I Try To Keep Awake

I Try To Keep Awake

My freshman year of high school started out the same way as it does for every other teenager.

I was feeling excited, nervous, apprehensive and full of anticipation. I couldn’t wait to make new friends and start my high school experience.

After always attending a co-ed school, my parents decided that attending an all-girls Catholic high school would be the best for me. At first, I was resistant, but soon began to love the closeness I felt with my classmates and teachers. Everything was going smoothly until I started feeling sick a month into school. 

“I'm on a train, but there's no one at the helm
And there's a demon in my brain, who starts to overwhelm”

My illness came on slowly at first, I felt tired all the time and worn down, I had trouble focusing and completing my schoolwork, I didn’t want to spend time with my friends, and I felt out of control of my emotions. My parents initially thought I was just staying up too late on the phone or doing homework, but no matter how much I slept I still felt exhausted. This went on for a few weeks, and then the rashes and fevers started. After I had a fever every day for a week my parents took me to the doctor. My primary care doctor ran a bunch of tests, all of which came out as inconclusive. My doctor assumed that I had a virus and told my parents I should feel better in a few days. 

“A nightmare tape loop of what went wrong yesterday”

Days stretched into weeks, and then months, every day was the same, I woke up feeling exhausted with a fever and a rash that came and went. I went to numerous doctors, had tons of tests done, all coming up as borderline, or inconclusive, no one knew what was wrong with me! I was only able to stay up for a few hours before falling back asleep. When I was awake I watched movies or read magazines that my mother bought for me. I felt like I was stuck in a bad movie, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t stay awake. 

“I try to keep awake”

After a few months I gradually began to feel better, I could stay awake for longer periods of time and had a little more energy, and I was able to work with a tutor at home. In May of my freshman year I was able to return to school for half-days before finally finishing out the year while staying at school for the whole day. The doctors finally diagnosed me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome but couldn’t attribute all of my symptoms to it. From time to time I still experience symptoms, but nothing like that year where I literally had to “try to keep awake.”