Ben came over to my dorm room on October 3, 1997. After months of late-night arguments and high phone bills and extremely emotional discussions, he severed the tie. "Breaking up" doesn't encompass what happened that night. He wanted to leave; I desperately wanted him to stay. After about an hour of arguing, I realized that we were no longer we.

Panic overtook me. My tear-streaked face was red and puffy, and I soon found that I could not breathe. I begged for Ben to leave, as his presence was intensifying the symptoms. Out of concern, he stayed, but all I could do was cry harder and harder. I curled into the fetal position on my bed and tried to hide my face with my hair. My breathing was far too rapid to be functional, and I held my breath as long as possible, punctuating it with huge gulps of air.

Ben walked down the hallway to get some water for me. While he was gone, I stumbled to the medicine cabinet, found a bottle of Midol, and downed eight pills.

The following events are a blur in my memory. I know this much is true: Ben found the bottle in my hand. Andy and Ariana were in my room at one point, and the next thing I clearly remember was a group of people standing in my doorway. There were police officers, other students, and eventually, there were paramedics. They were all looking at me as though I were some sort of frightened animal; with soft voices they tried to coax me away from my place in the corner.

I didn't want to go to the hospital; in fact, I tried to scream against it. I planned to trick the medics and police by agreeing to walk down the stairs--and then, I would run like hell. Except what happened instead was far removed from my plan: I fell down the stairs and was promptly placed on a stretcher. The cool night breeze drifted over my face as my eyes fluttered shut.

not just pain relief
to the hospital
what people say