They say that high school is the best four years of your life. That was far from the truth for me. I remember sitting in the high school gym during Freshman orientation and a teacher gave her “inspirational” speech about how exciting and amazing our high school years would be. I also remember me thinking she was full of shit. Why would anything change from what has happened from elementary to middle school? It’s all the same people, all the same drama.
However, I decided to push past my pessimism and strive to enjoy high school. On the very first day of school, I was fed up with the whole high school experience by lunchtime. I remember sitting there underneath a tree for shade. It was a hot day, and I was disappointed that my pizza rolls didn’t stay warm in the foil all morning. I was sitting with my friends from eighth grade as we ate. We all asked one another how our first day was going, and I thought, “I am so fed up. I’m done. This is it? THIS is what I had to look forward to for the next FOUR YEARS? Get up, go to school, sit in class for hours, go home, do homework, eat dinner, go to sleep, rinse and repeat. This was all I had. Wow…” The depression and overwhelming feeling of hopelessness suffocated me whole at that very moment. It only took a second for my entire world, which was struggling to stay in the light, to quickly evaporate into the dark abyss. I had lost my appetite and threw away my lunch.
The thing was that I didn’t care. I didn’t care about the cliques, the social norms, the high school dances, the sports events, the academics, or really anything. I wanted more out of life than that. All that was completely meaningless to me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of life at that moment, but I knew it wasn’t the “high school experience.”
The bullying wasn’t part of my life any longer, but my depression still clung to me. Without realizing it, my depression began to affect me physically. I was tired more than not, and I would often sleep my day away. I’d get up the last minute before having to leave to school, and right when I got home I’d go to sleep. I’d wake up only for dinner, but most times I didn’t even bother eating because my appetite was now squashed. I’d just force myself take a shower and then fall right back to sleep. You see, sleeping was my getaway. It was death without the commitment. I could escape and go wherever I wanted.
I didn’t even bother getting ready anymore for school. I stopped wearing makeup and I stopped doing my hair. I stopped caring how I was dressed and would often wear the same exact clothes the next day without even realizing I had forgotten to change.
All that never phased me because it doesn’t happen suddenly. It was a slow process to get to this level of depression. One day my body started aching all over for no reason at all, and I figured, “Well that’s just another thing I have to deal with. Oh well.” I had no idea my aching was caused by my depression. I just assumed this was my life now–hurting everywhere.
Whenever my parents would ask me how my day was, I actually had to think real hard to remember about the day. What classes did I have that day? What did I learn? Did I have homework? Who did I even speak to that day? What finally snapped me out of this endless trance and finally reach out for help was when I realized I had memory loss.
I remember this moment clear as day. I was now halfway through my sophomore year, and the lunch bell had rung. I was walking to class with the other masses of students when I paused. I was confused and lost. It felt like I had just woken up from a deep slumber. Where was I? I looked at all the people around me, and these strangers who said they were my friends gathered around me asking me what was wrong. Who were these people? I couldn’t recall them at all. The last thing I remembered was sitting underneath the tree on my first day of high school.
I asked them, “Where am I?”
“At school. Lunch just ended.”
I was befuddled. “Lunch? I can’t remember this morning. What class do I have next?”
“Geography with us.”
Nothing was clicking in my head. I didn’t remember ever taking a Geography class. “What day is it?”
“It’s Wednesday, Heather.”
I nearly fell down in shock because I could have sworn it was still Monday on that first day of school. It was such an out of body experience for me. Then all the memories from the past 2 years came flooding into mind. I was just this mindless zombie that went to class and then home. It was as though I was on autopilot. I couldn’t remember any of the conversations I had or the things I did. The books I read, the friends I had made, the relationships I had… They were all mute to me.
That’s when I knew this depression had gotten out of hand. I immediately left to the nurse’s office and got sent home. The first thing I did was sleep because being awake was far too confusing for me. It was overwhelming trying to piece the past couple of years together, and it caused me to shut down.
Upon waking up, I went straight to my mother and told her the truth. I told her how I’d been struggling the past few years and how now I could no longer take it. We both thought that transferring schools would be the best answer, but it wasn’t. It just made things worse for me. Not only was I depressed, but now I was depressed at a new school with zero friends.
I remember eating in the bathroom stall on my first day at the new school. I threw my food onto the floor and began crying. For the first time in years, I cried. It helped release something within me. It was like a blockage had formed in my chest, and the tears helped to loosen it up so I could begin to heal. A girl had come into the bathroom and knocked on my stall. “Are you okay,” she asked.
I wiped my tears and tried my best to make my voice sound happy and confident. “Yes. Thank you.”
I had gotten sick around this time. It was the sickest I had ever been since I was very young, and I didn’t have the will to fight it. A week had gone by and I was still miserable. I decided to stop taking my medicine knowing full well I’d most likely die, but I wanted to. I was so sick and tired of feeling depressed all the time. If I died, then so be it. I had a vivid dream that night about a man that came to heal me. I had written about this dream before, which you can read here. The following morning, I woke up fully healed as though I had never been sick in the first place.
I finished up my sophomore still in darkness, but I was able to recall time better. Junior year would be the year that I would be saved from myself, and it would be a boy that’d be there to pull me out of the thick of it.
To be continued…