I have finally gotten my comments fixed. Akismet was super fast at helping me get the problem resolved, so a super shoutout to them for that. I am now six feet under with all of your posts, but I’ll get through them. I always do!
May is halfway over, and there’s only so much time I can put off writing this post. I suppose I could’ve waited until the very last day of May, but what’s the point in that? By then, my mind will already be in June.
For those of you that don’t know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This “holiday” has been observed in the United States since 1949. I wouldn’t have known that had I not googled it, though.
To be fair, I didn’t even know that we had a Mental Health Awareness Month. But anyways, in honor of this month, I am sharing with you my story.
I read a lot of these posts and most of them have the same themes. I’ve yet to come across one where the issues just sort of, arrived. Out of nowhere. No traumatic event, nothing that would ultimately trigger this sort of chemical imbalance. That’s what happened to me, though.
I guess you could say seasonal anxiety is real. Personally, I would always get it around this time of year actually, right before school got out. I’m such a routinely person, and when my routine is shifted, it makes me temporarily uncomfortable. That’s not new, it always would go away within a couple weeks of summer, and I would go about my life.
As I’m sure you can guess, this time it did not go away. Like, at all.
I spent a very uncomfortable summer trying to enjoy myself and utterly failing, and making the rest of my family miserable in the process. In fact, I spent a day at Disneyland panicking on the rides. I’m not sure I would call it the happiest place on Earth anymore. I’m trying to change that. Hey Mom, take me back to Disneyland.
The thing is, I denied it. For so long. I kept telling myself that I would be fine when school started, because the routine would be restored, and everything would go back to the way it was before.
Cue the sitcom laughter.
The thing is, I was starting at a new school this year. A school about ten times as big as my previous school, with a tiny campus. As you could probably imagine, swimming through thousands of students to get to my different classes was not a recipe for being fine.
So I stopped going.
I had the typical anxiety symptoms, I suppose. It wasn’t a mental thing, like I just didn’t want to be at school. I mean, I physically couldn’t. I remember leaving my English class probably ten times in half an hour to go to the restroom, and then having my teacher give me a strongly worded conversation in front of the rest of the class, where I had to awkwardly explain what was going on.
I used to hang out in the nurse’s office, waiting for my parents to get off work and pick me up. The funny thing is it used to be filled with people in the same boat as me. All of us comfortable, all of us just wanting to go home.
I didn’t want to go on meds or anything because I wanted to be normal. Normal people don’t have to take medicine to be normal. I was also starting to become depressed too, but I wouldn’t admit that either.
But hey, denial’s not just a river in Egypt.
This went on for probably a good two months before I finally gave in and went on meds. But then I stayed home more from school to deal with the side effects. I would go to one or two classes and then come home.
It was just such an unfortunate timing, with school and everything. I was put on a million different school plans, given weird privileges so that I could leave after certain classes, and my teachers were a little lighter on me.
But it still didn’t work, so I left to study independently.
I still take some classes at my main school, and so I still see some people, and it’s not TOTAL isolation. I was so worried that people would wonder where I went, and they did. But I had some fun making up reasons for being gone.
Some people said I had mono, other people thought I dropped the class I shared with them. One kid thought I died. No joke. He was really scared to see me on campus.
I’m okay now. I’ve balanced out and I’m working on getting my life back on track. There is something I learned though, going through this.
They say that when you have a episode like this, you feel like nobody understands. I’d say it’s the opposite.
Yeah, nobody at my school advertises their mental difficulties, but when I returned to school, I was pretty honest with everyone about where I was. And then people started coming up to me, messaging me on Snapchat, telling me that they were going through something very similar. So many people, I was amazed. I had never really felt alone, more just out of the norm. But I realized that it wasn’t not normal. Because here’s all these normal, even popular people, with the same things.
The truth is, it’s not that kids don’t want to talk about it. They just don’t advertise it. I didn’t because I didn’t want to seem weak. I’m sure they all had different reasons.
This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s make an effort to normalize these types of anxiety issues, especially in high schools. I shouldn’t have been shocked that there were so many of my peers feeling the same things. But I was. And whose fault is that? Anxiety and other mental illnesses aren’t just for “weird” kids. They happen to everyone, regardless of social status.
You don’t have to run around advertising your struggles. But you should always be honest if someone asks. It may just make someone else feel a hundred times better.