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A Broken Clock

Brynn Kemelhar

eXpressions™ Program: Language School: Orange High School City/State: Pepper Pike, Ohio Teacher(s): Vikas Turakhia Medium/Genre: Short Story eXhibition Year: 2017
As I walk around the hallways of my high school, I look around to see if I can notice anyone else who feels as empty as I do. It’s hard for me to talk to others about how I feel inside, but when someone tries to ask me how I am, nothing comes out. When others look, they see a mess – they see me. Someone who can’t control their emotions, who always looks like a mass of darkness.  

The night I tried, I couldn’t tie the knot fast enough to get the noose around my neck. I was fumbling around when I saw the headlights pull into the driveway. At first I didn’t think my parents saw me, but how could they have missed me trying to dangle myself from the tree in our front yard? The lights swept over my trembling body and stunned me for a second or two before I could try and slide in. But they pulled me down from the ladder and held me tight as they called 9-1-1. That was the other thing that stunned me – I didn’t think they cared that much. But to my surprise, it turned out they did.  

Instead of letting things out, I let them build up inside of me. I fortify my feelings like a wall against my own sanity.  Nothing seems real to me anymore, not the constant yelling inside of my head, or the criticizing glares I get when I walk down the hallway. I’ve become immune to my own pain, so much that I don’t even think about it anymore.  Everyone used to look at me and think, wow, she has everything she could ever ask for, her parents are rich beyond belief.  But that’s just it, my parents are wealthy, but they put all of their time and energy into their work. Me being an only child, a role that I once thought of as a privilege, now kills me.  I spend all of my time alone, not even bothering to wonder what time my parents are going to get home. The small amount of anxiety that I first carried around with me blossomed into full-on depression. Just brooding about my state and milling around the house like a mass of darkness.  

In health class last year, my teacher brought up the topic of depression and anxiety. Besides the boring fifty-minute lecture, I learned that it can be affected by one's marital, financial, and social status and is usually prevalent in Caucasian people. Also, I learned that it is common for Caucasians to experience a high risk regarding depression and anxiety, which I thought seemed wrong at the time. I thought that the minorities of the school – who were way worse off than I was – would be more apt to develop depression and anxiety. As I was comparing my life to others in my school, I realized that I am very fortunate and come from a good home, unlike many others who come from broken families with low financial status. But then, taking a closer look into my home life, I realized that it was somewhat broken also. My family looks like a perfectly painted picture on the outside, but on the inside we work like a broken clock. All of the parts work on their own, not together. When I grasped the reality of my home life, and the fact that my parents are barely ever home, something unraveled inside of me. Everything seemed to go downhill from there.  I began to not care about school and not pay attention to anything around me – especially other people and how my state affected them. I retreated into myself, put up a barrier, and let nothing in or out. As time passed, I become more solitary and the yelling that went on inside my head became more constant. The little voice inside my head took a toll on me and grew larger every day. It took a whole lot of energy just to get through the day without breaking down. The pain intensified, but I became numb to it, eventually just going through the motions without a single thought about it. It became another weight I carried around with me day after day.
Laying in the hospital bed and looking back at how I handled my depression, I don’t know if I would have done it differently. Mostly because I didn’t know anything about my condition then and still know only a little about it. I’m slowly learning about anxiety and depression and about myself. Do I regret it? Maybe. However, that one incident led me to get treatment. That was the breakthrough that all of the buildup inside of me had led to.  

eXpressionist Statement:

The topic I chose to write about is depression and anxiety in different ethnic and racial groups, based on research conducted by Andrew Genao. Genao’s project studied people of different ethnic groups and asked them if they felt any of the symptoms noted in a survey. Both anxiety and depression can be caused by the marital, financial, and social status of an individual. The study concluded that depression and anxiety are more common in Caucasians,and less common in African Americans. I felt that this was a relevant topic to today's modern individual because of the evident divide in status among people of different backgrounds, and symptoms of anxiety and depression often affect them in their everyday lives.


Selected Research

Depression and Anxiety in Different Ethnic and Racial Groups Researcher: Andrew Genao Mentor: Charles S. Modlin, MD, MBA, FACS School: Bedford High School Internship Track: Applied Medicine Internship Year: 2016