Each movement I made in my bed, even if it was just to switch onto my right side, gave the nurses in the hallway reason enough to believe I was up to something. I could see them peeking their heads around the corner, as if I wasn't aware of the clearly visible glass doors. In return, I just closed my eyes. I knew I would not be falling asleep anytime soon, but it seemed to be the closest place I could get to death; where I actually could have been if I was discovered a few minutes later.
"You need to finish the entire thing," said one of the nurses as she entered my room. She was referring to the styrofoam cup by my beside, filled with thick black charcoal.
It's funny because I hardly hesitated to toss a handful of pills into my mouth just a few hours ago, knowing where my next destination was going to be, but having to consume anymore of the charcoal seemed to be more painful at the moment.
I laid in my bed for the remainder of the day. I was left alone, just my thoughts and I, for hours. I began to wonder if things could have been different. Looking down at my wrists, which were bounded by soft restraints, I questioned exactly how I got to this place in my life.
There was never a moment where I magically knew I felt depressed. Like other teenagers at the time, I struggled with the same issues of self esteem; my unwaxed upper-lip in middle school definitely contributed to this.
My transition into high school was as normal as it could be. A lot of my friends from middle school followed, so it's not like I was starting over completely fresh with unfamiliar faces. I felt normal. I was normal.
The depression crept on in such a subtle manner. Had I known the exact moment, maybe I could have handled it differently, so things didn't get as far as they did.
The overwhelming feeling of sadness, however, was the least bit subtle. It hit me all at once, in the worst way possible.
If I'd watch a movie where one of the actors accidentally drowned, my main thought during that scene was how I could do the same and have it be purposeful. I began fantasizing about death almost every single day. While taking a shower, I'd sometimes imagine hitting my head against the concrete walls and wondered if it would kill me on the spot. When my sister and I went to run errands together, I would constantly be tempted to open my door in the middle of the highway and throw my entire body out the car.
I thought about every single possible means to die. There was no reason to spend time analyzing the outcome because I was already aware of it.
Till this day, I wish I could make sense out of why I chose that one specific moment.
Something in me snapped. I was having a casual conversation with my older sister and she went downstairs to go speak to my mom about something. I stopped by my bedroom, grabbed two different bottles of pills, and made my way to the bathroom. I wish I felt something; fear or guilt even. But there was no feeling. My body was there, but I was long gone.
I locked the door and started taking one pill after the other. It must have been ten or twelve before my body began falling to the ground. I could literally feel my heartbeat slowing down when a loud abrupt banging on the door woke me back up momentarily. My sister was trying to get the door open; she somehow knew something was wrong. Once she did get it open, the sight in front of her was probably something she did not want to ever have seen. I was hardly conscious and she quickly picked me up off the ground and put my weight on her arms, dragging me down the stairs, into her car.
As she was speeding, making her way as fast as she possibly could to the nearest hospital, I was able to look out the window with whatever energy I had left in me. The trees looked like blurry paintings made with water color. I remember the sky was a dark shade of orange; it looked so beautiful.
"Stay awake! Keep your eyes open. Do not go to sleep," my sister kept turning her head and repeating every ten seconds.
I was trying my best. But I had nothing left to give.
I guess I already had the answer to my question as to how I got to this place. I knew how it happened, the events leading up to it, but I still had no clue as to why it did. At this point, I genuinely was not in the mood to keep searching for some sort of explanation.
The feelings which followed consisted of guilt. Why did I decide to take death into my own hands? I buried this thought in my mind of other people suffering around the world and it simply not making sense for me to feel the way I did.
The saying "it gets worse before it gets better" is one of the truest things I've ever heard.
Although more suicide attempts did not follow, suicidal tendencies definitely did. I felt myself withdrawing from almost everything in life. I distanced myself from my friends, going days on end and not speaking or responding to anyone. I thought it was something positive I was doing, removing myself from the outside world. Instead, I was allowing myself more time with my thoughts, which constantly directed me to try taking the pills again.
My entire body was deteriorating. It was an accomplishment in itself if I was able to get out of bed for the day and go downstairs to eat something. It's not that I felt most comfortable staying in my room, but I knew leaving it was risky. I knew death would somehow call my name and I would give in.
I was in community college at the time, but honest to god, I had no idea what was happening around me.
"What goals do you guys have in mind?" The professor would ask throughout the semester.
My goal was to die. I was ready to die and I didn't.
"Hopefully transfer to a University in state," I'd say casually, knowing it was a lie.
I failed almost all my classes every single semester. I hardly had a care in the world. It's not like I was out partying or getting drunk; unlike your typical wild child.
I was simply alive with no purpose.
Remember how I said things get worse before they get better? Well in this case, things got as bad as they could get.
I'm not sure if my brain disease was a result of years of depression, but who knows, maybe it played some part? Some things you never seen coming, and this, I couldn't even see from a mile away.
It took me years to even learn how to pronounce my diagnosis.
"ANTI NMDA RECEPTOR ENCEPHALITIS," my mother would tell me over and over again each time I woke up from my sleep while I was in the hospital receiving treatment for my disease.
My brain was on fire. Correction: My entire life was on fire, burning down everything around it.
As one can imagine, experiencing this did not do much to rid of my depression. Feelings of sadness, instead, turned into anger and frustration. God was basically non existent to me because I could not understand how I was put in these situations one after the other.
My will to die became such, that if it happened, I would just accept it without any objections. But for some reason, this time around, I put up a fight.
Though I had difficulty finding faith in God, the only reasoning I had for the sudden motivation was him and I having a one on one moment; probably during my coma.
I kept telling myself it was going to get better. This bridge had to be crossed in order to reach the other side. I knew it wasn't going to come easily, and it surely didn't.
I had to start from scratch and re-learn almost everything. But besides that, I found it as an opportunity to also start my entire life over again. I didn't view it as a second chance to do things right, but as me being reborn to be the person I was actually meant to be. Everything began to make sense. My mind no longer felt foggy and I wasn't a being who was just existing anymore. I was alive, with full purpose.
My young, naive teenage self was ready to leave this world. I don't think where my mind was at the time reflected on my age, but how emotionally and mentally exhausted I was. I found no reason to live because I had nothing to live for.
If things had turned out the way I wanted them to at the time, I would not be here right now. But I would have missed everything I am currently experiencing. I wouldn't know what it means to establish a connection with God. I wouldn't get to sit with my family at the dinner table and listen to childhood stories. I wouldn't see all the things my friends have accomplished. I wouldn't be able to sympathize with those who face challenging things in life and still manage to go on every single day. I wouldn't know what genuine happiness, love or having empathy mean.
The person I was six years ago wanted to die. But it would truly have been the biggest mistake of my life.