*this gets very deep and honest*
It's Been Five Years...
So last Tuesday my year group had our leavers assembly, and suddenly the prospect of growing up has become so much bigger and more real than it ever has been. It's so weird to think that I will probably never see about 60% of the people I have spent the past five, some thirteen, years with, again.
This blog post is more of a thank you post to my school. I love it. Yes, there have been times when I would have gladly set fire to the place and watched it burn down with sheer joy, but those times certainly do not outway the times when I've never wanted to leave and not been able to wait for the morning so I can come back in. This whole concept of 'liking school' may come as a bit weird to many of you, as we're all supposed to hate school and the staff and being educated, but I can explain. I'm not sure if any of you will understand why by the end of this, but if you've had similar experiences, I'm sure you can relate.
So lets start at the beginning. I was in year 7. First year, first term. In the space of that first twelve weeks, that three months, seven people, all of whom I was close to, sadly passed away. One person in particulars good out, my grandpa. Yes, he had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for many years, but nothing prepared me for losing him. Nothing does. He was my best friend and I think about him every day. I was also only eleven when he went, so I was obviously very young and unprepared.
My school was amazing. They saw how distressed and confused myself and my older brother were, and let us both have the rest of term off. (This was only a week or so, but we now had time to grieve as a family).
Following the Christmas holidays, I obviously had to go back to school. I can remember just sitting and watching the world go by and it overwhelmed me. In the time I had been off school, my two best friends had become tight and I can remember just not feeling like I fitted in anymore. I was still coming to terms with everything.
My teacher, my Head of Year, noticed. She asked me to go and see her one morning during tutor period, and as a small, quiet, slightly intimidated child, I didn't really do much but sit there, playing with the popper on my coat and looking down at the floor. I think she realised I was struggling and she regularly checked up on me for the following weeks and soon I told her my worries. Now, looking back, I think they were partly caused by my grief, but my she always checked up on me and made sure I was doing ok. This really helped me heal, so thank you.
Year 8 came and I soon started to feel uncomfortable and unhappy. I couldn't do simple things, like socialise, without wanting to shut everybody up and just curl up into my own little ball of okay-ness. This meant I was soon cutting my friends off and spending lunch times in detentions or just by myself. That's the thing, you can be in room filled with people, and still be by yourself. Anyway, I started cutting out food, I had no appetite and my sleeping pattern? Well that was pretty non-existent. I didn't even notice these changes myself. I had no energy, no appetite, no social life. Nothing. And my family just got frustrated at me. They got mad because I wasn't eating and then I was always tired and had no desire to talk to anyone. I felt so trapped, and had no headspace. I even remember telling someone I wanted to cut off the top of my head and let everything just explode out.
Due to the small relationship that I had built with my head of year, I felt I could talk to her about this. I emailed her one evening, explaining that I needed to talk to her about something, I wasn't sure what, but something was going on. Turns out, I told her everything, although I was still not sure myself. Following that, we used to meet up every couple of weeks and she would help me put things into perspective and look at things in a more positive way. This is where my love for school began, as she didn't judge me, but made me feel comfortable, not like a lost cause like my home life did. She knows this, but I believe that if it wasn't for her, and my Pastoral Support Ladie (I'll call her Jane) who I met a little later on, I wouldn't be alive today. They saved my life. I can never thank them enough for that.
This routine continued for year eight and some of year nine, but then things changed. Job titles changed and she was no longer able to talk to me as regularly as before, and soon I was closing myself off once again. I did sometimes see her, but it was only maybe once a term. Not the same, and not what I needed. I can remember Easter of 2014, I was talking to a member of staff about my learning difficulties, and I just cried, which is something I generally avoid at all costs, and, in the unlikely event of me displaying such emotion, would be in front of someone I knew and trusted. I think it was the aspect of telling someone something so personal just made me feel exposed. Because of this little 'emotional leakage' she referred me to the Pastoral Support Team at my school, but it wasn't until the following March that I was actually in touch with anybody.
So now it's year 10 and it's been a while since I've spoken to anybody properly, other than myself in the mirror. About nine months. In this long time, I had to learn to get by and soon grew a strong mask, something that only a couple of people can see through; one being my Head of Year, and the other, my Pastoral Support Officer, "Jane". Jane got me. She understood what I was trying to say and I soon realised that I may not be the healthiest in my mental health, but that was okay, and we could talk about stuff, no matter how pointless. She laughed at my jokes and sarcastic comments, no matter how lame and rubbish they were, and we laughed and I smiled properly for the first time in years. And in all of this, she didn't judge. My Head of Year was also my PE teacher so we would see each other pretty much every week, sometimes stopping for a quick chat and I'd let her know how things were going. So thank you to my school, for having the Support Team available. They have helped me so much.
Year 11 soon dawned and I had just spent seven weeks at home for the summer holidays. It's safe to say I hated every single second of it and was emotionally raw. I remember it was the second day back at school. A Thursday. I was so exhausted I didn't even know what to do with myself. There is more to this story, but that's to stay between me and those who know. I'm not sure how I got there, but I ended up in the Sudent Support House with Jane and her boss. I don't remember much, other than my
legs feeling so weak I couldn't stand. Jane asked me how I was and I just cried. I let off so much steam to the two of them, and that was when I think they really saw what I am really like behind the strong, fake mask I had been wearing for over a year. Because of her and her boss, my parents started to take me more seriously, and I was soon at the doctors, where I was diagnosed with my mental health problems and referred to CAHMS. Because of those two women taking me seriously, two members of staff from my school, I was finally properly diagnosed and I began to move forward. Having a title for what was going on has given me the ability to accept it and be more open about it, which I believe has helped me to understand myself.
The whole of year 11 has been a roller coaster ride of good and bad, and both Jane and my Head of Year have been there for me through it all. I know I can go to either of them about anything, and they will help me in any way they can. They both believe in me, listen to me and care for me, something which I can't say many people do. Words will never explain how grateful I am to both of them.
The other day, Jane told me she was leaving. Jeez, I physically hurt typing that. Me being me, I had my mask on like a shot and I stood there, smiling, happy that she had found something that would make her happy. That's what matters most. But inside, I was about to collapse. I don't even know if it has fully set in yet. I'm living with the fear that at any moment I'm just going to break down and cry. I go to my room every now and then and just have a little cry to myself. She's one of the only people that has ever got me, not judging me, and it's so rare for that to happen that I don't want it to go. I'm going to miss her more than she or anyone will ever know, but at the same time, I am so pleased that she is going to be doing something which is beneficial to her, and that's what I need to keep reminding myself. She's an amazing woman that doesn't get the recognition she deserves, and doesn't realise how much she helps me.
This has turned into more of a thank you to those two people, rather than to my school, but my school provided these people and this support network. There have been other teachers who have noticed
me having a bad day, and have offered me their time, but because of the school providing these two staff members, I have become me. These ladies have shaped me to be the person I am today, and have helped me become more mature. I aspire to be like them when I am grown up, and if I achieve that, then I will be happy. My Head of Year said something to me a couple of weeks ago, and it will always stick with me. She said I have grown up whilst being at this school, and I've stayed as me. I haven't changed myself to fit in with anybody. I've become me.
I would also like to say a thank you to my four best friends, who will probably never read this. As soon as I was diagnosed, I felt it was important to be honest with them, and I told them straight away. They were accepting and didn't make me feel uncomfortable in any way, and they have helped me through some dark times without even realising it. Thank you.
So. I guess this is it. This is the end. The closure of a long chapter, consisting of some deep deep lows and emotional trials, but also some of the most amazing and uplifting times in my life. Thank you to everyone, and good luck to you all.
And finally, particularly to those two women, the two who have shaped me and who I aspire to be like, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, through every bone in my body, thank you.