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"Does that make you upset?"
"No." I shook my head. "I mean, sometimes it does. Sometimes I am very upset because I have to take the medicine, and Mom really pushes me to take it every single day."
"That's good. She is only looking out for you. How are you doing, now that you're at home with your family?"
"I'm doing all right," I told him.
"You will continue to be all right. I've told you this before, and I will say it again. You've come a long way from when I first met you. You've made progress in such a short time. We do have a long way to go, but you are a fighter. We just have to watch out for those moments. Those moments that cause the desperation that you feel when you are about to do something impulsive. As you learned, Borderlines tend to make irrational decisions based off of their intense emotions.
"For instance, when you cut, from the patterns on your arms, I see that you are a fast and compulsive cutter. You slice at yourself in a rage. You make these impulsive, self-abusive decisions. You release your anger all out on yourself at those moments where you feel loss of control and despair. Sometimes the past becomes something you hold on to, and it comes up every time something goes wrong. It doesn't matter if it's something that has nothing to do with your mother or Jack. Somehow, you are able to work it up in your mind that all of these things are coming down on you, and because you don't know how to deal with it, you jump to the most desperate conclusion. The almost fatal conclusion, Kristen, was when you tried to kill yourself. You need to know and understand that when those moments arise, you cannot give into despair. You have to use your coping skills and talk to someone."
"When I'm in that moment," I said, "I feel as if there is nothing in the world that could pull me out. When I did decide to end it all the first time, I thought that the only thing that would give me rest was death! That is how it felt. I wanted to sleep and never have to wake up and feel that way again. When I tried to jump, I needed to get out of the darkness. I was so afraid."
"The darkness was where you felt you had failed. You were afraid of what you thought would happen if your mother had taken Jack back. You see, it did not turn out the way you thought it would. You did not fail because you managed to come out of that darkness. Kristen, you're alive. If you had died that night, you would not be here right now. You wouldn't have had a chance to see that you are strong enough to survive. This is your only chance to open your eyes and see the light that you have been searching for. Now that you are aware of what it is - your illness, which is Borderline Personality Disorder - you have to think about what you know and use it for your survival, because this is real. What happened to you and your family was not your fault. Therefore, you shouldn't feel sorry. Stop punishing yourself. Kristen, this is your life. It's no more excuses."
I thought back to when Ms. Mosley had told me about the moment when I would truly understand. She knew, just as Dr. Pelchat knew, and they were both right. These weren't just random words from a book or psycho-babble c.r.a.p that doctors just say to get you in and out of their office. These words were true. There was no way to deny or reject any of it, because there it was, laid out right in front of me, and for the first time I understood.
In realizing this, I felt something change inside of my mind. Something clicked inside. The change that I felt within myself brought on a new feeling, a new way of thinking, and a new understanding. I realized that, this whole time, Dr. Pelchat's words were being used as a potent force. These words were powerful enough to help me out of the darkness, and they began to lead me into a new light. Dr. Pelchat, Ms. Mosley, and even Dr. Cuvo's words all seemed to come together and somehow began to make sense to my mind. It may have been because this was the moment I began to understand that everything that had happened to me and my family in the past was not ever going to disappear, and if I did not want it to destroy me, I had to begin coping and healing so that I could get on with my life. I couldn't use it as an excuse anymore. It was going to be hard, and it was going to take a lot of time, but it had to be done. It had to be done for my family and me. None of these people wanted to hurt me. I didn't want to hurt myself anymore.
This is my life, I thought to myself. Then I realized who I was, and who I was ready to be.
Dr. Pelchat stared at me silently. He was watching me. He was waiting to see if I would respond. Did it bother me that he was staring this time? No.
Without another thought or hesitation, I stared right back at him. I could tell that my direct eye contact with him caught him off guard. He shifted in his seat a little, but he did not take his eyes off of me. In a straightforward and mild manner, I raised my head up higher while keeping focused on Dr. Pelchat's eyes, the way I remembered Dr. Cuvo used to do.
I said to Dr. Pelchat, "I want to be a survivor."
Her story was one that waited to be told.
In order to tell a story there has to be a story to tell.
There has to be A beginning, A middle, And an end.
For Her, There was a beginning, And there is an end.
This is where the story of Her ends, And my story begins.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
Felicia Johnson was born in Philadelphia, PA. Felicia is a writer, youth mentor, behavioral health worker, and big sister. She loves ice cream, dancing, and seeing her little sister, Laura, smile. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.