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Measure life in moments, not breaths

**Trigger warning for sexual assault

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel depressed in my childhood. I feel I was just born that way. I grew up quiet and reserved and had difficulty making friends. I was an outsider.

The bullying started in grade seven. I remember being taunted for the way I looked. I was too skinny, too zitty, and flat chested. I was singled out all the time. I was never asked to be in the group. I sunk lower into a state of depression. I honestly felt like I was all alone in the world. I remember making my mom a recording that expressed how I felt alone and lost. She did nothing.

Grade eight wasn’t any better. I found myself being isolated from my peers as I wasn’t cool in my hand-me-down clothes and unfeminine body characteristics. I remember the grade eight graduation party; it was awful. I was told by the host that I was only invited because her mom made her invite every girl to the sleepover. She told me to go sleep in the shed in her backyard because I wasn’t cool enough to sleep with her and the other girls in the basement. I remember walking to the shed and feeling alone.

I woke up in the middle of the night. He was on top of me, I panicked and froze, unable to scream. I remember crying. I was raped. “I wouldn’t do that again, you’re too skinny,” he said.

I tried to tell her the next morning and she replied, “You’d be lucky to have anyone want to touch you.”

So I shut up. I shut up for a very long time. I put my head down and started making plans to escape this chaotic world. I had a plan. I knew what I was going to do; I just needed the guts to carry it through. I wrote about my depression in poetry.

I told my mom I was suicidal. She said, “no, you’re not.” And that was the end of our talk.

It was Christmas time of my grade nine year. I met Allana. I told her about my suicidal thoughts. She took me to the guidance department. She saved me. I truly believe she is the reason I am alive today. She took the time to listen and point me in the right direction.

I barely spoke to guidance and learned to put on a front; to fake it until I make it. I became involved in students’ council, wrestling and strived in academics in high school.

The day I turned 19 I left my hometown and headed to the other end of the province. I needed a new start. A fresh beginning.

I began partying a lot. I drank almost everyday. I met a group of people who enjoyed going out with me to the bars. They enjoyed that I was working and had money to pay the tab.

My drinking continued through university and into adulthood. I didn’t know how else to cope. Then I met Steve. He helped me get help. I began cognitive therapy, counselling, and started trying different anti-depressants with the help of my family doctor.

I’m doing better now.  Every day is an adventure, that I choose to take. I tattooed a semicolon on my wrist this summer to remind me to stay strong and to always choose life.

In closing, “Life isn’t measured in the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away”.