“You’re not my daughter anymore! No daughter of mine will be living under MY roof doing drugs and sneaking out. I raised you better!”
No. You didn’t raise me better. I watched you drink yourself into the emergency room. I saw you violently vomit a combination of bile and Patron, then continuing to drink despite the fact that you were slowly rotting your insides. But quite frankly, I couldn’t care less. You raised me to be the person I am today: a pathetic, alcohol drinking, marijuana dealer and smoker, crystal meth injecting, worthless teenager.
“Ioughta kill you! Do you not care what God thinks? You should be in Hell for your actions.”
I know that. I know I probably deserve all the pain and suffering a person can receive. I’m a troubled teen living in a troubled world. I should’ve known better. I should’ve thought twice before inhaling the toxin-infused smoke and letting myself fall into the same habits as all the other tweakers I’ve met.
Did they all know? I didn’t understand why they were all ignoring me. I saw so many familiar faces walking past me, but I seemed to be just another face in the crowd to them. I didn’t realize how unimportant I was until that very moment. Not a single person asked about the purple circles surrounding my eyes. Not one person asked me why I was shaking uncontrollably or why I was as pale and emotionless as a person who just witnessed a murder. I had walked through those halls a million times, and I had never once been alone. All of a sudden, though, my world was falling apart. I should’ve known this would happen. I should’ve known I wouldn’t be accepted.
Ever since I was a child, I knew I was a bit different. I was always alone, and never had a lot of friends. I would blush whenever anyone talked to me, and I couldn’t hold a conversation because of my awkward personality. Once I got to middle school though, I was who every other girl wanted to be. I was president of Student Council, vice-president of theatre, and extremely popular. All the boys wanted to be with me... maybe because their hormones were raging and my body was a lot more… developed than most other girls. Everyone was constantly bombarding my Facebook notifications with friend requests and messages setting a time and place to hang out. I was every teacher’s favorite since I never turned an assignment in late and was always on time to class, despite the constant distractions in the hallway. Being who I was, I had to live up to everyone’s expectations, and when I messed up, I was automatically the most useless and hated person in school.
Specifically after the Valentines Day dance disaster. I was in charge of coordinating the entire dance, including the food, the music, and the decorations. It was all just too much pressure… and when I forgot to make a reservation for a DJ, everyone demanded a refund and was disappointed. I tried fixing the problem by calling every DJ I knew… but everyone was booked with weddings and dance parties and the single people grieving another Valentines Day without a valentine. The tickets were just $5 each… So I barely even had a budget to work with. All of my ‘helpers’ just fooled around and complained about all of the problems with the plan, but never even offered to help. No one knew how much pressure it was to take this on all by myself. There was even more pressure after everyone starting spreading rumors about how irresponsible I was and how I ruined their Valentines Day.
“Alexandria… Alexandria Hope. You’re going home. Get your stuff packed, and make sure your essay over what we did in the lab today is ready tomorrow. We’ll see you then.”
No… no you won’t. None of you will. I just know it.
By this time, my heart was beating so hard and so fast that I felt a sharp pain whenever I breathed in. I knew something really bad was going to happen. Whether it be that the cops were waiting outside to arrest me, or my dad with my bags packed so I could find somewhere else to live. As I was contemplating all of the possibilities, I was met by something I never expected. Both of my parents stood calmly, signing the release form the school requires. I automatically hoped that they were going to take me somewhere we could talk things out… maybe a counselor or a family member’s house. But where they took me was far worse than what I ever imagined…
The car ride seemed like it took hours. There was a heavy tension blanketing us from the time we got into the car until the time we arrived. Since my eyes were filled with tears, all I saw were trees blurring into the azure sky.
“Take off all metals. Your necklace, your lanyard, your belt… Yeah. That has to go.”
It was as if I was going through airport security… But I couldn’t blame them. After all, the patients here were supposed to stay away from anything that they could use to harm themselves.
Thankfully, the metal detector seemed to have missed the metal on my cigarette lighter. Without my lighter, I didn’t think I would be able to get through the rest of the day because I needed to smoke as soon as possible to calm my nerves.
There was a long corridor… Just like the stereotypical mental hospital. The fumes of bleach and rubbing alcohol quickly burned my eyes as I walked through the doors marked ‘Authorized Personnel Only’. There was an empty waiting room with barred windows and linoleum floors. The silence between my parents and I allowed me to hear the faint hum from the lights. While focusing on the noise, I let my parents go in front of me, and from the doorway I watched where they decided to sit. I slowly stepped into the room, chose the seat farthest away from them, and plopped down on the rough material. Not even five minutes were able to tick by before residents of the hospital started to trickle in for drug tests and medication. I felt as if I saw hundreds of people in the four hours before my name was called. The monotone voice on the other side of the over-com announced ‘ALEXANDRIA HOPE, ROOM 68’. I felt my heart drop into my stomach, but I played it off, got up from the chair, and walked down the hallway looking for room 68. Psychiatrists and therapists came rushing out of this room and that room, this hallway and that hallway. They listed names, followed by medications I had only heard of on television.
“Ariprazole, Ritalin, and Vyvanse.”
“Ritalin and Escitalopram.”
“I’ve seen improvement. I took her off of Alprazolam. She’s only on Effexor.”
All these people were on all these different types of medications for anxiety, ADHD, and depression, while I only did drugs to calm my nerves and was never even officially diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder. Maybe my life wasn’t so bad after all…
Who was I kidding? My life was crap. I didn’t have to be in this prison. I didn’t have to be surrounded by people who couldn’t live by themselves. I could take care of myself, no problem. I didn’t need anyone’s help. I didn’t need people worrying about me or caring for me around the clock. As long as I had my pipe, my needles, and my flask, I’d be perfectly fine.
When they saw the slashes on my arms, though, the doctors had a different opinion. I was far from fine.
I spent two hours getting interviewed and asked about the last time I cut and smoked and drank and shot up, and of course, I lied about each and every date. I lied because I didn’t want to be in that damned mental place. I lied because I knew I wasn’t crazy… I was just depressed. All my attempts of suicide had failed, so why worry now?
“Alexandra, you’re going to be admitted. You’re at risk, and we need to keep you under observation.”
Observation? I wasn’t a guinea pig. I didn’t need anyone constantly watching me. Why did my parents wait so long to care? They should’ve cared months ago. They should’ve been there for me when I needed them, rather than being drunk and gone. If anyone, my dad should’ve been there for me because he was the sober one, but no, work and gambling were his main priorities. I was left alone in the house, and everyone knows what happens when a teen is left alone: sex, drugs, and parties.
That’s how I got into this mess. That’s also apparently how Chloe, Elizabeth, and Mallory got admitted too.
Chloe was just 15 years old, with blonde hair, striking blue eyes, and a fair complexion. Judging by the look of despair on her face, I knew that she was fighting a monster much more powerful than mine. She often told stories of the times she got arrested, and what led up to her attempts of suicide and how she ended up here. I always seemed to be the only one interested, despite the suspense and captivating nature of the stories. It was after a few days that I realized why Elizabeth and Mallory didn’t pay attention. They had heard the story a million times already, and knew fact from fake. Elizabeth often snickered while Chloe was telling her stories, despite everyone considering them ‘best friends’. Elizabeth had light brown hair, hazel eyes, and tanned skin. Not a natural type of tan… but more of an orange shade to it. She seemed spoiled and stuck-up, but once I paid attention to her mannerisms and her personality, I felt her struggles. One minute she would be happy, and the next, all Hell broke loose. Mallory was often the one who calmed things down with her humor. I thought she was crazy, but she really just had ADHD… which I had no problem with since she livened up the mood in our shared room. Every day for a month, the schedule was basically the same. We all went out for group therapy for 5 hours, played Uno on our breaks, ate lunch (which was surprisingly delicious), watched television and talked about random topics, and then went back to our room at lights out. The highlight of every day was when we went to group therapy. Since Chloe, Elizabeth, Mallory and I were the only teens in the hospital, we had the same group therapist, which meant we got to spend even more time together. The group therapist, Bridget, and they were very quick to include me in their activities. They were always very attentive and made sure that I wasn’t thinking negatively.
For once, I didn’t have a problem with it. I loved the fact that they helped put a smile on my face, and understood what I was going through, since they went through it and knew how hard it was. They worried, and so did I. We all knew that they would be here for longer than I, and it killed me because I wanted them to be okay, happy, and free. Free from the confinement of their minds and emotions. In the weirdest way, however, I wanted to stay there. It felt like home… well, it was home. It was the only home I had.
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