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A lifetime In a year
The following story was submitted anonymously on Sep. 21, 2003.
The names have been changed to protect the author's privacy.

It all started when I was a little kid, I was the chubby girl with glasses and crooked teeth who would get teased for the smallest of things. I'd be the one longingly watching other kids play skipping rope, and see them reject me when I asked to play with them. I tried not to let it get to me, but it's hard not to pay attention to others rash comments when you're 7 years old. I would cry myself to sleep, but nevertheless, I would have a smile plastered to my face at school and try to make the best of things.

Forward to 14 years old, Over the summer things changed physically. People started to notice me, guys especially. I got attention, I was accepted and people came up to me and asked me how I had lost all that weight. Puberty had done the most part, but no one wanted to hear it. For once I finally felt good in my own skin that people were starting to spread stories that I'd gone on water diets the whole summer. I didn't let it bother me, after all the attention was flattering.

However, I'd been used to being low profile, and to some extent, the extra attention really made me uncomfortable. I got asked if I was anorexic, people would look at me funny if I said I wasn't hungry at lunch, little things like that. It drove me insane, and I suppose it was a mix of hatred and sadness that had built up all these years which led to isolating myself more and more from people.

It's almost burned into my mind. It was quiet, and I felt numb. Almost dead...things suddenly felt surreal as I grabbed the nearest razor on my bathroom counter and slid it over my skin. It didn't start out very bad although gradually I grew to long for that euphoric sensation it offered in my moments of distress. The blade had become my friend, That was the beginning of a long series of "distressing moments", the cuts getting deeper each time. I've needed stitches a few times although I couldn't/didn't want to get helped.

I got away with it by wearing long sleeves most of the time. Some of my friends noticed, but no one wanted to talk about it. It was much too taboo a subject to talk about.

However, everything changed the night my parents saw for themselves. I was reaching for something, and my sleeve pulled up a bit. From then on, all hell broke loose. They just stared at me like they were trying to make sense of things in their heads but nothing fit together. I felt cornered and lost, and ran upstairs. Later on I had a long, uncomfortable talk with my parents about it, and they booked my first appointment with a therapist, who I would soon find out was only one of many more to come.

A few months later, I was diagnosed with depression and put on all these pills. I had weekly sessions with a therapist, all that mumbo jumbo, I hated it all. The people were nice, sure but I'm not particularly good at words and frankly I wasn't too keen on spilling my whole life to some stranger who gets paid to listen to my whining.
I stopped taking the medication, I didn't tell anyone though. I didn't believe in the "happiness is in a pill" thing and wanted to get through this on my own, I was stronger and better than that.
From then on, things kind of teetered up and down. It got worse for a month or two (during which I had given up on life and swallowed a bottle of pills, only to throw it up 5 minutes afterwards out of fear), although slowly things evened out. I felt somewhat more stable, as if the foundation of the house that I was no longer shook. Waiting for its downfall, It was sturdier.

I still have my moments nowadays where I'll grab the kitchen knife and think, "Forget it, I don't care anymore". They're less frequent though. I don't think I'll ever get through it completely. Depression is something that changes your mindset forever. I feel like I've grown and matured so much in the spand of a year. It's not something easily explained, I believe only those who have gone through it can truly understand what it's like to hate everyone, everything and yourself with such a passion that it makes you sick to wake up every morning and have to face those disgusting morons that call themselves your friends and family. To feel so alone and empty that you don't even know who you are anymore.

I think the truest proverb ever is "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I may not have gone through rape, physical abuse, death, or such things. Hell, I've had a great life compared to some people! I felt weak and stupid, almost like I didn't deserve to be placed in a category of "depressed teens", some of which had seen/survived terrible things much much worse than anything I had gone through.

My therapist taught me at least one thing though. Everyone is affected differently by their surroundings and experiences, and to a little girl of seven, being accepted and loved may have meant the world.

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