My Story: Part 3

Well, what started off as a series I meant to finish in a few days, at most a few weeks, actually turned into getting finished in a few months….sorry about that. This one in particular just has some personal things in it, and I wanted to word it right before I actually published it. If you’ve forgotten or would just like to read the other parts over, here are the links to the introduction, Part 1, and Part 2.

When I left high school, my main goal was to find a college that was as far away from the people who knew me as possible (and still affordable). As most people starting college do, I wanted a fresh start, and I didn’t think I could do that if there were still people around me who knew the girl I used to be. That thought process landed me at a university three hours away from home (Now, I know that may not seem like a lot, but I was an only child who had never been away from her parents before. My parents even worked with the youth group at my church, so I didn’t even go to camp without them.) with no friends, family, or acquaintances close by.

Looking back, I really think that transition would have been good for me had I not already had the beginnings of what turned out to be depression and anxiety. Once I got down there, I tried my best to get involved and do things with my roommates, but every time I tried I would get so scared of being around people who might make fun of me again that I would end up having a panic attack and not be able to go. Eventually, I just stopped trying. Other than the church group I attended every Tuesday/Thursday night, I didn’t leave my dorm room except for classes. I stopped eating because I was afraid to go eat alone at the cafeteria, and I was afraid to ask anyone to go with me for fear of getting rejected.

Determined to stick it out for the full year, I got myself through the first semester and found that the second semester was going to be even worse. For one, the church group was only for the first semester, so I didn’t even have that outlet anymore. Luckily, there was a big/little mentor program with the same group, so I signed up for that, and got two incredibly sweet girls that I truly believe helped me get through that semester.

Another reason the second semester was so difficult was because during the first semester, I had gotten to be good friends with one of the guys in my freshman seminar. I went to lunch with him everyday after class, and we even went out a few times besides that. Second semester, though, for some reason (which I later found out was because he had gotten in with the wrong group of people and started doing drugs) he completely stopped talking to me, to the point of  ignoring me. It absolutely crushed me because until the end of the semester I had no idea what had happened.

Anyway, (first off, I should probably mention that I’m pretty pale and very insecure about it….moving on) one day it was warmer than usual, so I decided to wear shorts instead of pants to class. While walking to the class, I was so insecure about how pale my legs were and had convinced myself that everyone was staring at me and laughing at me in their heads, that I started having a panic attack and practically ran back to my room before I was even halfway to class. That was when I knew something had to be done. I called my mom and told her I wanted to see a counselor. Shortly after that, I met with her, got on medicine, and she advised me to transfer to a school closer to home the next semester.

The following semester, I transferred to a community college, started going to see my counselor every other week, and after two years, I’m definitely much better than I have been in a very long time. There are still days when I feel like I’m slipping back where I used to be, but now I have a support system that keeps me from going back.

I’ll definitely be writing more about this topic in the future (I was just waiting to get this done), but for now, if you’ve experienced anything like this in your own life, I definitely urge you to get help as soon as possible. Getting help was the best decision I ever made. It’s not something you can (or should) deal with on your own. It doesn’t make you weak or any less of a person. It will help you get your life back. Looking back, there were so many opportunities that I could have taken and friends that I could have made that I didn’t because of all the fear controlling my life. My biggest regret is that I let so much time go by before allowing myself the chance to get better. Don’t make that same mistake!

-Alice

My Story: Part 2

*Click here to find Part 1, and here to find an introduction to why I decided to do these posts to begin with 🙂 *

As with most people, high school was a much better experience than middle school. The freedom they tell you that you get in middle school, you actually get in high school. There’s a lot more paths you can take when it comes to classes, and of course, there’s all the clubs and sports you can join and explore. Just a side note, my advice to anyone in school or college is always going to be get involved. Sure you can meet people in classes, and there’s always the friends you grew up with, but expanding your horizons is always a good thing, especially when it comes to meeting new people. Plus, clubs and sports naturally help you feel included which helps a lot when you’re starting something new, but more on that later….

My entire life, I had been a gymnast. My parents put me in classes when I was around three, and as I progressed in the sport, my team became like my family. I loved the sport, I loved the people, and I’ll admit, I loved showing off in front of people (haha!). Around high school, though, my teammates became very different people (as you do when you grow up), and suddenly the place and sport that had once felt like home, became like strangers to me. I really couldn’t bear the difference, and I ended up quitting right before high school.

In some ways, I think it was a good thing. It freed me up to join clubs in high school. Of course, I was still playing in the band during school, but I tried out and ended up making Color guard (for those of you who don’t know, color guard is the group of people spinning flags in front of the marching band. Do they have marching band in other countries? We usually performed during American football games, so I’m not really sure….). In the end, it allowed me to meet people I probably would not have met otherwise and helped me to branch out and make some new friends. Although I still had some serious self-confidence and anxiety issues, it also gave me some of my confidence back because I felt a part of something again.

The end of high school rolled around much too quickly (although it certainly didn’t seem like it at the time), and I had to start thinking about college. I must admit, my main goal for choosing a college was getting as far away from the people I went to school with as possible. Everyone knew me as one of the shy girls who always got good grades and never seemed to do anything wrong. Also, I felt like while I was there I would never be able to escape that damaged person I was in middle school. She just seemed to follow me around and shape peoples opinions of who I was and was going to be.

So instead of embracing that middle school version of myself as a part of me and my past and molding her into the person I wanted her to become, I tried my best to run from her. The problem was, you can’t just run away from your past. In some way or another it has to be dealt with and put to rest before you can truly move on. Something I learned the hard way my Freshman year of college.

My Story: Part 1

As I said in my last post, I’ve decided to write a series of posts (probably like three or so) just telling you guys my story. The reasons behind why I’m doing this, what it’s going to be like, what you can expect, etc. can all be found in this little introduction post in case you want to take a look at it. Alright, here we go!

First off, I just wanted to clarify something. My real name isn’t Alice. It’s just a pseudonym I came up with after naming my blog. I have thought about putting my real identity on here, but if I do, it is definitely not going to be anytime soon.  That’s usually why I’m so vague when it comes to talking about people (“my cousin,” “my boyfriend,” etc.) instead of actually saying their names. If I mention someone a lot, I’ll just start giving out pseudonyms as well.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way….

I’ve come to realize that middle school (or at the very least the middle school I attended) has a way of sifting people. Going in, I remember being very excited. After all, that’s what all fifth graders look forward to, right? Being one of the big kids. A school where you get your own locker, you can actually walk down the hallway without being in a straight line, and join school sports and clubs. It’s exciting!

At orientation, I proudly walked into my new school with my group of best friends by my side, signed up for band (for some reason being in band is cool when you start sixth grade….not so much after), and found my name in the long list of sixth graders that would tell me what “team” I was going to be on. Team 1. Just to clarify, the teams were basically made up of the group of teachers you were going to have. If you had team one, you would have one set of teachers, and if you had team two, you would have the other.

I happily walked over to where my other friends were looking for their names and asked which team they got. Team 2. Team 2. Team 2. Team 2. As my friends all squealed in delight at the prospect of being together, it suddenly hit me that I was about to start middle school with absolutely no one.

The first day came, and I found my spot in homeroom. I think that’s when it really occurred to me how difficult this year was about to be. Three small elementary schools fed into the middle school, and as I looked around the classroom at people finding their old friends, I found that I didn’t recognize anyone from my old school. As the day went by, it was only more of the same. People sitting next to their old friends and meeting new ones while I sat in my little desk, too afraid and upset to say anything.

Now, let me also say, most of the girls looked a lot different than they had in elementary school. Apparently, their moms had taken the previous summer to teach them about things like makeup, hair, and clothes while my mom….well….had not. So while the other girls were covering up their insecurities with foundation, Aeropostale, mascara, and straighteners, I was still wearing the same elementary school clothes, unruly hair, makeup-less face, and glasses that had somehow been okay the previous year.

I’m sure you can probably guess where this is going….

That’s right! A few weeks later, I began to notice the newly formed group of popular girls (somehow they were in all of my classes with me….go figure) staring at me and laughing. Eight hours of this all day, every day with no friends around to comfort you, shockingly enough, does not do wonders for the ‘ole self-esteem. Unfortunately, it took months before the teachers began to notice it, but by that time it was too late.

Any and all the self-esteem and self-respect I once had for myself was long gone. I found myself taking the long way to classes everyday just to avoid everyone else, I kept my head down in the hallways, and I started doing terribly in band as I was afraid to make a mistake since that would cause unwanted attention to myself. Towards the end of the year, the teachers decided that it would be best to switch up my classes.

They told me not to tell anyone why I was switching classes since that would probably just make things worse, so I didn’t. Without those girls around me all the time, I actually started to enjoy middle school. I started making new friends, and the next two years I was relieved to find out I had classes with some of my old friends. Our old group of friends became stronger than ever, and I felt safe….but the fear and hurt was still there.

See, while switching classes and gaining back friends helped me enjoy school more, it didn’t take away the deep rooted pain that the year left behind. It just masked it, and I carried it with me as I left middle school behind and started high school….

My Story: An Introduction

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t really been posting anything recently. This is because of a couple of reasons. For one, my classes are kicking my butt, and I feel like I’m slowly drowning in a sea of homework and lab work for my three classes. I’m seriously considering dropping Organic Chemistry, but I bought the books and lab manual for a crazy amount of money, and since they will all be useless next semester since they’re switching text books, I’m trying to stick it out.

The second reason has to do with the fact that I just haven’t felt like myself much lately. I’m not really sure if it’s because of all the stress, hormones, being back on my own after spending a lot of time at home, or a combination of all of that, but it’s really thrown me off.

Anyway, the third reason is because, honestly, I wasn’t sure what to write about. There were lots of subjects that popped into my head that I could write about, but none of them really felt right or gave me the motivation to actually write about it, so I just didn’t write anything. I have definitely missed it, though, and a few days ago, I thought about writing a bit about my life and what I’ve gone through in the past. The idea got me really excited because I think it would shed light on why I started this blog in the first place, what I choose to write about, and the feelings and emotions that go into what I write. Very rarely have I written about something that wasn’t straight out of my past, heart, or own experiences.

The hesitation, however, was that it’s quite personal. A lot of the things I would be sharing only one or two people know about, and they’re definitely parts of my life that I don’t want everyone knowing about. What I began to realize, though, is that in order to accomplish what I want to in my blog, there has to be a certain amount of honesty and transparency in what I write. Many times, helping people comes with being able to say, “I see you. You’re not alone. I’ve been through the same things, experienced the same emotions, the same fears, and I promise that it can get better. Together we can get through this.”

So, that’s kind of my reasoning behind writing it. I’m sure that I probably didn’t need to write an introduction to it, but I kind of wanted to just give an update on what I’m going to be writing about since it’s probably going to be split up into more than one post. I’m also going to put it in my About Me section (probably links to it), so it can be sort of an introduction into me and the heart behind this blog. I’m also probably going to be writing more in depth about what I went through and what I learned from it in other posts, so I think that it would make a good reference point.

So, yeah! I guess we’ll see soon how it turns out, and I hope you enjoy reading it!

-Alice