Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Darkness Lurks

Hey Everyone! It's been a long while since I wrote anything, but that's because I haven't really thought of what to write.

I thought I was better; my life is the present, not the past. The past is just something I lived through, a series of events making me ME. I was fooling myself, but to what extent I was never sure. My personality was altered, sure. My views on life were a little different, but whose wouldn't be?

I'm not sure why this term, in my final year of university, that I really started to show symptoms of my past again, but it was here and now, nine years after my external torment ended.

Things that may have caused it: (1) being given an executive position in a club and then being excluded from meetings and decisions, never being asked to help with anything, etc. (2) getting a part-time job at a cafe and then being fired for being too slow, but nothing else. (3) being part of a group of four very intelligent, yet stubborn, people for lab work. (4) getting yelled at for not pulling my weight as a volunteer even though the other person always refused my help when I asked. (5) not getting the high marks even though I wasn't doing much this term.

I've always had a belief that people shouldn't see me crying, that it shows my weakness. It wasn't a good thing to show weakness as a child because that's what the bullies liked to see. I used to keep my tears in until I could find a corner to cry in. I still try to, more out of habit and not wanting to ruin the atmosphere of the room than anything else.

My boyfriend doesn't like it when I cry, he doesn't like it when I'm sad and he's honestly the best person I could have ever hoped to spend my life with. He tries to find me when I disappear, and when he can tell I'm sad, he lets me cry it out and helps me forget about the pain so I can keep going.

I got a really bad mark on a midterm, worse than most of the rest of the class, and I started to call myself stupid, useless, worthless. I yelled at my boyfriend for no real reason and then ran off, hoping to make it back home so I could cry my eyes out. I had approximately a twenty-minute walk, at the end of which I concluded that it would have been better for everyone if I was never born, that I made everyone's lives miserable and it would be a favour to everyone that I just vanish. My boyfriend made it back to my house before I did and was waiting for me. He gave me a giant hug and then cried with me, partially because he thought he was part of the reason I was feeling like that.

This was only one of the many times this summer that ended with me in tears. Any time I was around the clubs I was on the exec team for, I'd end up crying because of how excluded I felt, how useless I knew myself to be. Whenever I was in the room and people weren't actively interacting with me, I felt ignored. If people said anything less than perfectly positive, it was negative.

It got to the point where I couldn't get out of bed anymore. If I did manage my way, the world was just grey, like a miasma was floating around me similar to Olaf's snow cloud. I wouldn't look in the mirror while getting ready so that I wouldn't see myself; I knew it wouldn't be good. I didn't see happy, and I was envious of those who were. I couldn't laugh and everything I did or looked at made me either feel empty or like I needed to cry.

I'm not one to be suicidal. My peace with that was made when I was thirteen years old; when I considered it and all of the pandemonium that would follow. But I knew enough about mental health to know that I needed help before this could get worse before it took over my life.

It's not as easy to stop yourself as it is to stop other people from saying the bad thoughts we all get from time to time.

I guess the thing I'm trying to say is this: the last demon you'll have to fight, the last darkness you'll have to brave, is yourself. It's the shadows that are in your head, whispering dark things.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

I Can Trust in _________

When we are young, we are taught to turn to parents, teachers, and any other figures of authority. But what if they're the ones we must fight, or if they're part of the problem? We can't turn to them, because our lives will only get worse. Or if it won't get worse, it definitely won't get any better.

Something similar to that happened to me. My main teachers of fifth, seventh and eighth grades were  bullies, in every sense of the word. They singled me out with their power, had me feel stupid at every chance they got, and any time there was blatant bullying going on from the students, they would fluff it off and say that it was normal kid stuff.

Two of them singled me out for a reason I couldn't control: my heritage. I can not change the blood flowing in my veins any more than anyone else can. They constantly said that Germans were bad people when we were learning about the Second World War, and I was the only German in the school. They said it enough times that I began to believe that I was a wretched individual for ever being born, despite the fact that I'm a pacifist, that I don't like to hurt anyone, and it takes a fair bit to provoke me.

My fifth grade teacher thought of me as insubordinate and needed to ensure that she was the teacher, that she was the boss over me. She did this by pulling me out of the room and telling me as such for silly little things - not bringing my project out to be tested when it was broken in the duration of its stay in the classroom, forgetting a homework sheet and asking for another copy so I could get the answers, and refusing to hand in an essay explaining why it was a good thing laws were broken in wartime Germany.

These things were ridiculous and she needed to assert her power so that she felt important, not because it was necessary.

Because of her, I am still scarred, and I doubt it will ever go away. My mom pulled me out of school for a year and a half because of that woman. By the time she got me out, I refused to sleep some nights because of the nightmares I would constantly get when I closed my eyes. I refused to make any more friends, because she'd target them too, for being kind to me. And I refused to try to learn because I thought there was no hope in this world that I could be a scientist or a writer or anything else.

For a full month after I began homeschooling, I refused to leave my room until 4pm due to worry that I would be sent back to school. My mom wouldn't do that to me, but that's just how fear works.

I returned in seventh grade.

In the time I was home, my mom spent more time trying to fix the mess in my head than she did teaching me what disciplines I was to know about or how people would treat me in the future. The only reason I went back was because my dad didn't like having me around the house so much, he said I needed to grow up and deal with my own problems.

The teacher in seventh grade wasn't a horrible lady, she just inadvertently did things to make my situation worse when she was trying to help. Because there was no record of my work, she stuck me in a remedial English help program, making me feel like I belonged there, with the people that couldn't pick up a novel and understand it. When she noticed I was having trouble making friends with the barbarians of my classroom, she let me eat lunch in the other class, which no other students were allowed to do, singling me out. And she was oblivious to the bullying, and I didn't feel trust enough to tell her. I really didn't trust anyone enough to say a word.

Eight grade was almost as bad as fifth, but this time I didn't even have people my own age I could talk to. And I kept as much of it as possible from my mom so that she and my dad wouldn't fight. The teacher reminded me so much of the woman in fifth grade. One day, she was showing a video based on Anne Frank. Towards the end of the period, about fifteen minutes from lunch break, I tried excusing myself to the washroom, not because I needed to use the facilities. I needed to calm down and didn't want people to see me cry. She didn't understand the urgency and refused to let me out, saying that I could wait like the other students.

Fifteen minutes later, I bolted to the washroom and curled into a corner, crying. One of my classmates found me, and she said that I was rocking back and forth. That I was whispering "It's happening again." No one could get me out of there for two hours, when I sobered up so that my mom wouldn't notice by the time I got home.

That was the start. Other things, like when I broke my ankle again and couldn't carry my own stuff around and her having the gall to say that I didn't understand disability, having me read a book for English study that I couldn't get past the first page because of the gruesomeness, forcing me to write apology homework when I was out sick the day my class misbehaved for a supply teacher. And siding with the students that were bullying me.

Any time I told my mom, my parents fought. My father was always one to believe in the Principle of Parsimony: The simplest explanation, the one with the fewest assumptions, must be the right explanation. Which meant that to him, the problem wasn't with the teachers or the other students, it was with me - I must have been doing something.

My mom wanted to give me the benefit of the doubt. And if she hadn't, if she didn't start picking me up for lunch every day, driving me to and from school, letting me take days off of school for mental health and getting to stay in bed with popcorn and movies, helping me finish my overdue homework because I spent the entire night in the hospital for another ankle break, telling me it was going to be alright someday... I would have done something irreversible.

So... I really don't believe in trusting people for the sake that someone above says I can. People need to earn their trust - be they bigger or smaller. What do you do when you can't trust anyone around you? That's what Bus People are for. That's what perseverance is for. Never give up, never let them show that you've been hurt, never let them win by having the last laugh. It really is the best way out, getting through as quickly as possible.

 I hope by reading these posts that you're finding consolation. There are more people in this world that understand what you're going through than you think there might be.