Whenever we’d compare notes of who was more of a rebel in high school, I would always profess the half truth that I didn’t go to a whole lot of my classes in grade twelve. And I’d leave it at that. Of course, it would’ve been better if the reasoning behind it all was just an early onset of senioritis. The truth, though, was that I was trying in any way possible to slam the breaks on an inevitable ride to some sort of breakdown. All the times that I wasn’t in class, I was actually camping out in my guidance counselor’s office, and later, a social worker’s (because the school board doesn’t really officially provide therapy); yeah, I wasn’t skipping school – I was just avoiding it.
So in that case, you’re probably wondering how it all came to the point where I’d pretty much show up for attendance, stay a little while, and then leave (though I did begin to better re-integrate myself in the latter half of the year). Well, let’s rewind a while back. To be honest, I never thought that twelve year old kids could be depressed. Therefore, it wasn’t much until much later when I actually considered the idea that I was having episodes of depression from the age of twelve (I had dismissed it as pre-teen angst, and I recall thinking to myself, “damn, being a teen is going to be just as hard as it is on those television shows.”). Summing up the feelings that I felt every day of those aching two to three years is easy for me; my feet dragged, at best scuffled, along the pavement, my face could only render a frown, and my heart sunk as the Titanic did a century ago. Granted there were the days that were all right, but there always seemed to be this underlying tone of doom and gloom.
And somehow, these overwhelming thoughts dissipated, resulting in some stability in my life (including better attempts at moving past the eating disorder) when I was sixteen going onto seventeen (catch the Sound of Music reference?). But there was always something seemingly off about me that I cannot seem to describe but can attribute to there being the precipitants for my next episode percolating in these years. At seventeen, I started dating my first boyfriend, who knew all that was happening in life. Anyway, I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was to finally have that sensation of butterflies in my stomach, flapping their wings hard enough to create gusts that tickled my emotions. It was the first time in a long while when I had begun to feel something on the other side of the emotional spectrum; so it’s no surprise that things became difficult post-breakup.
It’s interesting to note that my reaction to the whole break-up only began to truly manifest itself several months after, at the beginning of this colossal meltdown. The reason for such being that while it wasn’t the cause, it had definitely added itself to the list of many unresolved issues that had accumulated over the years. Throw in another precipitant or two, and what resulted was a complete refusal to deal with these issues; instead, I channeled them into some bizarre motivation to run extracurricular activities and to apply to schools in the States so as to be able to continue running from these problems on hand (even after graduation). And because there was no release to this superficially productive life of mine, the recirculated air was beginning to pollute my system and causing it to implode on itself.
Feeling that I was losing control over some things (which is another entry on its own), and not wanting to exercise control by means of food intake again, I wound up developing an incredibly short temper. Seemingly as a way to react against what wasn’t working by means of careful planning, I acted out with irrational behavior by punching in lockers and cabinets, kicking in garbage cans, and being belligerent physically and verbally. In addition to all of that, I found it unbearable for me to sit still in class having to work with this bottled frustration, so I often sought refuge away from the classroom. As you can probably guess, there later arrived concern from the guidance counselor (whose office I occupied during my stakeouts) and some staff that I wasn’t all right; however, with that said, nothing could really be done without my agreeing to it.
The decision to begin talking to a social worker was probably one of the most difficult. After all, everyone that talked to the social worker seemed to be in more trouble than I; really, at the time, I felt that I only had an anger management problem, and that otherwise I was “fine.” But after making the decision to give it a go, it only became more difficult for me as the times when I would have to excuse myself from class when the PA system paged me always resulted in more questions than I would have liked, and that I was seemingly allowed to leave less often. That and the fact that the sessions were not frequent enough to let me properly work through things (only once every 2 to 3 weeks) resulted in little change. After high school concluded itself, I jumped straight into working a full-time job with a two hour commute each way, and after that, I packed my things to move to Paris for university. It seemed as though that I had buried everything that had happened and had narrowly averted a complete breakdown; in reality, though, problems and issues just continued to pile atop one another.
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