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How I Overcame the Hardest Part of my Life

by Cole McDowell 10 months ago in treatments

And what started it all

Peace can only be found within yourself.

It all started the beginning of my freshman year. I was a very soft, naïve kind of person and I was getting to know my new environment a little better. I was learning where to hang out at break and lunch, my classrooms, getting to know my teachers, all that fun stuff. Pretty soon I felt like high school was going to be a walk through the park and everything would go perfectly. I'd get through all four years and walk out the same fella I was when I went in. I couldn't have been more wrong at any time in my life. One of my particular classes was called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) which was a fairly cheery atmosphere. After about two months through the year is when I met a girl, which for the sake of protection, we will refer to her as GG.

This took place in my AVID class, being the reason why I mentioned it earlier. She had two friends in the class which were very friendly to me and enjoyed conversations with me. Now keep in mind way back when I formed connections with people very, very, VERY easily, so it wasn't too long before I had grown very fond of them. One day I was rigorously doing my classwork when one of her friends told GG to refer to me as "babe", and before I knew it I realized that she liked me. Sound like an 8th grade romance tale yet? Anyway, I had originally not thought about it until the worst type of chemical warfare was unleashed-teenage hormones. This is where I made my first mistake. I fell in love in a sense. Yes, I'm aware it's high school, but as I mentioned earlier I was a very emotionally connective stereotype and I still am. I remember the one day I had gotten my lunch from the pizza parlor across the way and was headed back to my "area" when she ran up to me and asked what I got for lunch. This might seem like a very basic human gesture to some of you, but to this day I'll never forget that moment, ever. When I got home, she would always text me just to see how I'm doing. We would have long conversations about whatever, and as I'm typing this the wounds in my mind and heart reopen and I can remember how happy I was and who I used to be, and no matter what, I will never forget that part of me.

As the weeks went by I had finally made the mistake that would lock away my childhood self forever. I asked her to go out with me. Even though I did like her a lot at this point, I wish every day that I could choose differently. Keep in mind this was all over text as it will help you understand later. She happily agreed, and before I knew it, we were "dating”.

Believe me when I say this, I was probably the happiest I had ever felt. However, one recurring problem I had always struggled with was my social interaction. In other words, I was very shy. This soon would inevitably become my sorrowful downfall. As time went on, I had finally asked her (behind the safe-haven of snapchat) if she wanted to go to to the football game that following Friday. Again, she agreed, and so that following Friday, out of all the inner chaos that was yet to come, that Friday night was one I would never forget. To this very moment I can feel, very distant but present, the wholesomeness and young love of my first romance as I recall looking and simply talking to her eye to eye. Nevertheless, this was a one of those moments that would soon snap me to the core.

Please bear with me, as everything I am describing serves a purpose to its effect. After that night, I would start to notice my shy behavior taking a toll on our relationship. I could just feel it and knew something was going not quite how it should. We would still text in the evenings, but that was about all. One day I had returned home from school after asking her to the upcoming football game the following Friday. I had settled in and received a message from GG, and as I opened it and I could still clearly remember all the details, I felt for the first time in my life, my first heartbreak. The message was, in summary, saying that we were finished. For protection, I will not state any reasoning in the message. Later I walked in the kitchen with my first scar sizzling into my heart to find my dad sitting there and waiting to greet me. I explained to him what happened, and like dads do, he made an attempt to comfort me with explanations. That discussion ended with a relieved chuckle from me, but deep within that chuckle for the next 2 and a half years, was the turning point of my teenage life. I would feel the person I knew myself as and the world around me burn within my heart and soul.

As time progressed, I had fallen into what many people know as the grieving process. The reason I will not simply explain the grieving process is because this was no ordinary grievance. This would be the hardest journey of my life, where I would be exposed to all sorts of pain, including suicidal thoughts. I would become very angry at the world for its lack of justice to my circumstances and for a short but powerful time, I had succumb to a menacing force that often persuaded me to hurt myself and others. I would arrive home some days, enter my room, and sob due to all these emotions attacking me at once. I just felt so alone, like the world stopped caring about me and I kept hearing people I knew in my distraught mind tell me to get over it. I cannot speak for anyone else, but to this day, I find the phrase “get over it” an insult to anyone going through any kind of mental illness.

About two months had gone by before my best friend, who will be referred to as Pete, decided I needed some help. I had been friends with Pete since my Jr. High school years. I had got to know him through another friend who I had known since kindergarten. In short, for all the years I’ve known Pete, he is was one the people that helped me the most. I had been walking home with Pete one day when he mentioned how I appeared to be feeling in conversation. Soon enough, that following Wednesday, he brought me to his church for the very first time. I still attend that church when I can even now. After a few visits, including a church party, I had felt after a long time, as though the universe was going to make things right.

Although this had a great impact on my mental stability, I was still having a hard time controlling my emotions at will. For a better understanding, I needed something more accessible within me whenever I had these feelings. This, with the help of one of my well-known psychiatrists, lead me to a professional therapist that will be referred to as Scotty. Let me just say, it was Scotty’s expertise that was the true formula for my acceptance. I would go frequently to have a meeting with him, occasionally bringing my parents (who I can’t thank enough),and we would consult about different aspects of the issue.

It was this method of therapy that I now truly believe which taught me how to not only accept my eternal darkness, but control it to my advantage. We grew very fond of each other during each meeting, and eventually I rebuilt my mind, heart, and soul for the better. I still experienced fragments of agony up to this very day, but have the ability to rationalize it and let it go. Eventually he saw I did not require these meetings any longer, so he signed me up with neurofeedback appointments. These would be scheduled every Monday and I would come into the office and use a computer to exercise and stimulate my brain activity. This may seem like it doesn't have to do with emotional therapy, but I can’t express how much it gave me. It showed me how to put my mind in ease when confronted with a stressful situation. Soon I was able to relax my thoughts and be more at peace. This is also the reason why I am very against drug use as it manipulates the brain into believing that is the one solution to people’s inner wounds.

As you probably noticed, I had tried to simply this part of my life as best as possible so people enduring similar pain can comprehend my solutions, which I will address in the following, as best as possible. Hence, I am here now, and life is not quite the same, but it is different for the greater good. I want to also make people understand that I could not have done this alone, because without these very special people by my side, I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be right now.

To most people who have greater problems than mine (such as parents getting a divorce, bullying at a young age, etc.) all of our experiences are similar in a sense that we all lack self-security and more importantly, a feeling of love and tenderness when the world turns a cold shoulder on us. From a more statistical standpoint, the suicide rates have dramatically increased over the years. I have come to believe this is because our culture does not have the necessary capability to push for a brighter resolution in the midst of dark times and even more significantly, the lack of mental nourishment coming from family members and others.

Cole McDowell
Cole McDowell
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Cole McDowell
See all posts by Cole McDowell

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