I remember after she graduated, hearing small stories about K. She was struggling. She was sad. She had a mental disorder. She had to come home from college because of the stress. The stories continued over the next few years. When I was a Junior, K took her own life. My role model was schizophrenic and also suffered from multiple personality disorder. One day, left unattended at home, she took a butcher knife and slit her own throat.
I went to her funeral. I wept through the entire meeting. I don't remember anything that was said, any songs, any heartfelt prayers. I just sobbed, remembering my sweet friend, her gentle ways, her beautiful smile. I had always been taught that suicide was evil--that those who took their own lives were selfish and would forfeit any heavenly reward in store for them. As I cried, there was one thing of which I was certain: My angel friend was not selfish. She was not evil. She deserved more of a reward than I will ever earn in my lifetime. She was sad, tortured, and, in her own way, suffering a self-abuse that no one can understand. And at the same time, I missed her with all my heart.
A friend, chatting online with me, observed a couple of days ago, that my eating disorder did not profile that of a typical anorexic. He mentioned that it seemed to be "different... like you're trying to commit suicide, not that you're struggling for an ideal." When he said that, my stomach lurched, I felt helpless tears beginning. I continued to rationally discuss that which was making me feel hopelessly out of control. I sobbed behind my computer screen while I typed reasonable, calm responses. I thought of my friend, and wondered, am I her?
The strange thing is, I don't feel depressed--just helpless. I've never been presented with a problem I could neither solve, nor cope with in some way--till now. The reality is that I really don't want to die. I just cannot understand what is happening to me. I realized that I felt those same feelings when my cousin would visit me at night. I absolutely did not understand what he was doing, I had no idea how to react or cope with the situation, I did not know how to proceed. I haven't felt that way for many years. Now, once again I find myself helplessly confronting those feelings--but this time I'm an adult. I should know what to do! But for whatever reason, I don't.
There is a nagging, horrifying fear inside me that I'm going to fail. That even though I'm trying so hard to get to the bottom of my problem, it will eat me alive before I can conquer it. That fear is tangible and paralyzing. I shudder as I try to confront it. I'm exhausted as I try to control it. And as this happens the realization hits me that as fatigue sets in, my resolve weakens. I just feel so very tired. Then the desire to just be finished--to give in--is overwhelming. I immerse myself in work, in new projects, in my children, in my callings, in pathetic pleas to my God for some small deliverance.
My daughter is now the same age I was when my nightmare began. She is slender and beautiful--eleven years old, and 65 tiny pounds--as I was at the same age. I look at her and am suffused with agony. I want to protect her, while at the same time I am consumed with envy at her innocence. I love her with all my heart, but a part of that heart wishes that I was her. That I could look at my life one more time, unmarred with ugly realities I had no business knowing. That I could have the luxury of romantic childish fantasies, unmarred by fear and pain. I'm ashamed that I want this--that I want to run from my past and into her present. But I do want it. Someday, I just want to be free.