fought your own.
"Superheroes always have broken hearts and tragic backstories, so maybe I'm doing ok."
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