Chapter 30: Girl Who Leaves

Some things in life are unplanned. Unexpected. Unwanted. Not asked for. Undeserved. 

A self portrait done by girl. Photographed by Angie Stong 

A self portrait done by girl. Photographed by Angie Stong 

The girl that had to take a break from school gets gossiped about for being weak. She is scorned for her inability to handle the pressure of college, ridiculed by her classmates that she walks away from, and written off by professors. She walks away with little hope that her life will come together and she'll be able to return to the school of her dreams. Tears stream down her face in the car while arriving at the airport. She gets on a plane and goes home after just one week.

Some things in life are unexpected. A summer prior to this plane ride, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The manic depressive cycles would keep her wide awake for hours on end, or have her locked in an intense state of fatigue. 

Like every other college student, she wanted nothing more than a good laugh with her best friends while sipping a cocktail. But her ability to partake in such activities is permanently prohibited due to the amount of medication she takes. Lithium and alcohol are not friendly partners; they work against the user and increase thoughts of suicide. That was learned the hard way. Her self-image was at an all time low; there wasn't a day that went by when she wasn't disappointed by the reflection in the mirror. If only she could see that she is endlessly beautiful and radiant in everything she does.

The girl laid in the bathroom tucked away in a corner hoping nobody would find her before she took the pills. Her friends kicked down the door and temporarily pulled her up and out of this downward spiral. No pills were consumed and we had caught her, again. We were distracting her from solving problems that were never faced in the last 19 years of her life. The girl laid in bed the next day and contemplated her existence again, and again, and again. 

"Mental illness is overlooked; it's seen as something you bring upon yourself rather than a chemical imbalance. Nobody asks for bipolar disorder and frequent anxiety attacks."

The girl made the hardest decision of her life today. She decided to fight the battle and live on; she decided to take care of herself. She's dealing with the things that have prevented her from functioning normally. She is boarding that plane because she is strong. She is boarding that plane because she needs to center herself. And she is getting on that plane for the sole reason to strengthen herself so she can kick ass when she returns. She is going home.

Don't you applaud her courage? Her courage for taking on the journey of life rather than ending it early. 

Other things in life are cherished, welcomed, and warmly anticipated. Her return is already causing excitement. We're ready to see her slay, achieve dreams, and impress everybody again and again. Her friends are anxiously waiting to hug her and tell her how much we love her.

I'm proud to say this girl is my best friend. 

xoxo, Ash