Drifting

Senior year of high school, my english teacher once said to me "I don't want to see you drift." This was after I wrote a personal essay about the death of my father, which had happened only months before. I remember we read Hamlet and Frankenstein, books steeped in death and grief. I was obsessed with Ophelia. I thought of her constantly--drowning with the flowers, ruined and haunted by a dead father. Maybe I saw my own fate in her.

I had no plans after high school. I did not go to college like all the other students in my english class. I stayed with my mother, got a job in a factory, descended into anxiety, depression, and despair. Panic attacks.   Nightmares. Fear of everything--of loud noises, storms, leaving the house. My life shrank to the four walls of my bedroom. The future was not real. Only the present mattered and all I could do was survive.

When I finally made it to college, I guess I had hope for a future. But, in many ways, I am still the same person as before. Still afraid, depressed, anxious, drifting.

Now it is senior year of college and I don't know what I will do after I graduate. I am stuck in this life, in this small town, in this haunted house, in these memories of a father who isn't coming back. I care about very little. This is my depression writing. It controls me right now. It tells me that things will never get better, that this poverty won't end. How will I hold down a job? How will I pay all this college debt? How will I survive when my life is going nowhere?

When my english teacher said those words to me, I should have said that I drift, that's what I do, that's all I can do. I drift and drift and eventually drown.