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Coming of Age Drama High School

I wouldn't call it depression, it's much deeper, darker than that. I feel oppressed, surrounded, suffocated, caught in a dark and sinister place where there is no hope.

I go to a therapist once a week. For about two days afterward, I can see sunlight, and the weight is gone. Then the darkness comes back and overwhelms me once again. The drugs helped, too, for a while, but they leave me feeling foggy, numb, and unfocused. Now I think my body is so used to them I only feel the fog, and the blackness persists.

No one in my family understands what I am going through. My parents tell me I should just decide to be happy. My siblings think I am looking for attention. My friends, too, have no clue what is going on and this contributes to the isolation, loneliness, and the gloom of whatever it is I am suffering from. To function in this world, I have to pretend that everything is fine. But everything is not fine, and the act of pretending is weighing down on me as much as the psychosis.

Many nights I cry, curled up in a ball inside my sheets, longing for this all to end. I don't want to commit suicide, I want to cease existing. I am not looking for death, this already feels like death. I want to vanish from this place as if I had never existed in the first place.

I have to drag myself out of bed each morning and force myself to do the normal things regular people do. I get up, shower, get dressed, and head off to school. I smile at my friends and teachers, making as little of an impact on life as I possibly can. I don't want to be noticed as different, I don't want to be noticed at all.

Food is of no interest to me. Everything tastes bland and I only eat to stem the pains in my stomach. If it wasn't so painful being hungry I would probably just stop eating altogether. My friends think I'm on a diet or something and they don't say anything when I barely touch the unpalatable school lunches. I drink a lot of water. That fills me up and already has no flavor so my taste buds do not need to be disappointed.

My grades are bad. Not failing bad, but below average bad. No one has spoken to my parents about it, I think the teachers have written me off as stupid. I can barely focus enough to start my assignments, much less finish them and turn them in on time. I get C's and D's on tests and once in a while an F. I'm not sure if I even care, it is all a part of the hopelessness.

I don't know the last time I felt happiness. This gloominess has been around me for as long as I can remember. And I've forgotten what it feels like to laugh, or if I ever laughed at all. My therapist said I should “fake it 'til ya make it,” but I don't even know how to do that. Putting my hands on my belly and saying “ho ho ho” like I'm Santa does nothing for me other than feel awkward and uncomfortable. I've tried the “ho ho ho's” and the “he he he's” and the “ha ha ha's” and I never feel anything beyond the deep, dank, darkness. But, to please my therapist I practice this every day in front of my mirror.

Today my class is supposed to go into the school library for a few hours while the Juniors take a test. I reluctantly do as I am told, getting no joy from books. I find a quiet, secluded spot in the back of the library. There is a comfortable chair there, an end table, and a blanket. I sit down on the chair, grab the blanket and wrap it around myself, and prepare to blank out for a few hours. I know how to do this from the meditation my therapist taught me. It doesn't stave off the darkness, just dulls it as long as I am meditating. I even use the ironic word of joy as my mantra. I settle into my meditation and all is calm.

Something breaks me from my meditation, and for some reason, I reach over to the table. I hadn't noticed these before but there appear to be some books sitting on the table. I pick one up. It has a drawing of a green ball with hands, a wide toothy grin, and a tongue sticking out on the cover as well as the strange title “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.” For once I am intrigued, and I open the book.

The story starts out simple enough. I keep reading until I find a part that says something about bulldozers and the character seems oblivious to them. A smile comes to my lips. What an odd start to a story. This Douglas Adams is strange. I decide to keep reading. After a few more pages, I find myself giggling. I stop, a little surprised at the sound. I then turn back to the book and continue to read the absurdities of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect.

By the time our class is supposed to leave the library and go home, I have almost finished reading the book. I walk to the front of the library and check it out, actually interested in finding out how the story ends. This is new for me, I never care.

When I arrive home I go immediately to my room. After I sit down on my bed, I open the book and read some more. At one point I hear myself laughing out loud. Really? I know how to laugh? I reread that part and laugh again. And I continue to laugh until I am finished with the book.

Suddenly I am hungry. I go downstairs to the kitchen where my mom is baking chocolate chip cookies. She looks at me a little startled. Then she offers me a cookie fresh off the tray. I take it, politely saying thank you. It is warm and gooey in my hand. Hesitantly I lean in and take a bite of it. The warm, soft chocolate chips melt onto my tongue. A surge of happiness courses through me. I take another bite, savoring the feeling of the chips and the dough in my mouth. When I finish that cookie I look up at my mom, who now has a plate of cookies and a glass of milk sitting on the table for me. She is smiling a goofy smile like she's finally found something she's been looking for over a course of years. I sit down at the table and eat the cookies, enjoying each and every bite. When I am finished I wipe my mouth with a napkin and walk over to my mom. I give her a huge hug. There are tears in her eyes when I finally let go of her.

I run back upstairs to my room and pull out my homework. There is a two-page book report due in four days. I can write about any book I want and I decide to write about “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.” I open up my computer notebook and began to write.

I am now finished with my report and I go downstairs to supper. Mom has made lasagna. I sit down at the table with the rest of my family. My dad notices the smile on my face but says nothing. I see him nod to my mom in that knowing way he has. I don't care.

The food was incredible! I have never tasted anything so delicious in my life. I ate 3 pieces of lasagna as well as 3 pieces of garlic bread, a salad, and 5 cookies. My stomach is full, but not overfull. It is a new feeling for me.

I help my mom clean up the table and do the dishes. I catch myself humming a little as I dry the dishes. She smiles at me and I feel all warm inside. When I finish, she says thank you to me and gives me a hug. I skip upstairs to my room.

Last night was the best sleep I've ever had. I realize when I wake up this morning that the darkness is gone. Everything is bathed in brilliant white light and I finally feel happy. I look forward to seeing my therapist today to tell her I am cured.

April 26, 2021 19:46

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2 comments

Angel {Readsy}
03:29 Apr 28, 2021

I am a nightingale; I read and sing your stories in the flowering garden and all birds, firefly, fairy and flowers are smiling and very thankful to you for writing such an excellent story.

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Ruth Smith
04:06 Apr 28, 2021

Thank you very much Nightingale! I am glad you approved of my story.

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