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Stories of Hope

This Isn't your Average Story

 

bulletAuthor:    Jen
bulletAge:        14

 

It all started when I was 4.  Before then, I was a fairly happy child, addicted to puddles and had two amazing friends
who were "there" for me.  I was an animal lover, and horse crazy.  I used to ride my dog like a pony, until I got too big
and he'd just lie down to avoid it!  I had some normal problems, would scream in unusual bouts of rage ever since I was
a baby and had smallish lungs from being born three weeks premature.

Then I went to school.

>From the first day of Kindergarten I was beaten up every day and insulted.  It was almost like a rule of silence, not a
word was spoken while they'd kick and hit me.  If I cried, it was worse and my only escape was when I'd just shut my
mind down and let them do what they wanted.  I hid the bruises from mom and this continued for five years until I left
the school.  By grade two, I'd become withdrawn and learned the survival technique that has saved my life countless
times, yet has caused me tons of grief.  I started to build things in my head that keyed into my subconscious.  I would
build walls to block off pain until I could no longer feel it, yet it was still there.  I'd build buildings and palaces in my
head and use them to escape the real world.  They are as realistic as the house I live in now, I can feel, touch, taste
and smell them as easily as you do a flower.  Around grade three, it was discovered that I have a high IQ as well
as extremely good comprehension of what I read as I read at least a book a day to escape.
I used the building technique to block off all my rage, and all my pain until I could disconnect my emotions without
thinking about it, I call it shutting down as it is simply a way of turning off the emotional parts of your mind.

When I was nine, my fits of rage became destructive and I would hurt whoever and whatever was in my path.  My
parents were on the verge of giving up on me when they decided to try therapy.  I was placed in play therapy at the
city hospital for one year. I was diagnosed to having parental relationship problems and recurring feelings of
abandonment by my biological father who left before I was born.  It was around this time that I began to build memory
blocks in my mind.  To this day, I have no memory of therapy, my father and only a few bits of memory from elementary
school.  When I become severely depressed, the blocks come down and I have a photographic memory, I can recall
conversations with a certain person in grade one.

I kept this secret, thinking I was a freak until middle school.  I was still abused and ignored all through grade six from
people who came from my old school until I moved to America in mid grade six.  During the year and a half I lived
there, I learned what it is like to be accepted and genuinely liked.  My grades in school jumped from 60s to upper 90s
and I was admitted into the Gifted/Talented (G/T) Program and was introduced to my first computer.  I became
proficient at programming and when I moved back, I was looking forward to life.

The abuse started again immediately after my return, forcing me to hit rock bottom.  I began drugs and alcohol.  I
became a dealer to earn enough money to buy "just one more gram, just one more tab of E and then I'll quit".
I learned to live the streets and one day I was given a gun as part of payment for a deal.  It was decided that I cheated
the junkies, and that I overpriced and I was to be punished.  I ended up using the gun, injuring the man who attacked
me.

My grades dropped in school and I dropped deeper into depression, yet I'd learned to shut down and that prevented my
parents from noticing that I'd been suffering.  Then one day I watched my friend die from a bad trip on acid.  I quit
drugs because of that sight, and I have never gone back.  This wasn't so long ago.

Instead of the drugs, I began hitting my head into walls, scratching my arms on nails and playing with knives. I became
a good knife-fighter, started martial arts and began horseback riding  in an attempt to ward off the depression that was slowly
taking over.  Then one day, I just gave up. I stopped fighting, I stopped martial arts and I stopped caring.  My mother
refused to let me quit the horses, and for that I am grateful.

I began using the knives for SI, I'd cut daily until I could no longer find a place on my arms and then let it heal until I
could cut again.  I held a gun to my head and pulled the trigger, but my friend had switched the bullets with blanks.
I overdosed, but my immune system neutralized the drugs.  I starved myself, tried to drown myself, and didn't sleep for
weeks at a time.  I just wanted to die so I wouldn't feel so cold.

Last October, my mother found out about the knives and I was taken to emergency and started into mild therapy as they
didn't know how deep I was in depression.  That January, I slashed my wrists six times and cut my arm to shreds and
once again she found out when I was sleeping.  I was taken to emergency again, where they sent me to another
hospital.  I was committed to PY-1 South, the ward for child and adolescents.  We called it the Suicide Ward for obvious
reasons.  For one month I was committed, while the one love of my life who I'd been dating for a year and a half
waited for me.  I played games, and I fought the entire time until they discharged me with almost every diagnosis in the
book on depressive disorders from Bipolar Disorder to Identity Fugue Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
The Dialectical Behavioral Therapy I received helped for a week until I started cutting again, but I was even more
careful to keep it secret.

The SI and the mood swings began to upset the few friends I ever had, and they became worried and attempted their
best to save my life from myself.  My boyfriend has always been supportive, and did the most for me during that time.

Then in a family therapy meeting in April, my father blamed me for every marriage problem he and my mother ever had.  I'd
been blaming myself for them for years, and it was such a deep shock and painful to hear it from him, that I went home
and decided that I wasn't worthy of life.  I wrote a note saying "I was selfish in life, I'll be selfish in death."

I took 400 pills and fell asleep.

Six hours later they found me, and took me to the hospital in an ambulance.  I was still awake and coherent, scaring
the doctors considering the time span I'd had the drugs in my system.  It was too late for charcoal, so they put me on
Mucco-Mist in an IV and proceeded to empty my stomach of every meal I'd ever eaten.  I puked for two and a half days, falling
in and out of consciousness and wracked with dry heaves, abdominal pain and shaking until they had to strap me to the
bed.

I was committed for another week on Crisis Stabilization and then discharged again after hanging myself in my room.
They gave up on me as I didn't want to get better.  I cannot take pills without getting severely sick so I was taken off
the antidepressant Paxil as it messed up my sleeping habits and I palmed it all the time before.  The flashbacks of the
sexual abuse I received when I was five began to appear again and nightmares forced me to wake up and not sleep.

I had been helping suicidal teens across the world and at any given time had 10 people under my wing.  I was the
parent they never had and I would do anything to keep them from hurting like I do.  But they were more then that.
When I had no one else, they supported me and dragged me out of the pit, sometimes threatening to end their own
lives if I attempted suicide again.  As I cannot let them die after giving so much to save them, that threat always worked.

I dropped out of school and a student counselor that I had pissed off with my "I don't give a fuck what you think" attitude
called social services and threatened to commit me to a permanent ward or put me in a group home as uncontrollable.
I buckled down, did research and beat the system at its own game.  My therapist supported me during this time, and
someone I didn't like went to bat for me, I am eternally grateful.

The turning point in all the pain came when a friend told me that they'd never seen anyone tougher, or more caring
than I was and that if I died, there would be so many people that would die because I wasn't there to show them to live.

I cried for the first time in four years at those words and it was like an anvil was lifted out of my soul.  I still had the pain
yet I had something to live for, the others like me.

I still hurt myself, but it isn't as deep or as much as it used to be and  even though the suicidal thoughts are still there as
badly as they used to be, I don't let them get me.  I found something to live for.

Today, I have 15 people who say I saved their lives, and have lost 7 because they couldn't deal with the pain.  I am an
advanced horseback rider and just recently saved a starving and abused dog who's called Jed and insists that at 6am
he gets to lick my face all over and follow me around to the ends of the earth.  I smile a bit, and I even occasionally
laugh.  And I have people who care.

There is spring after winter, and there is hope after pain.

Good luck to you all, and live for yourself, and for those who care for you.