The clattering of dinner plates. The bustling of waiters. The chatter of teenagers, celebrating the final run of their high school musical. She sits among them as the laughter surrounding her turns into a dull hum. The festivity in her periphery blurs as her vision narrows. The sinking feeling inside. She would trade this pain for any physical pain.

She blinks and the crowd is gathered outside on the cold cement. The broken street lamp flickers behind her. The roar of the racing cars ahead echoes inside her head. She stares at the headlights dancing in the darkness on Highway 17. They seem to beckon her, as she starts to walk toward them. Her pace quickens. Gaze intensifies.

A voice breaks her trance, "Hey! Where are you going?" A hand grasps her shoulder and spins her around. She collapses into her best friend’s arms, mascara running down her tear-streaked face.

Nineteen years later, that girl still doesn’t know she saved my life.

I was plagued with 4 more years of darkness following that night, until one day, the heavy curtain suddenly lifted, and I awakened to see my life waiting in front of me. I've since faced what seems to be an avalanche of challenges, and have feared falling back to that horrid place. But that time in my life has made me stronger. More hopeful.

Everyone has their own inner battles. I share this personal experience to let you know that, although it may not seem possible now, you will get through yours. There is hope. There is help. Some may need the help of medication…a therapist…a friend. Take one day at a time. One moment at a time. Cry when you need to. Scream if you can. Have someone listen. Listen to someone.


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