Suffocation. Drowning. Lifeless. These are the words used to describe how Amy felt when she almost took her life away. Eighteen years old, with no desire to fulfill her life, Amy Tossler could only think of one way out. Depression was consuming her in the cruelest of ways. No one understood. Except for Kyle. A few years older and wiser, Kyle McGettigan became determined to show Amy a new way to live her life. He wanted to show her a life of happiness. Being that there is no such idea of a "life of happiness" in the mind of a teenager diagnosed with depression, Kyle must put every effort into saving this girl's life. But will Amy let her guard down for him?
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By Alexandra Lewicke
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2014 Alexandra Lewicke
All rights reserved.
I felt as if I was hostage in a jail cell. No windows, no sunlight, no outside contact. Nothing. The dark and gloomy room consisted of one bed, one sheet, and one chair. No pillow, outlets, or anything else for that matter. There was not one object in that room that could be used to kill yourself with. To be honest, I had more of an urge to kill myself in that lonely room than I did at home where all my problems were. The point of a mental hospital is to cure you from your desire to want to end your life. I find that not to be the case.
Everyone treated me like I had a "Fragile handle with care" sign tattooed across my forehead. My nurses were careful with every word they spoke to me trying never to say the wrong thing. Not that I ever listened to them. I hated I.V.'s more than anything but they were necessary to drain out my body of all the pills I tried to overdose with. The nurses were constantly pricking me with needles. But I wasn't sick. Maybe mentally sick.
Luckily, after a week of progressive behavior, I was moved into a normal bedroom. This room had a window letting in the sunlight each morning, but I still chose to keep the curtains closed. I enjoyed the dark. It was morbid, exactly the way I felt. Unfortunately, my visitors thought otherwise.
"Come on Amy. Today's the day. Wake up and get your eyes adjusted before mom bursts in and rips the curtain open. You know she will" my sister Theresa came to warn me. My eyes slowly fluttered open and immediately directed to the dry erase calendar my nurses had set up for me. Today's date was brightly circled. This is the day I have been counting down for. The day I have been pretending to behave for. Today was supposed to be the most exciting day out of my time here. Today was my release date.
"You are supposed to be lively not staying in the dark all day" my mother said as she ran into my room and ripped the curtains open, as expected. I immediately revolted under my covers shielding my eyes from the rays of light penetrating through my room. Bright lights, or any light at all, bother me.
I prefer to sleep all day every day. Sleeping shuts my mind off. That's all I longed for. Believe me, I am more than ecstatic to be able to go home. I was eager to get rid of the disinfected old people smell of the hospital and to finally be able to eat real food. There was something about hospitals that always creeped me out. The amount of people who had died in this one building. Millions of souls possibly lingering if you believe in that kind of stuff. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of here. But going home also meant returning to my life, my problems. That was my greatest fear.
My mother wasn't exactly my biggest fan. We've never gotten along. Ever. She initially thought my "depression" was simply a cry for attention. Even when the doctors told her that I do in fact have depression, probably from a chemical hormonal imbalance, she still refused to believe me. I guess she didn't want to accept the fact that she raised an unhappy daughter. To this day my mom reminds me how much I have no reason to be depressed. "You have a roof on your head, food to eat, clothes to wear, and family that loves you" she will say. Although I know she is right, that I shouldn't complain and just be appreciative, I still can't help feel the way I feel. I don't have control.
I got dressed into the change of clothes my mom brought me from my closet back home. I despised the jeans she picked out but I suppose they're better than the hospital gown I was required to wear. My style was complete opposite of my sister's. Theresa wore bright pink tight clothes and sported heels while I wore black sweats and sneakers. I wouldn't consider myself "Goth" or "emo" but compared to my sister I might as well be.
She is a freshman in high school. Popular, blond, and gorgeous. I am a senior, or at least I was. I have only one best friend who lives next door to me. Other than that, I was a nobody and I preferred it that way. Although, I'm sure the student body will be highly aware of me now. "The girl who tried to kill herself" they'll mummer.
I never quite cared what people thought of me but it was kind of hard not to now. They'll make assumptions of why I did what I did. A billion rumors will spread like wild fire. They'll think I couldn't handle being bullied the way I was. They'll say I'm weak. Was I?
My nurse came in to check my vitals one last time before I was released. She wasn't my last visitor though.
"How are you feeling today?" my psychiatrist said as she came into my room. I just smiled and nodded. I have exhausted the use of "I'm fine" therefore I no longer answer those questions. What I never understood is why people who know you're not okay still ask you how you're feeling anyways. Clearly I am not feeling okay. I've been stuck in a hospital for the past few weeks. Did she want me to answer that I'm having such a great time?
Dr. Casey attempted to pump me up to get excited for going home. She knew it would be a fail before she even tried. But I will give her the benefit of the doubt after her typical going home speech.
"Today is a new day. You are going to go home and treat life as if it never almost ended. You are here now to seize the day. I'm not going to promise you that life will be easier, no one's is. But I promise you that day by day it will get easier to conquer any problems that come your way. These past few weeks you've learned how to cope and deal with your depression. I expect you to use those methods on a daily basis. Remember, if you begin to think dark thoughts, picture yourself standing in front of yourself saying 'stop'. Everything will stop. I have faith in you. Have some in yourself." Dr. Casey made her point. But how could you promise those things? Nothing in life is guaranteed. Especially not happiness.
"STOP" I pictured myself telling me to quit thinking the negative thoughts. This was the only method that ever worked for me surprisingly. I felt bad as my sister had to sit here in a hospital listening to tons of people begging me not to die. I know she was scared and I didn't help with the matter either. Theresa was the one who found me that night. My little sister had to walk in on her, supposed to be role model, of a sister laying lifeless on the bathroom floor. I traumatized her and for that I will never forgive myself. She was great at hiding her feelings though. Theresa wore a smile stretched across her face day after day with optimism. I love her for that.
Since my attempt, I have thought a lot about how I would feel if I found Theresa the way she found me. If the tables were turned. How would I have felt? I would have died. There's no way I could ever allow what happened to me happen to my little sister. She and I aren't super close, but I still love her more than words can explain. My sister is supposed to look up to me. Instead she was looking down on the ground at an almost dead me. What I put her through made me feel worse than I normally do. Theresa deserves someone better of a sister than I am.
There was quite a lengthy process on allowing my release. I had to be evaluated by the doctor one last time. She needed to determine whether or not I was positively ready to go home. She had to be absolutely sure that it was safe for me to be in an outside social environment. There could not be the slightest sign that I would try to kill myself again or hurt myself in any way. They also needed to be sure I wouldn't hurt anyone else either.
Once Dr. Casey's evaluation was finished, I had to get my prescription for my Prozac pills. The medication I was put on balances out my hormones basically eliminating most negative thoughts. In other words, they're happy pills. I wasn't so happy about taking them though.
I'm not the biggest fan of medication. I do not think that one tiny pill a day will change my mind. My parents feel better when they know I'm on the medication though. So I took it to make them happy, not myself. My parents and I finally signed the release papers. Everything was all set to go. I was free to go out into the wild once again.
"Here we go" I whispered to myself.CHAPTER 2
Readjusting to a normal lifestyle was difficult. My schedule in the hospital consisted of: breakfast, counseling, school, lunch, counseling, school, dinner, and counseling again. Now I had free reign to create my own schedule and it is definite that napping will take up 90% of my day.
When I arrived home I immediately ran straight up to my bedroom. Every girl's bedroom is her safe haven. My oldest teddy bear was sitting on my bed waiting for me to grasp him like I would every time I had a mental break down. I walked over to the vanity. Staring at myself in the mirror I thought "Who am I?" as I thought most of my days. I knew what I had to do next.
Walking down the hall towards the bathroom where I almost died was treacherous. I remember taking the same path just a few weeks ago, but in a different state of mind. There it was, the door I quietly opened that night, the drawer I searched for my mother's pills at, the floor my trembling body fell to. It was all still there. And so was I.
After begging myself to stop, I went downstairs where a family dinner was waiting for me. My Dad cooked my favorite meal; crab cakes and angel hair pasta. The table was already set with everyone sitting in their designated spots. I sat down to join them. Normally I hate anything done for me out of pity but crab cakes trump hospital mush any day so who was I to complain?
Dinner was quiet at first. The silence was anticipated suspense. My parents didn't know what to say to their daughter who hated her life. In my opinion, it was best off they say nothing. I enjoy silence. But as usual, my mother spoke her mind.
"You have to eat everything on your plate Amy" my mom commanded. To my advantage, my dad saw my aggravation and quickly changed the subject.
"I cannot express how happy I am to be eating dinner with all three of my girls" You could see in my father's face his relief yet worry. I've always been a daddy's girl to say the least. He didn't understand why I was depressed. His little baby girl who once sat on his shoulders to see the world because she was so wide eyed and curious, no longer wanted to see the world at all ever again. I can only imagine what I put my parents through. My father works so hard five days a week to give us the best life possible yet I repaid him by making a statement of my unhappiness. I never meant to act ungrateful. I appreciate everything, I just don't deserve it.
"Yes it is nice. You girls should probably head to bed soon though. We've had a long day and you need to get up early for school tomorrow. I know how much you hate waking up early Amy but it's your first day back and you'll want to look nice. Don't you?" my mom suggested to my shock.
"Um I'm not going back to school Mom" The first words I have spoken all day were a protest. Typical.
"Actually you are. I spoke to the principal and she is more than glad to accommodate you after missing so much work. We'll get you caught up and readjusted in no time" My mother looked at me like I was supposed to just accept her statements with no argument. But everyone else knew me too well. My father and Theresa kept quiet knowing that nobody makes it out alive in a war between my mother and me.
"You can't force me to go back there. I missed weeks of school. There's no possible way I can get caught up. Not only that but I didn't even want to be there in the first place. I'm not going" but my mom didn't listen to a word I said.
"I had your teachers send the work you've missed home with Theresa"
"Please don't drag me into this Mom" Theresa said quietly. I looked over at my Dad in hopes that he would back me up on this one. Apparently a wife's decisions outweigh a daughter's.
"Honey, everyone needs to get an education. You only have one year left. It's your senior year. This is supposed to be the best year of your life. Your mother and I are just excited to see our first child graduate that's all" my dad tried to explain. Best year of my life? How could this year be the best year of my life when it already started out shitty? I have nothing to look forward to and that's the least of my worries. High school is a hell full of demons. There was no way I was going back there.
"You don't get it" I stormed away from dinner and out of the house.
I ran to the only place I ever felt comfortable, the beach. For as long as I could remember, my body has always been drawn to the ocean. The salty air was the only air I could breathe clearly. The sound of the waves hitting the shore was the only sound that calmed my anxiety. Tonight's only problem was that it was late September therefore the weather was too cold for my liking. So I just sat on the dock near the shore instead. I felt safe here. It felt as if none of my problems could reach me. Well, at least until some random guy disrupted the soothing trance I was in.
"Can I help you?" I asked in disturbance. I don't like anyone trespassing on my territory especially when it's the only place I can reach some level of happiness at.
"Well, considering this is my dock, maybe I should be asking you that question" I stared at the boy silently because I knew he had a point. Apparently this wasn't my territory. I stood up beginning to leave.
"Hi, I'm Kyle McGettigan" Kyle extended his hand for me to shake. I didn't respond. He didn't quit just yet.
"So what brings you out to the docks this late at night?" he asked. I finally gave in due to his persistent annoyance.
"Not that it's any of your business ... I don't want to go back to school" I briefly described. His eyebrow crinkled as he grew confused.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, which I'm sure you will, but isn't school in the daytime?" Kyle sarcastically asked. Surprisingly, I appreciated his fearless sarcasm. He reminded me of myself.
"Yes, but I meant I don't want to go back to school. Ever" and I never will. I know how my parents felt. They want me to get my education. But there are other options like getting a GED or homeschooling. Although I don't know which would be worse; dealing with my mother all day or dealing with bullies and drama in school all day.
"I can understand why you wouldn't want to go to school but why weren't you going in the first place?" He used the one phrase that I hated the most. "I understand". No you don't understand. Nobody ever will. People only say they understand because they want you to feel like you can trust them. But you can't trust anyone. Even if he was diagnosed with depression too, which I'm pretty sure he wasn't, he still wouldn't understand. No two situations are the same. How could he know how I feel? How could he understand why I don't want to go back to school just to be tortured, bullied, and harassed? No. He doesn't understand. Now I was frustrated.
"Because I tried to kill myself." I blatantly replied. I didn't realize how bad it sounded until after it came out of my mouth. I only wanted this guy to know that he did not understand. It was silent for a few minutes. Nobody ever knows what to say to the depressed girl. Either that or they're too afraid to say anything at all. Kyle didn't seem to be though.
"People who try to kill themselves are only looking for the easiest way out" I couldn't believe he dared to make such a statement. I should've been more pissed off than I already was, but somehow I enjoyed his risky words.
"It was my only way out. Then my stupid sister had to come to my rescue" I found myself explaining to this stranger.
"Wow. She sounds like such a bitch" Kyle pulling the sarcasm strings once again. We both laughed. I stopped myself once I realized I was laughing out loud. I can't remember the last time I actually laughed. Most of the time I felt like I wasn't even allowed to. I felt as if laughing would betray my mental diagnosis.
"Seriously though, I believe that killing yourself is too easy. As well as selfish. The real solution is to battle through your problems and making it out alive. I prefer to prove to life that I can defeat it rather than being defeated by it. That's the true adventure" He had a point I suppose. I always knew that what I did wasn't my smartest decision, but what Kyle didn't know was that I physically could no longer live in this hell.
"Too many terrible things have happened to me. I've also participated in some terrible things. So trust me, it would've been for the better". It would have been better for everyone. Kyle looked confused again but then he perked right back up.
Excerpted from The Cure by Alexandra Lewicke. Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Lewicke. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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