I spent lunch in the library, which wasn’t all that unusual. What was a little unusual was the way I had my bag so inconspicuously hanging from a coat hook in order to block the computer screen from view.
I knew I was being paranoid but all of the secrecy wasn’t because I didn’t want people to think I was weird. That was sort of a given. But because the last time I went on a research binge concerning my disease I sort of freaked out.
I’d already been living with it for a few years but when I got into high school things changed. I was growing up and there were things I wanted to do and wanted to be a part of. I wanted friends. I wanted a boyfriend. I wanted school dances and debate club and homecoming and to try out for the spring play. I wanted that cliché high school experience you see in movies.
But then I started missing classes, buying dresses I never wore, talking to boys who forgot that I even existed during those three weeks of school I’d missed during an episode. And when I was trying so desperately to fit in, only to be yanked back out every three months by my disease, I realized the truth—that I wouldn’t be able to have any of it unless I found a cure.
I spent almost my entire Freshman year in the library pretending to finish makeup work when I was really researching potential cures for KLS online. I was obsessed. I was afraid. And when they made me stop, when the librarian figured out what I was doing and they sent me to the school psychologist, I was angry.
I hated that feeling of standing still, of being a bystander to this thing that was happening to my body and not being able to do anything about it. All of the reading and the research, all of the knowing, it made me feel stronger somehow.
But then they were right. After chasing down every false cure and success story, I had nothing. So I stopped.