I’d always found the the American Heart Association’s slogan a tad ridiculous. ‘Life is why.’ ‘Why’ what and what’s so great about life? ‘Nothing’, I thought, obnoxiously answering my own rhetorical question. Life was a chore, an obligation, a dull movie that never ended, a tiresome trip that went on far too long. I took it for granted, but who can blame me? That’s what you do until you die.
My heart stopped on August 29, 2016; I was technically dead for three minutes. I collapsed in a stairwell after eating a candy bar. Presumably, the sugar from the Snickers was too much of a shock to my system; it sent me into ventricular fibrillation, which resulted in cardiac arrest. That’s what they said in the ER, at least–that and that I was lucky to be alive.
My psychiatrist showed up. She ran in, her hair messed up and things flying out of her purse. I could see the tears in her eyes. I felt so guilty, and as quickly as I could, I explained to her that I thought the extra calories would behove me and that I was really trying to go above and beyond my meal plan. She interrupted my ineffectual rasping with a lecture; I needed to follow my meal plan exactly and I was lucky to be alive. Okay, I guess.
My cardiologist came bearing tacos, which she handed, confusedly, to my psychiatrist. I tried to wave, but my hand just flopped feebly in the air. She asked me how I was, outlined the adapted course of treatment, and told me I was lucky to be alive. I didn’t say anything; I didn’t have anything to say.
The doctors were right. I didn’t know it then, but I’m beginning to realise it now; I am lucky to be alive. After all that I did to my body, I shouldn’t be here; the starvation, the overexercise, the drugs–they should have killed me; they did, yet they didn’t. Somehow, I survived, and somehow, I’m here now, alive.
Life is a gift–an awful gift, but a gift nonetheless. I’d be lying if I said it’s all sunshine and rainbows from here, but I promise you, it won’t be this terrible forever. Things will get better; you can get through this. You just have to fight back; you just have to bite back.