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I still don’t know, honestly, why I am so depressed and weary So many things have happened, and I don’t want to share them all, not even with you.

But I have a couple of things that I need you to know, I doubt that this will take very long, so bear with me.

For the past two months, my brain has been occasionally diving into a very paralyzing state. I shall go on about my day as best I can, and then my brain will suddenly shut down. Everything about my mind that I will describe to you in a future issue simply disappears. I can do basic things, but the most unique aspects of my character and my intelligence are separated from me by an impassible wall. It’s like being towed into a dork room, with a turban or something so tightly wound around my head that I can’t see or breathe. And while I’m there, I can feel so many people around me, kicking, punching, crushing me, all while the darkness around my head gets tighter and more painful.

These spells usually go away after a few hours, and I have always experienced them or home, with one exception. But they are gradually getting longer and more painful, They bring me to the point where I can’t even remember the day or who I’m talking to. I can remember one instance where I sent a message to one of my Bryan College friends online, telling him that his name seemed familiar and asking who he was. For the next thirty minutes, this man, who knows me well, stayed right there with me, telling me who he was. And for some reason, everything he said kept going right over my head. All I knew was that he seemed familiar and I felt a warmth deep inside me as I talked with him. I can’t help thinking that this warmth was that bond of friendship reassuring me, like that sixth sense of being with someone who cares.

And just like that, the fog cleared. Everything came back to me, like a picture coming into focus. And at that moment I felt two things. The first was total shame at the way I had completely forgotten who my friend was. But the second was an inexpressible feeling. As I read back over the chats of those thirty minutes, I saw how much that friend cared, and how understanding he have been. And despite the distance, I felt in that moment as if he were right with me, telling me not to worry.

This has happened—while I was interacting with someone else—twice before. The first time was with a friend that I know online only. I had the presence of mind to stop typing before something embarrassing came out, but he cared enough and paid close attention to know that something was wrong with me and made me tell him about it.

The second one is the one I told you about first.

I know you’ve heard this before, but I think might know what’s creating all of the pressure. It’s not because I’m going to Bryan College and don’t want to, or even that I can’t go to Bryan and do want to. The problem is that I don’t know.

When we first discovered the National Guard option, we were all excited. I felt like it was a direct answer from God to the faith I had determined to have just a few hours earlier.

As time went on, I became unsure about whether I wanted to pursue that option. I couldn’t place a finger on any particular reason, but it didn’t feel right.

But my parents kept their enthusiasm intact. And even after I discovered yet another option, one which allowed me to afford Bryan, it was clear that they had wanted me to take the Guard route. This, added to the fact that they kept saying it was my decision, placed me under a great amount of stress.

The additional option, by the way, was to attend Bryan College as an online student. This was a much cheaper route, and it would allow me to still be active in the Bryan community. Plus, if things change or I save enough money, I can transfer to studying on campus later on. And the best part is that my online fees are completely covered—with some left over—by my financial aid.

All of this climaxed on Wednesday, March 22, when he got onto the subject again.

My parents told me in one breath that if going to college was not what I really wanted I should not do it, especially, if I felt pressured by them. And in the next breath, Dad spent thirty minuter telling me about why I could hardly hope for a good career in my field without going to college. Basically, this was my choice, but God help me if I made the wrong one.

I cried silently as I ate dinner that night. Dad asked me if I was okay, and I told him I would be fine. And this was more or less true. I had no choice but to be fine. I’m not going to tell my dad that I’m crying because he sounds like he’s double-talking. I’m 18 years old, and crying itself makes me feel like a pathetic child.

But I have been pinned against a wall. I was trapped in a corner where I had been convinced of what was right, and I am brainwashed beyond the ability to know what I want. So I told a friend about it, and he gave the same advice, as well as one very reassuring promise.

I am not joining the National Guard this year. I am going to start with the online option and consider the Guard with a more open and less crowded mind as an option for next year.

We haven’t had the Discussion that my parents want to have about this, but judging from their initial reaction to my telling them my decision, it seems like my friend’s promise is a perfectly-timed sign from God.

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