Prospective Online

Breathe

Mary Catherine Selig

Mary Catherine Selig

Catherine Anderson, Writer

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I feel like I’m running. Like I’m on a never-ending track filled with every hurdle imaginable. If I stop even for a second, I will fall, and then it’s over. If I’m not running from my past, then what am I doing with my present? Living in the present cannot be an option.

That’s why I’m horrified when I stop to breathe. When I stop running, I have time to reminisce. The last time I stopped to take a breath, I tried to kill myself.  

When I heard “Rivendell,” I cringed. A mental hospital wasn’t for me because I wasn’t “crazy”.

It didn’t register in my brain that I had reached a point where I no longer saw the importance of being alive. From where I stood, even on the day I was admitted, I couldn’t find a good reason to keep living. All I saw was my past and how bad of a person I must be to get repeatedly torn apart by others. I lied to myself, and I was letting the mistakes of others dictate who I was and how I handled being me.

Being at Rivendell, hidden away, helped me change that.

The tightly-bonded walls, the locked doors and the escape from the outside helped me find a reason to live.

My therapist forced me to disconnect and depend on myself. If I was slacking, it could only be the fault of one person: me. Being forced to think about myself made me look deeper than I ever have. For a week, I was able to think without hurting myself. But as soon as I got out, I started running again.

Rivendell is nothing compared to the real world. Everything you do is monitored, and the mistakes you make mindlessly do not count. That is why I was okay while I was there, but as soon as I walked out of the warm arms of Rivendell, I was hit by reality. What I failed to realize was that walking out of that building was just the beginning. I was supposed to apply what I learned at Rivendell to my life outside their walls. It felt impossible, because those two realities are nothing alike. Everything that led to Rivendell is what I escaped for a brief moment, then I was pushed right back into it.

I remember coming home and how everyone surrounded me. They were so happy that I was back, but all I wanted was to be on the rubber mattress under the thin, sheet-like blankets again. I missed it. All I wanted was to run.

But eventually, I had to face reality. I had to start living in it. But just because I recognize its’ wicked authenticity doesn’t mean it stops me cold in my tracks. It just makes me run faster.

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