I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. At just 16 years old, I probably have more books stuffed in my tiny bedroom than a lot of people own in a lifetime. But at 16 years old, I’ve suffered more than most people my age. At 14, I was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety, and anorexia nervosa. I can remember sitting in a hospital bed with tears in my eyes and a stack of books on the bedside table. I would reach for them, yearning to feel the smooth pages under my fingertips. In the midst of these dark days, books provided light. These stories gave me the power of perspective. The perspective that told me things could get better, that there was worse pain in life, that there was hope even for me. Books taught me that my pain could spark a strength in my heart that would burn for a lifetime. Throughout my recovery, I continuously returned to books. The dozens of chapters, characters, and their stories comforted me and continued to foster this flame of strength. Looking back now, with a healthy body and mind, I am grateful for the way books have made me stronger and more intelligent. With tears in my eyes and pride in my heart, I can say that I really have been saved by the page.
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