The drum of fingers burrowed deep into her thoughts as she hit against the phone’s plastic case. She heard all said of her despite blasting music loud through her headphones and with no one having to open their mouths. It was there how they looked at her when she passed them by on the street. She couldn’t scream at them. They were right. She was a piece of shit and didn’t deserve to live. She tried not to think about the dark hours between midnight and dawn. Nor about how selfish she was being, as she knew the planet was dying and there were children malnourished; and she starved herself so they wouldn’t laugh at her.
She lowered her gaze, avoiding their eyes. Soon she would have to get on the bus, and her stomach was turning into a tight ball. She wanted to throw up. All she had ever wanted was to be invisible. Why couldn’t she just disappear? Why couldn’t everyone just leave her alone? She lifted her gaze just to see if the bus stop was full of people. It was. She stopped, unable to go forth. She was sure her legs would give up. Before they saw her, she bolted into the small forest patch next to the walkway. She leaned against a tree, feeling its hard, uneven serves against her spine. She hit her back against the trunk.
“Stupid, stupid,” she repeated aloud as she heard the bus wheels screech to a halt.
Soon the doors hissed shut, and again she didn’t go to school, and again they would shout at her, and again she would hurt herself.
She slumped against the tree and tried to breathe, but all she managed was short, shallow breaths.
Thank you for reading, and if you or anyone close to you have self-harming ideas, call a local crisis line and talk to someone. They are there to listen to you, and they are interested in what you have to say.
P.S. This short story came to be because I have been working on a local youth mental health services part of my work replacement for my occupational therapist studies. Anxiety and depression and with or without drug abuse are the dominant causes why youth are sent to seek help. And I mean sent. Most find it hard to come there, and some refuse to engage at all. An occupational therapist assesses many of them because they are unable or unwilling to speak, and sometimes action is the first line to get them to open up and state what is going on in their lives and heads. The short story isn’t about anyone, especially. It is a general mood piece, and I just had to write it open. Every story and every anxiety is personal, and there is no one way about it or one reason for it. Personal histories:
- what we have experienced,
- who we are,
- how we have been supported throughout our lives matters greatly.
Many have tried suicide or are cutting themselves. Too many of them don’t get the support they need from their families, and some of their parents are in worse shape. And some parents and relatives have no clue what it is to live as a teenager in this world with social media and fear-infused media. Then there is an alarming rate of unable to say no to their children and parent them through life. But this is not about blaming the parents. They are doing the best they can, living in the same world as their children with their personal histories and burdens. It is the society that needs to act, including all of us. Our lifestyles and values are harming us, and we see more and more people unable to manage with the speed we are going against the future wall, which will hurt. And as a future occupational therapist, I see it is the task and occupations we pursue which define who we are and how we value ourselves and the world around us. A small act of kindness, genuinely listening to someone, and looking past the superficial can be deciding factors of life and death.
Have a great day ❤
© K.A. Ashcomb
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