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The Story of "A"

Added: Thursday, July 30th 2020 at 11:20pm by ontheoutside
Category: About Me > About Me > Emotions

I wanted to share with you a story, it's very late and the idea to write this down came to me in a long shower so please excuse typos or overall jumbled thoughts as I write this.


To set the scene, imagine a young loving couple in their late twenties with the backdrop of a picturesque New England landscape. They're both college graduates with a house, a dog and a yard and they decide to try and get pregnant.

She does all the things a mother should during her pregnancy and when their daughter is born they love her more than anything in the world. They name her "A" and they are completely infatuiated with her.

As "A" begins to grow her parents teach her to be kind and fair and the small family couln't be happier. For her third birthday "A" recieves a puppy, something she has wanted her whole life. But, the more she grows the more it becomes apparent that something not quite right about "A". She's cautious, no, worried...or better yet anxious, but what does a toddler possibly have to be anxious about? Her parents struggle to know what is normal as this is their first child and their are instructions attached.

Just before her 7th birthday her parents give birth to her sister and "A" is in love. There are days when "A" complains that her sister cries too much or is getting too much attention but she loves her sister.

"A" continues to grow and her parents make sure she is well rounded by encouraging her to join different after school clubs and take her and her sister on vacations including many trips to Disney World and a cruise nearly every year. But something is still wrong with "A" and the older she gets the worse it becomes. Her hands are cracked and raw because she cannot stop washing them, she carries out particular rituals often that include a very specific, and yet abitrary seeming, set of rules. She cannot stop asking "what if" or "if I" questions like "If I touch this thing will everything be okay?" No matter how often she is reassured she seeks more assurance that nothing bad will happen.

Her sister begins to grow and "A" tries to spend time with her doing things like reading her stories, but "A" noticing a troubling pattern that when reading aloud she becomes stuck on some words and feels the need to repeat them over, and over, and over again. Her sister thinks it funny, like it's some kind of game but "A" grows increasingly frustrated.

Disasters become the newest thing that "A" has on her mind, she goes on a field trip to an art center and she presses her hands and face up to the glass to see the waterfall below. Suddenly all she can think of is what would happen if the glass broke or the window pane suddenly fell out. She begins to question absurd senarios like what is the possibly that when she gets under the covers at night there will be spiders? Or what if while she wasn't looking a bug crawled into her drink? "A" sees the world as a very dangerous place and falls deeper and deeper into her rituals as a means to prevent bad things from happening.

No longer a young child "A" begins middle school, she is shy but does relatively well in her classes and makes some friends. She feels the amount of fear growing and often tries to get out of going to class, the thought of being around so many people seems overwhelming. One day she is esorted out of the car by the principal who walks her to her first class. Looking through the glass door at all of her peers she goes quickly into flight mode, darting passed the principal and locking herself in the bathroom. Outside the door she is threatened with punishments but she doesn't hear them, she is laying on the floor struggling to breathe.

At 12 "A" receives the formal diagnoises of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She is heartbroken at the thought of something being "wrong" with her and struggles with accepting herself as she is. Her parents get her a therapist and a psychatrist, anything to help their daughter. Most days "A" doesn't feel like anything is helping and she falls into a depression.

"A" is no longer a teenager and begins her life as a young adult. She lives at home and attends a local university to study art. She has a high GPA and seems to begin to embrace a more extroverted side of herself. No one is aware of her struggles as at this point they are almost all internal rituals like counting or blinking and she makes sure to have several excuses ready at any given time should she be "caught" in a ritual.

"A" graduates from college and moves ten minutes down the road from her parents and sister and continues to work jobs as a cashier at the supermarket and later a front desk agent for a local hotel. "A" has a mindset that when certain things happen for her she will feel better, but more importantly, she will feel happy. She is convinced that when she gets a better job, makes more friends, moves to a new city, makes more money, gets a nicer apartment ect. she will finaly be happy.

In the crisp cool air of the New England fall "A" makes a decision, she is going to pack up everything and move to big city on the West Coast. Her parents are skeptical that "A", their overly cautious daughter will go through with such an extreme decision, but she does.

In her new life in the big city "A" has a good job and makes more money, she makes friends and she loves the absence of harsh east coast winters, but, she still isn't "happy".

As it very clear to tell from this story I am "A", this is my story. I carry so much guilt on my shoulders as I think back to all of the oppurtunities my parents gave me to become a normal person and somehow I still couldn't manage that. My battle with mental illness is ongoing and probably will be forever but, that's okay.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that mental illness effects people from all walks of life. We can sit here and blame or feel sorry for oursevles but that won't make us happy. For me personally I find that it makes me angry more then anything.

I can't tell you if "A" ever finds her happiness, but I can promise you one thing, she never gives up trying.




User Comments

And you shouldn't stop trying. I went through a spell of OCD when I reached puberty and it was bad. I couldn't step on a crack on a sidewalk. I had to count to 3 and back again to get rid of whatever calamity lay ahead. I had to enter doorways (and over the cracks in sidewalks) right foot first. I had to eat exactly 3 slices of bread. (The number 3 was really important to me.) So I know what you've been going through. It's maddening. But I guess I was lucky.

One day I'd had enough and I decided to tempt fate. I stepped on cracks. I didn't count. I didn't enter doorways right foot first. And I kept expecting that other shoe to drop but it never did. Life went on. Nothing bad happened. So I eventually got over the counting too. Every once in awhile I'll find myself trying to count again but once I realize I'm doing it I say to myself, "Stop that! You're being silly." And I do. So who knows? You might get over it too if you try. 

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