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My Trip to the Bridge


Janelle Zimmerman

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I wonder where I started to go wrong. I know it's my problem. It's not that I want to die, it's just easier than trying to get better. This depression, it took over my soul. I know it's always been there, and I can't imagine life without it. My personality is stamped into everybody else, if not myself. Sometimes it's yourself that's hardest to change. I was too secretive for my own good. I know that now. 

The wall I built around my real self is well fortified. There are no cracks, no places where the mortar is rotting. When I look back through my journals, I never said anything personal. Sometimes I think the wall is there to protect me, but sometimes I feel like it's holding me back. Maybe I need to get out of the wall. But there is always the chance that I won't like what comes out. It's been so long since I've known it. On some levels, I've never known it. 

Either way, there is a battle raging inside me. I feel as though two armies, so equally matched, are rushing at each other. No side will ever win. But really, there is only one army, and how can any army surrender to itself? I look at what I see in the mirror. Nothing out of the ordinary, at least not for me. I look sad, but it's a sadness much deeper than losing an object. 

I lost my soul. I know I can't get it back, and I really don't even want to try. I
feel aged beyond my years, like an empty shell. I feel that if the universe exploded I would feel nothing. Because there is nothing in me but pain. And to feel something else, anything else, would bring relief. Relief I can never have. That would be too easy. 

I reach out, almost without thinking, and open the medicine cabinet. My pain recedes as my eyes scan the bottles of colourful pills. There is every color of the rainbow, but my eye catches on some dangerous looking tablets. Slowly, I
take out a handful. As I pop them into my mouth, I remember imagining this same scenario.

Something, however, is missing. As I swallow, I know what is wrong. In my head, this scene made me feel calm, relaxed, and confident. Now my muscles were clenched, and I was doubtful of myself. I was feeling fear. In my most desperate time, my fear, my biggest vice, broke the wall. The wall didn't fall, but there was the tiniest crack. It was a start. I forced my finger down my throat and retched again and again. 

Exhausted, I fell asleep. I have never liked the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," but I now felt a close kinship with the struggling man. I had been to the bridge, like George Bailey. I think when most people go to the bridge, they go to see how close they can get without falling off. When I came to the bathroom, I had no idea that I would attempt suicide. I had walked toward the temptation of the bridge, I had tripped at the edge, and was caught by the skin of my teeth.

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