Jane, May 15, 2019

"They just couldn't see how much I was struggling. This total lack of understanding made me so alone"

Throughout my life I have had acquaintances, people who would speak to me in class who I would have a joke or a deep conversation with, but I’ve always had very few friends. I think this is mainly down to the fact that I don't push myself in many ways and actually prefer to stay in than go out to parties – yes, I'm a granny I know, but there is something about lighting a candle and putting your slippers on! I’ve struggled to fit in or be accepted by others.

My mental health started to affect me in year 9 when suddenly I was being left out of my friendship group. Everyone would arrange to go out without me and I became increasingly aware that I wasn't wanted. I was also receiving threatening messages. I didn’t feel like my school was supporting me – and I began to spiral.

I didn't go to school and as a result my anxiety became worse. I was unable to sleep, being sick and losing weight dramatically as I was just so stressed. When I did go into school, I felt ridiculed by one teacher who exclaimed “You can't just miss school!”, while other teachers told me that I would never not go to school as I was “the least likely to be a school refuser”. They just couldn't see how much I was struggling and how much of an impact being left out could have on an individual.

This left me hiding in corridors in floods of tears. This total lack of understanding made me feel even worse and so alone.

I have always been an anxious person and others have often found this annoying, especially my black-and-white thinking, where I can only see two distinct, opposite possibilities to a situation. It could be something as simple as friends swapping pencils in class - I would feel left out and convinced it was the most terrible thing in the world.

I’ve always been told to “Stop worrying about that piece of work because it's amazing and you always get the top marks!” and called “irritating” because I go on about things so much. People often do not have the ability to understand why I’m such a stress head.

So why am I writing this blog? To tell you that there is hope and there is nothing wrong with you - never let anyone make you feel that there is! It may take just one person to understand you and why you feel the way you do, for you to find your worth.

I had a teacher who believed in me. She used to give me a cup of tea and just listen. She would never judge me for being off school or for being so upset - she just understood and let me explain why I felt so bad and how others were making me feel.

I eventually moved to a new school and things worked out but I still struggle everyday. I’m currently struggling with my mental health but will not let those people win. I’m on the waiting list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and I’m excited to see how that journey will benefit me and my mental health.

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