Writing Catalog

Avigayil Rudolph

Grade: 10

Chaviva High School

Instructor: Ariella Landy

Helpless rant

Personal Essay/Memoir

Helpless rant

Ugh, helpless. That word is so ugly, I hate it so much. Not just the word - that by itself is relatively harmless, although it's still a vile word. It's the experience, the sensation that's horrible. Terrifying is a good word to describe it.

Let me explain: to those who haven't really experienced feeling helpless, the word - for that's what it is to them, just a word - is an adjective, meaning deprived of power. Not being able to help others, or do anything besides lie there and watch. Like they're just there for the scenery or something. And really, they're not wrong. Those are the two words that make up the word 'helpless,' after all. No help.

But to those who have felt the meaning with their entire being - and trust me, you'll know when you've joined this elite group - helpless is a verb. Or whatever the opposite of verb is, because helplessness is not an action, but rather quite the contrary: lying there, exhausted, powerless, filled with the responsibility of watching someone care for you, get you all that you need to stay on the verge of life. Someone else, who has other obligations in their life, but they can't fulfill them because here they are, bringing you food and water and medicine and the constant question of Do you need to go to the ER? The nagging in your head that you're perfectly mentally functional so someone being your servant is unnecessary but then you try to get up and immediately yell at yourself for being stupid and of course you need help. And then that turns into But I'm not old, I'm at a young age, I should be able to care for myself. And here comes a thought spiral that only wastes your mental energy on useless ideas.

What's worse than that, though, is going further: depending on why you're incapacitated, your caretaker might not necessarily know what, exactly, is wrong with you. For instance, if, say, you have a condition that's not visible to the average person, you, and those around you, will think you're being dramatic. And therefore they won't want to help you. And that feeling, the feeling of believing the other person is judging you and that they think you're just clamoring for attention, is the worst feeling of all. Lying there, watching them go back and forth from your room to the kitchen to you to their office and back again while on the surface there is nothing wrong with you, is the most helpless feeling of all.

It's terrifying, because as your mind goes into that thought spiral, it ventures into the realm of possibility that because the person thinks you're an idiot and therefore they are currently just humoring you, at any point they can just decide to stop, leaving you to fend for yourself, which is something you physically cannot do; as soon as you stand up, you'll face-plant into the floor. Granted, I suppose that would be good evidence that you're not okay, but then you wouldn't have a face and that doesn't sound too pleasant.

And then there's either/both the independent person in you who doesn't want to rely on someone else for whatever reason, or the nice person who doesn't want someone else taking care of you, fulfilling your every need.

Okay, I'm done.