Content Warning: Mental health and ideation
Hey all… welcome back to my pink room!
Grab a seat, get comfortable we might be here for a little while. So I thought we could start the week off just talking about a story of my own. I want to let you in on a conversation I have been having with myself for the past week or so. Actually these string of thoughts have preoccupied so much of my time over the past several days, I could barely find time for anything else (which sadly included keeping up with our pink room chats). And that is this question of trauma, freedom and growth.
I thought tonight I would share one story that I have been reflecting on a lot lately and see if I can find my way back to the question of trauma, freedom and growth. (It likely will need to be broken up into at least two parts so stay tuned)
This year, I decided to take time off from school. I had thought about it before but I guess the idea of graduating in 5 years was just not in my plan or on my radar or in my to do list, or… you get the point. It felt like that was what broken and sick people did. Not someone like me who was supposedly “well”. Well at least well enough to stay “on track”. I was supposed to graduate high school, then go to a top college and I guess then grad school and then magically end up in some kind of fancy job with a gorgeous picture perfect family. The end. And that plan required I graduate on time of course.
But I guess the question you are probably still wondering is: so then what exactly happened this year and what does have do with trauma, freedom and growth?
Well. Sorry. I told you at the beginning (in “Books and Executions (Part 1)” which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already) that brevity is not my strong suit. So you’re just going to have to sit tight and enjoy the ride that is a Jamie story. They tend to be epic.
Okay back the story. Where were we?
That’s right. A track. A plan. And an unexpected year…
So I never imagined that I would take a gap year for literally any reason. But I arrived at college, a top one like the plan had suggested. And well I crashed. It was kind of terrible to watch, I like major crashed.
I have always had a pretty unhealthy relationship with school. But I guess in high school and middle school maybe even elementary school, unhealthy borderline abusive relationships with beloved school was praised, rewarded and highly sought after. We definitely will talk about that more for sure but what is important to know for our story is that if my relationship was unhealthy in high school then it was straight up abusive in college.
It demanded all of my time, energy and even passion. I was always reprimanded and berated for choosing to spend my time doing anything other than being obsessed with it, even food and I were not allowed friends. I spent almost every waking moment, studying or worrying about an exam or crying about a grade. And whatever I did, how ever much I sacrificed, it was just never enough. I wasn’t doing nearly as well as had in high school but I was spending at least three times the energy.
By midway through my first year, my RA was pretty concerned about me because I practically lived in the study room in our hall. She suggested I schedule an appointment with one of the on campus therapist. I was very hesitant because like I said I was supposed well. Why should I see a therapist about school? We were fine. Yeah, it took all of my time and I felt guilty even spending time sleeping or eating. But… but we were fine. That’s just what it meant to be hard working. I wasn’t sick. But my RA refused to leave until I appeased her and at least called CPS (the counseling and psychological service on campus). I said fine. So I gave them a call and scheduled some kind of consultation. I was fine of course but it was for my RA’s benefit that I finally blocked out some time to go see one of the therapists at CPS.
I got there and to be honest it was pretty underwhelming. I wasn’t really sure what was supposed to happen but I figured it should be more than just retelling what I already knew. Why should I tell some random woman that I couldn’t sleep anymore because my body would wake me up in a panic in the middle of the night since I never seemed to be done with all my work by the time night hit. I get it. Yes, it’s not ideal. But what I was supposed do. I apparently wasn’t that smart. But I needed this. I left feeling kind of self conscious and with absolutely no plans to break up with school. This kind of weird relationship with therapy and school continued off and on through the end of my freshman year. Sometimes, I thought I might actually believe them, the therapist I mean, but if I was so unwell then I don’t know it felt like they were right. I was fraud. I wasn’t quite sure who they were but nonetheless I set on proving them wrong.
Fast forward to my sophomore year. I was supposed to know more about what I wanted to do with my life. Well… that was not going so well. But I knew that this was the year that I finally was going to be good enough, so that school and I could have a happy relationship instead of me always being the dead weight. And now on to part that if you know me, you probably have heard before because well I stand by it being the hardest moment of my entire life thus far and for those who don’t know me I am going to do little bit of skipping around but feel free to shoot me a message on the “Contact” page if you want to talk or learn more about it.
Okay so if my sophomore fall had to be a tagline it probably would look something like this: “grief, panic, and a drowning invisible time bomb”. I was the time bomb that was drowning and no one noticed. And this time school was not enough to keep me out of bed with grief and panic. A lot of things happened all at once. I learned, if I had ever forgotten, that racism is as real it as gets and people actually didn’t mind making sure I knew it. No one has claim over life even the lives of those we love. It can be stolen without warning and the only thing we can do is wish that it wasn’t. Fear is a really bad lover. And it is much better at lies than truth. Laughter is good medicine but it doesn’t cure grief it can’t even prevent tears.
My fall semester ended with me frozen under the suffocating weight of an exploding world in an on campus infirmary room that banned the use of scissors.
Okay let’s stop here for now. And next time in the pink room, we will finish up with our little story and finally connect it to the whole trauma, freedom, growth part that we started with. Alright, thanks for joining me and see you real soon.