I have decided I am going to start posting some of my writings, poems, thoughts, or whatever you want to see them as, on here.
Some of the writings I will be posting I actually wrote while taking a Creative Writing class in high school. That class was incredibly therapeutic for me. It was also an amazing experience as far as the friends I made and what I was able to learn, as well as what I was able to share with my peers.
From time to time we were all required to share our writings. This is the kind of thing I would never volunteer for because of my anxiety and whatnot. But I remember on one occasion where we had to share something, as I was reading, I looked up to see a room full of kids with big, interested eyes staring right back at me. My hands were shaking and I could hardly hold my paper.
It was very intimidating and as I finished, I sat down, feeling like a complete idiot. I kept my head down, and tried not to cry. My sweet teacher actually used the time after I shared what I had written as an opportunity for the students to learn more about depression. I was really moved that my teacher let us spend her teaching time to teach the students more about depression and even let the students ask me questions and whatnot.
I’ve actually had other teachers in both my high school and college days that have done similar things. I have had different psychology teachers who I have really connected with over the years and they would sometimes ask if I was comfortable sharing some things about depression and the way it has affected me.
I had a psychology teacher in High School whom I love and adore. She is an amazing woman, teacher and mentor. I can’t remember exactly what the assignment was for class, but I was assigned to talk about depression. I thought that perhaps the best way to teach my peers about depression was to show. I brought in one of my writings and we put it on the screen projector thing (haha…the thing where it makes it big so the whole stinkin’ world can see) 😉
This particular writing had not only words explaining how I felt, but it had pictures I had drawn as well. There was a tree with a noose hanging from it, a knife with blood dripping from it, and a puddle of tears. I teared up as I read my writing while this picture was being shown to the entire class.
When I was done, I sat down, once again, feeling like a fool as I felt the eyes of every student on me. I was shy, but sat on the front row because I didn’t like the distractions of all the crazy High School loons in that class that were always misbehaving. Haha. And because I love Psychology and loved that class. I feel like half the students didn’t even know I existed till that day.
The room was silent. My teacher walked to the front of the classroom and began talking about depression. She opened up the rest of the class time to questions, and I was blown away at how eager everyone was to learn more. Hands were raised throughout the classroom — everyone wanting to ask a question — wanting to understand. Even those “crazy High School loons” I spoke of, were literally on the edge of their seats and interested.
As the bell rang and class was over, I gathered my stuff and was one of the last to leave. My teacher asked if I would stay a moment. She went on to thank me for being willing to share my story. She then said that the moment I started talking and sharing my “story,” in a sense, she closed her textbook. She said she never does that, but that this was the kind of thing that the students would learn more from a peer than from words on a page.
I will always remember that, and remember her. After that, I would sometimes stay after school and we would talk.
As hard and beyond terrifying as those situations have been for me, I could always tell the students were very intrigued and wanted to know more. I really appreciate teachers who have opened up time for other students to learn more about this mental illness. It’s something our society has never looked highly upon. But my hope is that we will get there. The more we make ourselves vulnerable and share our stories, the more (I hope) people will understand mental illness. It is as real as cancer, diabetes, not having a limb, etc, etc.
I’m pretty sure I wrote the majority of these when I was in high school, so from the ages of 15 to 18 years old (I am 24 years old now, just for reference, haha). I was cleaning my room about a month ago when I found all of them. I had forgotten just how many I had written — I have them in a box, with notebooks and manila folders full.
I sat on my bedroom floor for an hour or so, reading some of them, and it made me cry multiple times. It was really hard to read them. I almost felt like I was reading someone else’s writings. It felt separate from myself. But those words, those thoughts, those feelings — those were mine. Those are mine.
I felt sad for myself. Sad, because I was reminded how much I struggled, and how much I continue to struggle. As hard as it was for me to read those, I think it was also very good for me.
When my mom first saw some of my writings years ago, I remember she cried. She finally had a glimpse into the world I lived in, and the way I feel every day.
I imagine if I did not have depression, anxiety, BDD, and OCD, I would probably not be able to understand it. It’s hard for people to understand or sympathize with someone when they can’t physically see the “problem,” the heartache, the struggle.
My hope is that the things I share can help those of you who may not understand mental illness. Perhaps it will give you a glimpse into the world it is. It is also my hope that I can help others who have mental illness and those who may share these thoughts and feelings. I know that I often feel alone in how I feel, and feel like it is impossible that anyone else could possibly feel as I do.
But we are not alone.
Don’t you dare give up.