My eyes gently opened, letting just a sliver of light shine through. For a second, I felt sheer bliss. All of my problems, worries and responsibilities didn’t exist. Specs of dust hit the ray of warm, golden light that gleamed through the curtain’s cracks, enough to illuminate the entire room. Engulfed by the silken, thick duvet, I was shielded from the world around me. This state of temporary amnesia was quickly overshadowed as reality set in. The blanket that once protected me became suffocating and the blinding light that filled my room was overcome by a darkness that only my eyes could see. Faint memories flooded my head from the night before. What did I do?
Rewinding about ten hours back, I couldn’t be more excited. A sophomore at the time, the prospect of going to a glow party at a club with people from all grades was exhilarating. I had come up with an ingenious scheme to deceive my parents. I would leave my house, change into clothes for the glow party and then after the party I’d go to the country club, shower and change back into my original clothes before going home with stories for my parents about how fun the movie night at my friend’s house was. I wasn’t about to let anything ruin my night so I had every detail planned out. Or so I thought.
I left my house around eight to meet up with friends at a nearby bar, known for serving underaged kids, to pregame. There, I saw a guy I had hooked up with a year before that I hadn’t seen in awhile since he moved away. I think it’s important to note that this was a regretful hook up with my best friend’s ex that didn’t end well, as you could imagine. Shortly after some forced smiles and awkward small talk, I grabbed my nearest friend and headed straight to the bar. “Six tequila shots please,” I said. Tequila used to be my favorite drink before this night. It’s been a couple years and I still have to hold back throw up every time I get a whiff.
Tipsy and regretting that last shot, my friends and I headed to the club. The events that happened next are pretty blurry, which I assume is a mixture of the alcohol hitting me and my mind’s coping mechanism of suppressing. From what I do remember, I didn’t have a fake ID so I had trouble getting into the club. Slowly my friends started to disappear as they managed to get in and so I was left alone to socialize with random people from my school. By the time I had figured out a way in by borrowing a senior’s paint-stained shirt, it was already 1 AM. Anxiety began kicking in when I couldn’t find any of the people I came with at the club. A group of five or six guys, who looked like they were in their 20s, motioned me over to their table. “Do you want some?” One of them asked, pointing to a bottle of Grey Goose that was half my size. “Sure,” I said, hoping the alcohol would help me deal with some of my social anxiety and make me more “fun”. One sip turned into too many to count as they took turns pouring bottle after bottle directly into my mouth. The last thing I remember is a junior, let’s call him Joseph, buying me a drink at the bar. The rest of the night is wiped from my memory. Although I’ll never know exactly what happened, I do know it was the worst night of my life.
The next morning was miserable. Taking every scrap of energy I had in me, I lifted myself to sit up, wincing in pain. My head pounded, feeling as though it was about to collapse in on itself any second. A shooting pain rushed through my body, every muscle ached as I moved leg by leg to the edge of my bed. I was covered head to toe in glow paint, still wearing the same clothes from the party. I reeked of tequila and vomit. No part of my body or mind felt like getting up. I frantically searched for my phone, which was nowhere to be found. I later found out I had lost it the night before. I opened my computer to messages from people I had never talked to before. Some were concerned. “Are you okay?” “Did you make it home safe?” “How are you feeling?” Others told me things that I did which I had no memory of. It was terrifying. “Haha you threw up all over the cab it was so funny.” Not funny to me. “You passed out on the stairs.” Oh no. “Some upperclassmen had to take care of you.” I’m so embarrassed. “I can’t believe you hooked up with Joseph.” Wait what? At first I didn’t believe them, but the messages kept flooding in about my apparent hook up with Joseph. I denied it, thinking I couldn’t possibly have hooked up with anyone because I would’ve remembered it. I was then told a senior had posted a snapchat story of us hooking up for everyone to see. It was as though the world was closing in on me and breathing became more and more difficult. I shut my computer, unable to bear talking to anyone else. I imagined him touching and kissing me while I was barely conscious. Tears filled my eyes as my entire body started shaking. I had never felt so humiliated, vulnerable and violated.
That whole day I shut myself off from the world. I confined myself to my bedroom, staring into nothing while I let my thoughts eat away at me. The voices that haunted my head were louder than ever. No one cares about you. You’re pathetic. You did this to yourself. You fuck up everything. I craved that bliss I had felt the second I woke up, when nothing seemed to exist. I wanted to forget everything and to be forgotten. As the night came, my feelings only worsened. My self-loathing grew and grew as I recited continuously in my head I hate myself, I hate myself, I hate myself. I took a box cutter and began carving into my skin to relieve the pain. But self-harming wasn’t enough this time. I scavenged through my medicine cabinet, found painkillers and took as many as I thought would be enough to end my life. I don’t know if it was from the blood I lost or the painkillers already working, but a wave of drowsiness collapsed over me. Memories, people, places- all flying through my head, swirling in my thoughts, daring me to go back. My panic intensified as I realized what I had done. I immediately hung my head over the toilet and stuck my fingers as far as I could down my throat. You can’t even kill yourself, you can’t do anything right can you? I managed to get some of the pills back out but in the moment, I had no idea how many more were still in my system that I couldn’t get out. I believed it was too late for me. Feeling fatigued and defeated, I laid myself down. I went to sleep that night expecting not to wake up. And I was okay with that.
I did wake up and I’m thankful every day that I did. You always hear “things get better” and “everything will work itself out” but it’s difficult to believe when you’re in such a dark and hopeless place. But years later, I can honestly advocate for the saying “things get better,” because they really do. I still struggle with problems I had in the past, but I’m now able to manage them in ways I never thought I could.