The Effect of Affection

Admiration and affection are important qualities that affect people’s lives, directing and guiding them through changes and new experiences. People carry and create passionate emotions within themselves that allow them to connect with the world and those around them. From these connections, relationships can form, encouraging the emotions to grow and develop. Without acknowledgement, these relationships affect a person’s life every day. By admiring a person, great changes can come about one’s life, usually for the better, but at times, creating problems rather than helping with them. In my freshman year of high school, I grew to admire my friend, Hannah Boudreau, unknowingly allowing her to affect my life in a variety of different ways.

I often refer to myself as “veiled in secrets” due to the self-destroying burdens I keep to myself. Timid and untrusting by nature, I don’t tend to open up to people easily, and finding friends becomes a challenge for me. Throughout middle school, I grew comfortable with my lack of close friends and did not find it troubling to live without a personal confidant. Although I met my friend, Hannah, in middle school, she became a closer friend to others before she became my best friend. It wasn’t until our first year in high school that we grew closer because her other friends had moved away. Through our new high school experience, we grasped the little bond we had and made it stronger by helping each other out. Hannah helped, encouraged, and inspired me incredibly and I have grown to admire her unique traits and social talents. Opposed to the shy and quiet girl I was, I was attracted to Hannah’s unusual characteristics. Hannah was independent, loud, playful, and comical. She could get along well with different people and was loved by many. I felt that I could learn from Hannah and I enjoyed spending time with her until I later found out that she wouldn’t always be there.

“It’s strange to think that I may never see you again after high school,” I once told Hannah before school, pondering over my thoughts. I was shocked and heartbroken when Hannah responded with the fact that her father was retiring and she would be moving the following summer. From that impending event, my life was effected greatly. I couldn’t think of what to say or even breathe as a pain choked my insides and the truth strangled my mind. I had just become friends with Hannah and I didn’t want to have to give her up. After years of not having a close friend, I had become thankful for having her to rely on. Ironically, from this dread of impending sadness that would surely follow losing my friend that summer, I fell into a deep depression.

After witnessing how easily Hannah made friends and realizing how difficult it was for myself, I came to the conclusion that I was simply not worthy of friends and that I would burden any person who became my friend. With these new thoughts settling in my mind, new feelings and pains also settled in. Indescribable aches and pains consumed my soul with the swallowing hurt of depression. The worst of these mysterious pains developed within my stomach and continued to sweep through my chest and throat. My heart rate steadily increasing, my throat would begin to tighten and my body would be thrown into a seizure-like state, trembling and shivering without my consent. This feeling came over me many times, always invading my mind with the constant thought of doom and emptiness. From these constant thoughts, I called the feeling my “Doom feeling.” With these pains attacking my physical being causing me to actually feel an aching emptiness within me, troubled thoughts sabotaged my mind. Fear and dread attacked my brain and blurred my thoughts into a horrid painting of confusion, colors violently thrust upon the canvas. My mentality was so wrecked that the cause of my constant sadness was usually unknown to me. Stress and other troubling ideas kept my mind awake to suffer in guilt, punishing and hurting my tired body. In the silent black of night, I would either lie in wait listening to each passing second of the clock, or would transfer my thoughts into words through each clacking key of my computer keyboard. My blog was a frequent refuge to release the burdens that tormented me, and for a while, it was my only listener. Not wanting to burden my friend with my troubles, I tried to hide them from her and instead relied on the comforting text from those on the Internet. My blog gave me encouragement, yet I still longed for a true friend. Although I was writing on my blog, it wasn’t the same creative writing that I loved. Rather than letting fictional worlds open up upon the screen, I ranted and begged for help. As if I had become an entirely different person, my interests and hobbies became dull and lifeless and I became obsessed with improving myself in both physical and characteristic qualities. The time I had previously spent drawing and writing was now used to check my weight and carefully monitor and record it as it rose and fell dramatically. My enthusiasm and enjoyment in life was falling just as quickly as my body mass and my stomach felt just as empty as my heart.

Throughout this dreadful period in my life, I desperately reached for different forms of help. Friends from the Internet sent in advice and constantly reminded me to worry less and take a break. My writing club advisor emailed me and asked me to take better care of myself and seek medical attention, and classmates from school were troubled by my appearance and suddenly changing moods, begging me to speak to someone of authority. Denying that I was even troubled, I never did seek help from a counselor or medical specialist. Trying to keep my state entirely to myself, my parents never even knew of how I was. Faking a smile each time they passed, I skillfully fought my internal war myself, yet I wasn’t entirely alone. Although I tried to keep it from her, Hannah knew what was happening to me and tried to help as best as she could. She spoke with me and helped reason through my troubling thoughts. Always knowing what to say, I could rely on her for a good word. Even though these issues were caused from the knowledge of her forthcoming absence, her current presence greatly helped.

Admiring a person can cause troubles and problems, but also help with such disturbances. When people allow friends to grow closer to them, their lives are affected in many ways and can sometimes change tremendously. Each thing a person does in life seeks a comforting stability and may weaken when that presence is taken away. Affection is a human feeling that fills the heart with passion and grants value to our lives. Relationships are the strongest fibers of our lives, pulling together our emotions and feelings with our actions and personalities, each thing affecting the other and allowing us to truly live.