When I was about 9 years old; my mother and I moved to Canada. It was one of the best decisions made for our family. My mom had always thought Canada was a beautiful country with so many open opportunities for us to experience.
During the first two months of our stay, my mother tried to find a job. My mother had always been a very hard worker and I thank her for that. Since we had first moved to Canada in July, she found an Elementary School for me to attend. At the time we weren’t living far away but also not close to my school. I started to attend it in September and I was put into Grade 4.
Grade 4 seemed a little hard for me. I had one teacher who I really felt disliked me. I wasn’t very good at math and she would talk down to me. I never said anything because I felt like that was normal because she was a teacher. In Grade 4, I didn’t have many friends. I always thought I was a bit different than everyone. Not a lot of people wanted to talk to me, nor did I really hang out with anybody during recess. I did talk or I sometimes would hang out with these 4 girls that were my friends up until Grade 8 when we graduated and we lost touch.
Elementary school wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great. I always felt more in touch with those older than me, than those my age. I couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone. I guess you could say I was in my “awkward preteen phase.” I remember that some people weren’t so nice to me or would bash me for being myself. On occasions, I had people bully me for being “too skinny.” The occasional backhanded compliment where people would take my wrists and wrap their fingers around it saying things like, “Oh wow! You’re so thin!”, “You need to eat”, or “I could break you! You’re basically a twig.” I remember not liking it a lot and going home to cry because I felt terrible about myself. I never understood what mental health was until High School crept unto me slowly.
Applying for High School came around and everyone in my graduating class were going to the same schools. Everyone but me and another girl applied for an All Girl school. You can already tell that was a bad idea.
Anyways, first week at this prestigious all girl school came around and I was excited to get away from those people in Elementary and make new friends. Boy, was I wrong. Everyone at my school was so beautiful and popular and here I was; this skinny, awkward teen with a hideous bowl cut. I was never a big fan of myself. I would frequently be teased for being thin, having a flat chest, random things, etc. I did make some “friends” though. I was never the kind of person who liked having girl friends. A lot of my guy friends from Elementary attended the all boy school down the road, which was great.
I can’t remember a lot about High School but I do remember meeting this boy on the bus who asked, “I’ve never seen you on this bus before. Are you new at [insert school name here]?” He was the most kind-hearted person I knew, he always asked me how I was, how I was liking school, and if I needed someone to talk to; that’d he’d be there. He was the kind of person that would bring smiles to everyone’s faces and make jokes when things were hard. He also worked at the supermarket near where I lived, so whenever I’d go to the train station; I’d see him sometimes and he’d accompany me to the station so that I’d be safe. I’ll always remember him.
Fast forward Grade 10 since Grade 9 was pretty much uneventful. In Grade 10, I sort of became friends with this girl who was a little intimidating. Everyone seemed to like her so, I did too. I kind of thought she had a really badass attitude which came off as disrespectful half the time but I didn’t care. I wanted her to be my friend for some odd reason. I became friends with what you would call, “bad seeds.” I started to associate myself with the raving scene from where I was from. While, I never really went to events, I knew a lot of people from there. Majority of them only really wanted to go to these events so they could do drugs. Drugs always seem like a good idea until you get stuck with the bad end of the stick.
In Grade 10, I began to smoke weed at any chance I was given. I hung out with this group of girls who would go out at lunch time to go smoke by the ravine near the school. I would tag along. I started to be a little rebellious. I also wanted to get my nose pierced. So, I got a girl to do it for me in the washroom at school. Pretty stupid idea, to be honest. 10/10 don’t recommend.
Now, before we get into my rebellious phase, I want to speak about how weed can have many different effects on people. In my case, it’s what triggered my depression and my anxiety. (Let’s leave my anxiety for another story.)
Depression came over me like a black massive hole that covered me in shame, and disgust about myself which caused me to start self harming. I felt like no one really liked me or wanted to be around me. I felt like a waste of space and I felt utterly disgusted with myself. I hated myself and what I became. I would look in the mirror and feel putrified at what I saw looking back at me. I felt like self harm was my only way out to feel something. To feel anything. I started to suffer from mild hallucinations but I just thought that was the side effect of smoking so, I never thought anything of it.
The summer before Grade 11 came and I began to lost friends. You can imagine that being at an all girl school causes some drama and brings the ugly out in everyone. People spoke bad about me, and I spoke bad about them. I didn’t care. I didn’t like anyone. I felt like everyone was too much of a two faced person; therefore, you couldn’t trust them. One moment, these girls would speak to me and be nice, the next moment they’re against you and pretend that you don’t exist. It made me feel shitty. Somehow, someone told that one girl who was intimidating that I experimented with drugs outside of weed when I would go to raves which was a complete lie. She then made a post on Facebook saying that I was a liar, that I was asking for attention and that if she would ever see me, that she would “beat the living shit out of me.” All these girls from my school, liked her status and started laughing along with her. You don’t even have to know how that made me feel. It was a threat and I had to get out of there. So I transferred to a new school.
I basically ran away from the problem instead of fixing it. I started getting anxious at the most random times. I started feeling worse about myself and began contemplating that if I were to disappear, no one would care. I never spoke to my parents about my problems since I didn’t want them to worry about me.
Grade 11 was supposed to be the start of something new, the start of a new experience, and new people to surround myself with. After all the events that happened to me at the all girl school still made me feel terrible so, I kept to myself until I met a group of people who made me feel great and they called me their friend. So, that was pretty cool.
I wanted to make the next two years something rememberable. I tried out for the cheerleading team where I made some awesome friends. There was a little bit of drama but it was worth it because I made connection with some amazing people. I also somehow managed to get the guys in my friend group to join! One day after practice, my friends and I were hanging outside by this tree near the bus stop and I noticed this boy who kept peering over at me. His eyes were the most wonderful colour of chocolate brown. He had these freckles all over his face and nose and this great smile that wowed me completely. Let’s call him Freckles for the sake of it.
Freckles and I started to hang out a lot more, I got feelings for him and he got feelings for me. We started to date. I thought he was the most amazing person ever to come into my life. He treated me right, he made great jokes, we had lots of things in common, etc. He was really into mechanics and went to a College for this program that allowed the school’s mechanic division to enter into this yearly competition. I would only see him twice a week due to his commitment.
You know how I mentioned that I thought he was the most amazing person? I was wrong.
He became emotionally abusive. His friends would make jokes and when I would laugh, he’d respond, “Was anyone talking to you? No. So why are you laughing?” I loved him completely but I would allow him to walk all over me like a doormat. When I made him aware of my depression, he would laugh & tell me, “Get over it” or when I told him that sometimes I would self harm, he would say, “That’s revolting. Why would you ever do that to yourself?” He was never supportive but I would always do everything for him. When he was sick? Yeah, I would skip school to go take care of him. He needed advice? I’d bust my ass to help. He never deserved me but I still let him emotionally abuse me.
The one thing I will never forget is that he cheated on me. He cheated on me and lied to my face. He told me that a girl kissed him in his program and because he didn’t want to be “rude”, he kissed her back. I forgave him. But I respected myself to let him go. Oh and the worst part out of everything; one week after we broke up, he started dating his best friend. Which means that they were talking when we were dating. But I respect that. I respect their relationship. I wanted the best for him and I felt like I was draining the life out him at the same time as I was with myself.
Months go by. I stopped eating. I stopped caring. He completely dragged the life and motivation out of me. He emotionally abused me and I completely lost it. I cried for weeks at a time, lost the motivation to go to school. The self harm got worse, I contemplated suicide on numerous occasions. I didn’t want to be here. Not because we broke up, but because he broke me. It was as if he took my heart, threw it on the ground and stomped on it.
I was angry. I became selfish. I became emotionless. I became this rock that couldn’t cry, that couldn’t laugh or couldn’t feel. It was like this dark hole sucked me in and took the life out of me. I eventually found a way to help myself forget it. I found this band that changed everything, that helped me find a way out of this feeling. Their name? Being As An Ocean. They mean everything and will forever mean something to me.
I graduated and applied to College for Art. Art has been my passion since I was younger. I didn’t think I was Picasso or anything but I knew I had talent. Assignments came rolling in and it was like a slap in the face. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t even find the right way to express myself on canvas or paper. I felt like I had lost the one thing that meant the most to me. So, before everything became worse; I dropped out of school.
Then Winter came over and the roads were covered in this white, angelic dust. The nights were pinks and purples, the days were sunny and cold. I woke up one morning and I went on Facebook and found out that the boy who introduced himself to me in high school on the bus passed away in his sleep. I have never felt a wave of shock before, I had a big lump in my throat and I didn’t know what fear was until I see those posts flooding my feed. I stayed away from his profile for weeks. I didn’t know how to react. I was at loss. He meant a lot to me. He was there for me when I asked for it. He even introduced me to a lot of people. Not a single tear came out. I was angry. I was upset that he was taken away. He was so made out of light and love, he spread his positivity everywhere he went. He was the one who told me that “Everything will be okay if you allow time to take over.” He was right. Time is the best thing. You can’t expect change if you don’t allow yourself to see change.
I haven’t gotten much better with my mental health since all of that happened. I experience mild hallucinations and hear voices, I suffer from severe depression that can cause difficulty in my everyday life, and I’m anxious constantly. Panic attacks come over me and take control of my thoughts, actions and words. It feels like I’m dying. I can’t breathe and I become disoriented. I wake up in the mornings and I have knots in my stomach. I feel like throwing up. Sometimes I just want to stay in bed all day, I sleep for up to 14-16 hours a night, I don’t eat a lot. Mental Health can cause a lot arduous strain. It’s like walking around with a massive weight on top. But I will never allow my mental health to define who I am. I am a strong person and I will continue to fight. It IS possible to get better.
Below I will be sharing some very helpful links if yourself, family or friends are having a hard time understanding themselves or their mental health.
Thank you for reading.