Author: Felicia Johnson
Publication Date: May 22, 2013
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions
In many ways, Kristen Elliott is a normal, seventeen-year-old girl. Kristen loves her family. She works hard academically, and tries to please her mother. She takes on the additional responsibility of caring for her twin siblings, Nick and Alison. She idealizes her best friend, Lexus, who not only seems to lead the perfect life, but also catches the attention of John, the boy Kristen secretly loves. However, as is the case with many teenagers, Kristen feels frustrated, isolated, and confused.
In other ways, Kristen is not like other kids her age. She knows something is wrong with her. Kristen feels like an utter failure. She is unable to please her abrasive mother, and scared to confront Jack, her abusive stepfather. She is also unable to protect Nick from Jack, making her fell all the more helpless. Adding to her problems, she knows she will never be as beautiful as her best friend Lexus. Kristen finds solace in self-injury, and the company of Mr. Sharp, her imaginary friend who encourages her feelings of self-loathing.
After a failed suicide attempt, Kristen is placed in the Bent Creek mental hospital, where she is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. While in the hospital, she meets a group of peers suffering with their own mental illnesses, and a compassionate staff of doctors and counselors. From there, Kristen begins her journey to survival. She discovers the circumstances that brought her to this breaking point, struggles to understand her mental illness, and fights to be a survivor against her own worst enemy: her self-blame.
Kristen’s tale of endurance illustrates the complex illness of Borderline Personality Disorder. Readers – including those suffering from BPD and their friends and family – can glean insight into the illness from Kristen’s humanity. Her story is an example of how, if we try to push the past away, we are either doomed to repeat it or let it haunt us to our graves.
Nick pulled the sheets off of me, and found me hiding. I was lying still on my back with my wrists turned up. Blood stained my sheets and ran down my arms and onto the floor. I could hear soft, mellow cries in the background.
“Is she dead? Oh, God!” His voice faded as I drifted out of consciousness.
There were many pills. There was a lot of blood. There was only one knife.
I could hear him crying for our mother. I could hear them both shouting and screaming. He was screaming my name. I was too exhausted to call out to him and tell him that everything was going to be okay. This pain was going to be over soon. Nick was crying hysterically. He wouldn’t have listened to me.
I felt weak, like I had all of the weight of the whole world on me. It felt heavy at first. The paramedic lifted me up and onto the stretcher, and without any support, my head fell back. I couldn’t move my head. I started to feel weightless when he laid me down on the stretcher, like I was floating in the air. It was warm and peaceful.
I didn’t hear Nick’s screams or the sirens anymore. I was surrounded by darkness.I knew this was the moment I had been waiting for. The pain was almost gone. I felt a big relief, took a deep breath, and let out a sigh. If I were left alone for a little longer, I might have completely fallen asleep…
There was pressure on my chest. The pressure was so hard that I could feel my heart moving without my having any control over it. Air was forcibly making its way down my throat and into my lungs. The paramedic was breathing into my mouth.
I blacked out.
I came back.
I blacked out again and was back in the dark.
Felicia Johnson is a writer, youth mentor, student, and big sister. She loves ice cream, and seeing her little sister, Laura, smile.