Michelle S.

Harlingen, Texas

School was always enjoyable for me until I hit the stressors of high school. My sophomore year I was diagnosed with a heart condition that took me in and out of school until the middle of my junior year. However, my heart condition actually turned out to be mild anxiety. I would lose feeling in my fingers and toes and my whole body would get cold due to this condition. It even got as far as dizziness and fainting. It was the worst year of my life I couldn't seem to overcome my anxiety. But, thanks to the help of my counselors, family and friends, I was able to speak to a therapist and get the help I should have gotten during my sophomore year. Thus, I have overcome so many boundaries in high school: weeks without sitting in a classroom, not wanting to get out of my bed, things other kids would take for granted. Now, I've learned to live with my anxiety. I've discovered my limits, and I'm continuing to lead a semi-stress less life. Due to my struggles and the book Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher, I have decided to combine my talents in art with my desire to help others. I have chosen art therapy as my path for my next four years. Jay Asher's book drew me in so quickly that I was immediately hooked. It acknowledges the hardships teenagers have to face in their four years of high school, as well as the emotional wear and tear students face in their lives outside of school. In the book, the main character, Hannah, is pushed so far that she sees her only option as suicide. If only she had had the chance to talk to someone...

Asher's book has inspired me to help the thousands of people who feel the need to hurt themselves. Hannah went through so much pain that I wanted to help her. Although fictional, there are people out there who are just waiting for someone to listen. I want to be that person. If I could just save one life, I would like the opportunity to do so. Throughout the novel, Hannah describes the 13 reasons why she killed herself as well as confronts the 13 people who pushed her into doing so. I wanted to be the one reason why she didn't. Turning the pages became harder and harder for me. My heart ached for her, and it still aches for the thousands of people just like her. Therefore, through my future work in art therapy, I hope to help those who have been victimized and help them to help themselves as I once did.