Monday, October 19, 2015

[Memphis Reads 2015] Fresh Reads Top Ten Winner Mary Anna Tucker

The Choice?
Mary Anna Tucker

"-You didn't tell us the answer: What is the what?
-We don't know. No one knows."

Have you ever heard the quote, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them," by William Shakespeare? I believe it also works with this story: All are born into the unknown, some choose to go into the unknown, and others are thrown into the unknown. All people are born into the unknown, and sometimes they grow up with their situation being all they’ve known. Achak and I have this in common. We were both born and grew up in our home town, never moving and only adjusting to life somewhere new when we had to. Achak was one of the people thrust into the unknown, while I chose it.

From the story Achak's father tells him and the Baggara tribe we learn that Achak's people believe that God gave man a choice: either take the cow and harvest its resources, or choose the What. In this tale man chooses the cow. I find that this story greatly contrasts with Achak's account of his journey from his home. Achak had no choice. He was forced into the unknown by unseen circumstances. Whether it be the unknown beasts of the wild, the vast desert landscape, or the understood warring around him, Achak had no idea what to expect out in the dangerous world. He didn't have a choice and was thrown into the middle of the What.

I was faced with my unknown a few years ago when I realized there was something wrong with me. I had always been a moody child. Sometimes feeling like the world was my oyster, other days I would cry if I dropped a pencil on the floor. I was very quick to anger. Everyone believed I would eventually grow out of it, but that day never came; if anything, I got worse as I got older. The highs would get more extreme, causing me to make scenes and scream and yell at people. My lows became deeper, sometimes to the point where I couldn't get out of bed. I knew then there was something seriously unbalanced in my brain. I did some research and realized I might have manic depressive disorder. I know what you're thinking--that's an easy choice: get help. But it wasn't that simple. I had read about how sometimes the medicine given to a manic depressive would cause them to act like zombies: no high or lows, only the middle. All I've ever known was the rollercoaster that my emotions lived on. What if I asked for help and I felt worse than before? But what if I continually got worse and eventually there was no way out? I was terrified. How could I make this choice?

I eventually did make the decision to get help after I screamed at my best friend because I was in a manic-filled anger. I remember how low I dropped after that and I never wanted to go back. I learned through my doctor that there were others ways to treat my form of manic depressive disorder through a lower dose of medicine and counseling that taught me how to control myself. I'm not a professional at it yet, but I'm learning. It was frightening not knowing if I was going to be okay, but if I had known I could be relatively happy most of the time I would've chose to get help much sooner than I did. That's the funny thing about the unknown, or the What. If you could go back, knowing what you know now, what would you choose?  

--Mary Anna Tucker

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