There was a period of a few months while Andrea was in Spain when she felt tremendous emotional confliction, which caused confusion and depression. She wrote a letter to one of her dearest friends to attempt to put her experience into words. She never mailed the letter, thus we found it among her Journals after her death.
It is heartbreaking to read how trapped “within” she felt. Yes, this can often be the angst of the teen years, but Andrea was experiencing these intense emotions without anything familiar to support or sustain her: new family, new home, foreign language (with only rudimental comprehension at this point), new culture, new friends, et al.
Yet as a 15-year-old Andrea expressed well the distressing sensations with which anyone--at any age--who has ever felt the excruciating clutch of depression or desperation, can easily identify:
The fear—The sickness of being here the sickness of being there
Where? Inside—lose a part, keep a part, kill a part. It doesn’t grow back
The Anger—Break Out! Break Away!
What’s holding you?
The cage is not within the place
I am the cage—I am the builder
Help me! Search with me
Let me share your secret world
Mine has kept me prisoner,
Understand—But don’t box me into your parameters.
Take the whole of me—or nothing at all
The box is dark, nothing keeps me inside
Yet I cannot find my way out.
--Andrea Smeltzer (From the book, Andrea's Voice Silenced by Bulimia, (Gürze Books, 2006)