Even from a young age the idea of school and leaving in the morning filled me with dread, Every Sunday being a day filled with upset and panic, a day i dreaded. For my parents weekdays were the main struggle, the arguments and tears, the strops and words of hate that every morning would bring. The pure struggle of having to somehow force me into going to school.
See when i was little mental illness was never talked about, i wasn’t aware of mental illness until a much later age, that then being too late for me to be able to justify my actions or at least give everyone information on why i acted the way i did. The panic and the upset that i had around school was often put down to me being a spoilt brat or a cry baby when in reality i was a very vunerable little girl who just needed help. The idea of going to a place that would seperate me from my family and everything i was comfortable with frightened me. The idea that i would be stuck in a room with children that could pick on me or single me out as something i wasn’t was stuck in the front of my mind from the moment school was mentioned.
For as long i can remember my school mornings were filled with struggle as my dad worked so my mum was left with fighting to get me into school plus getting my older siblings ready, most mornings involved me forcing myself to be physically sick as i felt that was the only way out of going. This lead to me having many days off from school, being able to convince my mum that i myself was too ill to attend. I wasnt, i was just frightened.
The problem was that after a couple of hours in the classroom i would appear fine to everyone, i would appear like a spoilt brat who got over not being able to get their own way when in reality i would have just convinced myself that this was ok, that if i acted like someone completely different i would save myself from any criticism. People assumed i was putting on an act every morning, an act of pure brattiness so they never helped. They thought that maybe i needed behaviour councilling, maybe i needed someone to correct the way i acted with doing things i didnt want too. I wasnt a bad kid, far from it. I mean i had my moments like every kid does, one of my clearest memories being taking my nans digestive biscuits and hiding under her duvet to eat them, but thats the behaviour of a normal cheeky kid right? The idea that everyone saw me as a kid that just didnt like the word no made me feel worse, made me dread school even more due to the fact they would see me as a problem, as someone who would cause trouble.
This continued right through infants and junior school and the first few years of secondary school meaning my number of days at school were very low. My mum being ill herself at the time i used to my advantage, knowing she couldnt properly discipline me so being able to get away with alot more.
As secondary school went on i seem to have developed a tag from my previous years of behaviour. Being labelled the ‘cry baby’ isnt something youd be proud of in secondary school nor is it something that attracts many people to you. This along with other usual school rumours didnt make me a very popular person unlike my two eldest siblings, it made me feel like i was catergorized, that no matter how hard i tried i was seen as the girl who overreacted or the girl people didnt want to be seen with. One incident in school i will always remember is walking up the stairs in year 10 to business one day and a few pupils mucking around in the corridor, messing with some unknown foam liquid and as i walked past a girl announcing “don’t do it to her she’ll cry” It may only be a small comment but its always made me think.
If people are aware of someone crying a lot and being somewhat vulnerable why is nothing done? why are we all so quick to label someone on what we’ve seen not what we know? I myself know that we shy away from walking up to people and asking them if theyre ok due to the idea of their reaction but surely thats better then making fun of them? Maybe theres something troubling them, maybe its something you could help with, maybe its not. Sometimes people just need someone to ask them if they’re ok, someone that doesn’t make fun of them at every chance they get, someone who asks them what they’re going through and if they need help.
So think, Next time you see someone struggling ask them if they’re okay, ask them if they need help. It may not make a difference to your day but it might make a huge difference to theirs.
have a good day