A STEP TOWARD HEALING

A STEP TOWARD HEALING

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV

A Step Toward Healing

I look at my reflection in the bathroom mirror and think, Will I be missed if I die? Do I really have a purpose in this superficial world?

“Hurry up, Yaa, you’re going to be late for school again!” my mom screams from downstairs.

I take my bag and head for school. I sit in class and listen uninterested as my first-period teacher rambles on about the speed of light. Lately I have lost interest in everything including after-school activities. My mind is consumed with the hopelessness of ending my life. I look at the teacher and curiously wonder if she can detect the grief in my eyes.

At school, I don’t belong to any specific clique. Even though I am a cheerleader, I don’t really hang around with them anymore. I don’t belong with the drama students despite the fact that I am in the drama club, or the computer kids even though I like learning about computers, not even the Goths, although I listen to heavy metal. I simply can’t bring myself to be with a particular circle of individuals. I just walk around the hallways, occasionally stopping to chat with some “friends.” I don’t even have a best friend. At lunch, I sit and listen to people talk and sometimes even try to participate in the conversation so no one will be suspicious of my sudden change in behavior.

After cheerleading practice, I go home, up to my room and cry and cry because I don’t understand where this feeling of depression is coming from, and it’s overwhelming. I listen to sad songs because I feel better when the pain is directed somewhere else. Every night, before my mom comes home, I wash my face to hide any evidence of tears because I know how hard she works and the last thing she needs is to worry about me. We always eat dinner together, and during that time I assure her that my health, classes, school and everything in general is fine.

She always says, “Yaa, I know high school can be tough, and if anyone or anything is bothering you, you can talk to me and let me know.”

It’s every time she says these words that I open my mouth and try to tell her about what I am going through, but I am so convinced that she will never understand it and that no one will ever understand me because I don’t even understand myself.

Late one night as I lie in bed, I look up at the ceiling and think of the many ways to end this misery. I finally come to the conclusion of ending my life. As is customary with those who’ve decided to kill themselves, I decide to leave my mom a suicide note.

I start with the words “I am sorry,” and I continue writing, listing my reasons, my everyday sadness and my lack of interest in everything. I tell her I love her and it’s best for me to do this and that we will meet up in heaven someday. As I begin to fold the letter, I realize what I am about to do, and I’m not scared; in fact, it’s comforting to me. Then I think of my mom. I realize I am her only source of hope and happiness in this world. I realize how much pain she will go through. She tries so hard to make me—her only child—happy. My father left us six months ago to get married to another lady. I cry when I see my selfishness, cry some more when I reread the letter out loud. I collapse on the floor. Maybe death isn’t the road to regaining my happiness. Because I remember there was a time in my life when I was happy. I sway my weary body as I cry. I wipe away my tears and head to my mom’s room. I knock on the door.

“Yaa, is that you?” her tired voice asks.

“Yes, Mom,” I respond. I start crying as I walk toward her.

“What’s wrong?”

I tell her everything. She cries and hugs me, and I feel relieved.

After that night, we sought help together, and I met a lot of kids in my same situation, and I understood how much better life could be. Ending my life was not the solution to my freedom and happiness. Talking about it, no matter how hard, was a giant step toward healing.

Yaa Yamoah

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