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Anne-Sophie Reinhardt Headshot

Life Is Worth Fighting For

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"Do you feel something? Anything?" My mom's shaking me, desperate, terrified, wailing.

"She's breathing." My dad's checking my pulse.

My sister's just standing there, watching. Heartbroken.

It is February 28th, 2006. The day I tried to commit suicide.

My memory of that day is a haze.

Life had been hellish forever. I was almost 17 years old and had been fighting anorexia for seven of them. I was severely depressed, had dropped out of school and was stuck in an abusive environment that was supposed to be my home.

Life seemed hopeless. Worthless. Dangerous.

I was the loneliest girl on the planet, lost, had no friends, no future, a shattered soul and a broken heart.

The thoughts of committing suicide had come and gone over the past few years, but I had never let them get to me. There was still something I could hold on to, wasn't there? At least I had my mom, my sister, whom I loved to pieces. My beautiful goddaughter was not even a year old and traveling the world still gave me joy.

So, really, it wasn't that bad.

But in truth, it was. I had already been long dead inside when I gulped down half a bottle of Valium on that dreary winter morning.

It was my brother. It had always been him. I don't remember what he did, what he said, but it was too much.

Suddenly, nothing mattered anymore. The oppressive silence that usually occupied my mind grew to a piercing screech: End. This. Now.

And I did.

"It's unfortunate you didn't die" were my brother's devilish words when the paramedics escorted me out of our home.

That's when it hit me. I wanted to live.

I wanted to breathe, feel, leap and experience happiness, faith, trust and love.

I didn't want to leave just yet.

That's the moment I committed to life.

That's the moment I promised myself that I would fight until I was free, confident and healthy.

That's the moment when I made a pact with my future self to wait for me to heal. To heal, blossom and make a difference in this world.

That's the moment I swore to myself that I would do anything within my power to survive the depression, the eating disorder and my home and that I'd be stronger afterwards.

Over the next 5 years, I'd wake up every morning with this promise in mind.

It was a slow process with more downs than ups, but I didn't give up.

When I had no energy to get out of bed for weeks, I created an obsession with Lost that kept me sane.

When the darkness within kept creeping back up, I was proactive and began taking meds.

When my room started to feel like a prison instead of a sanctuary, I found new friends and starting going for short walks.

When the insecurities of not being smart enough poisoned my mind, I bottled my anxieties, studied harder and graduated after all.

When anorexia was threatening to take my life, I dropped out of college and admitted myself to a treatment facility to fight this illness once and for all.

And when I experienced the real beauty of life for the very first time, I knew I had not been wrong. The tireless fighting, the omnipresent fear, the suffocating silence, they were all worth it.

I was relieved I hadn't given up.

Why go on in times of maddening suffering?

Because life is worth it.

It is worth fighting for a moment when you get up in the morning and are excited about the day.

It is worth fighting for a time when you are not paralyzed by an overpowering feeling of hopelessness.

It is worth fighting for a day when you feel free.

Life is worth pushing through even the hardest of struggles because when you emerge, you will be stronger.

Yes, I have gone through a lot of pain, but I am at a place where I don't wish for those years to disappear. Those years shaped the person I am today. Those years made me a fighter, an optimist and a girl who is ready to embrace life with both arms, no matter what it throws in her way.

Hitting rock bottom, feeling like you're completely crushing and then building yourself up again is an overwhelmingly difficult, but also incredibly enlightening and rewarding experience.

It terrifies you, it drains you, it breaks you apart, but it never makes you weaker.

My past has made me more mature than most people my age. It has given me an astounding perspective on what life really is about. It has given me the capacity to let go and move on, even when it hurts like hell. It has given me a clear and unwavering quest for justice that will be with me until the day I die.

We all go through hard times. We all deal with crisis. We all have moments when we don't think we can move on.

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing you're never going to see the other side of it.

It is easy to feel helpless and powerless and to want to give up trying.

Yet, when you do, you grow, you transform, you evolve.

It's time to wake up and see those rough times as challenges to reevaluate your life and change on the inside and out.

So get up, shake the fears, let go off the misery and reclaim your life.

You can do it.

I believe in you.