It has been said that a person dies twice: one time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on when somebody says your name for the last time. In my life, however, either there would be three deaths or my first just came much sooner. Death knocked on my door, unexpectedly, when my breathing was steady, my body was young and healthy, and my heartbeat strong. I was 21 years old when in my mind, I passed away.
I never opened the door, but somehow Death managed to find its way inside. It was dark, but it wasn’t so scary somehow. I’d say the whole experience was more numbing than anything. I was laying on my bed and looking at the ceiling, just like I always did on my countless sleepless nights. That night, however, Death wiped my tears away and pulled me in its embrace. It disconnected me from my surroundings, my source of pain, and the life that used to be in me.
When I woke up the following day, I checked out the mirror and saw a dead girl staring back at me. She was quite beautiful still, with long silky hair, nice skin, a petite body, and a baby face that made her looked even younger than her years. It was her eyes though that captured my attention, as I saw Death in those big brown eyes. I no longer recognized her as the old me. Something had changed. Something had clearly died inside her. But of course, nobody saw that but me.
Since everything was only in my mind, it means it wasn’t actually real, was it? Nobody knew I died. Nobody saw a dead girl when they saw me. How could they? I was breathing, eating, drinking, and chatting. I didn’t have any grave illness. In fact, that young girl who I believed to be dead had just graduated with magna cum laude, had a complete family, and an amazing boyfriend who all loved her. So maybe everything was only in my mind and I was the crazy one, wouldn’t you think? Before you judge me, let me tell you that I spent years hating myself, cursing my inability to just snap back and become the old me again: the girl who was alive and well. I still had a lot to be grateful for in life, but I felt so dead inside. How could I?
I swear I wasn’t hallucinating or making things up, but the people around me really couldn’t see what I see. They couldn’t feel what I feel. They saw a girl who was too young and too full of potential to even be thinking of death. What they felt, on the other hand, was likely either exasperation or apathy. I heard people talking behind my back, wishing I got out there, work hard and build a career like people my age were supposed to. But how did I do that when I was dead all along?
My official diagnosis was depression, even though at that time it wasn’t confirmed yet. I didn’t see a therapist for years, because I thought they wouldn’t be able to really help me. I mean, how would they “resurrect” a dead girl? How would they reset my life? Therapist appointments −especially if many sessions were required, would also cost me a fortune. That felt a bit much for a fresh graduate girl with no job, no insurance, and stuck in an environment that didn’t believe mental health problems were real.