High-School Drop Out- my story

*please note that this blog post speaks about depression and mental health*

I’ll be honest, speaking about this is not easy. I will be judged, scrutinised and criticised for the decisions I’ve made and for feeling vulnerable but, if my story can help someone then I would really like to share it…

I could go back all the way to the beginning and talk about the horrible experiences I’ve had since going to preschool however, it would take me forever to explain the deep traumatic experience that childhood is. So, for now let’s focus on when and how everything really began to unfold leading me to quit school…

It all started in the year 2014, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

Back then, no one would have believed me if I told them I was depressed, I smiled with everyone, laughed as much as I could, I didn’t look depressed. Want to know a secret?

Depression doesn’t “look” like anything, it’s what’s going on in your head, it’s the ugliness that no one sees until it’s too late.

A lot had been going on at the time in my personal life as well as at school. I couldn’t handle it all so I did something I’ll never forget, I started self-harming as if that would solve my problems. At the time, mental health wasn’t talked about at all especially in the community we live in. I didn’t know what being depressed was, in fact I didn’t even know that anxiety existed until I watches Zoe Sugg’s video on her experiences with anxiety. After I did what I did I tried confiding in a friend, little did I know they knew what was best for me as much as I didn’t want to admit, which led them to have a chat with my mother about what was going on and if I didn’t have that person in life I don’t even want to know where I would have ended up that year. I could safely say I got help, but it wasn’t the help I needed.

My mother sent me to a therapist and after my first session I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to do what I’ve always done, pretend I was okay and move on. Of course, that’s not the healthy option but 15-year-old me was naïve, inexperienced and really didn’t know how to trust anyone not even herself. So, I finished my course of therapy and convinced the therapist I was doing great, I shaved my head, got new clothes, I was a new woman (kind of).

I stayed clean for almost a year until I eventually bottled everything too much that I couldn’t handle it anymore yet again. My panic attacks were becoming an hourly thing, I found myself rushing to the bathroom every third period just to get myself to calm down. I was a mess. I was constantly getting sick and I could barely last a full week of school without completely crashing.

I may not have resorted back to physical self-harm, but I was suffocating my soul, or at least that’s what it felt like. My psychological state was causing my body to completely crash, during this time I was in and out of hospital and doctors’ offices trying to get my shit together. I’ll say it again I was a mess!

Something I learnt from my experience is that there are very few people in this world that are actually good for you and when you find them, hold on to them as tight as you can. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my best friends and family.

So, for a brief moment I was okay, I was focusing on what I loved doing and I was happy, until, unnecessary pressure started being placed on me and everyone else in the grade. While at school I loved being part of the different societies, I was part of debate, drama, eco club, I absolutely loved being in a space where I could be creative and helpful, being a part of those group activities helped me cope with my anxiety and I was pretty damn good at what I was doing that was until that safe place I had was suddenly destroyed by a sexist fool who couldn’t handle a woman doing a better job than him, but the biggest part of my anxiety was being pressured to perform extremely well in my academics. I’ll admit, I wasn’t getting straight A’s, however I was fine with the C’s and B’s I was receiving for all my subjects except one and that was the dreaded mathematics. My problem wasn’t that I was dumb, or unable to grasp the work, my problem was that the subject itself gave me so much anxiety that I just couldn’t function in class. My memories from math class are a complete blur, all I remember is the suffocating feeling I got walking to the class room and sitting at my desk, the deafening sound of my heart racing when my teacher asked me a question and the desperate urge to somehow prove myself to people that didn’t even care. I wanted to do well, and I wanted to show my teacher that I could do it and then the day came where I was called to the principal’s office being told I can’t do it, I don’t have it in me and that I should consider doing something more simpler and to my ability. As stubborn as I was I held my head high and simply said no. I believed in myself and my mother believed in me I just had to prove myself to my teachers, right?

I did everything I could, went to tuition, saw an educational psychologist, tried doing extra work but my problem wasn’t the work. It was my anxiety and no matter how much my mother and I tried to get that point across to the school they continued to try and pressure me into giving up.

I thought I could win the battle against the stupid subject but that wasn’t that only battle I had to fight. I was going through so much in my personal life, my health took a drastic turn for the worst and school on its own wasn’t exactly easy either. Once again, I was a mess and it didn’t help that prefect selection was happening all during this time.

Ah prefect selection, how foolish I was to think that being selected was the weight of all my worth…

Stay tuned, the rest of this blog post will be up very soon, as you can see it’s quite long already…

To be continued…

5 Comments

  1. The topics raised here comes from an era alien to me .. But I have noticed the unnecessary , creeping , hidden curricular pressures that schools are forcing on young , vulnerable kids . This is evident in the top 10 or top performer in the year list that gets given to parents “Termly” . As a parent even I felt pressured for a fleeting moment . The obsession with being ‘perfect’, gaining that prized first place seems to be the ultimate aim of being at “school” when it should really be about having fun, facing hurdles & failing at some things but learning from it.

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  2. This story has really touched me . i experienced somewhat of the same aspect, but a little less.
    i experienced this during my matric year, near to mid year exams . i thought how i will i cope . i silently kept it all in until i couldnt handle it anymore , i didnt really have anyone close to talk to that time . i then asked my English teacher to book me an appointment with the school social worker . I really felt like leaving school that time, could handle the pressure at school and the unnecessary drama of close friends. I made my first decision to distance myself from those friends and concentrate on my school work because i need to make my parents proud. The 2nd decision was to consult the social worker , which i did , i let all the anger out of me , everything i was keeping in , i cried and cried , i felt just because im a soft person people have taken too much advantage of me . i made it clear to myself it was enough and after i spoke to the social worker i felt a little bit relieved. after june exams , 3rd term it was time for the 3rd step which was to confront my friends , i felt a bit scared , nervous and all emotions were running through my head , how am i going to do it, i built up confidence somehow , i confronted them eventually. something just felt lighter in my head. ….
    the story is quite more detailed , but i learnt a message from this and i took it as a test from Allah , i believe that everything happens for a reason . And each day i make dua for all those out there suffering from similar problems and are not sure how to deal with it, and i know it is really isnt easy to manage and can lead to numerous acts.
    I hope we can meet sometime , i would love to just share my story , and well as be there for you as 2 strong ladies together.
    ( All details still to come )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, i can relate to a lot of what you have written. I’ve never felt right and have felt anxious ever since i can remember. I dropped out of school towards the end of my high school years. Honestly, i could’ve and maybe even should’ve left for my overall health sooner than this. I’m now 21, turning 22 this December and haven’t been able to hold down any studies for the past four years or so. I used to be a hard worker despite both my emotional and physical struggles but one day it all just got too much. I haven’t been able to gain any of it back since. Some of us do things ‘differently,’ sometimes we have to for our own wellbeing, we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that. Thank you for sharing ❤

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