I first realized I was different at age 6. I had just experienced loss for the first time. My grandmother had died, and I wasn’t taking it well. There were days when I was so sad that school seemed impossible. I was swallowed by grief.
Then I was diagnosed with depression and made to go to therapy. I don’t remember much, but I do know it helped. I was more myself. I was able to have the ever-present weight of my grief lightened.
Things were better for a while, but other people noticed I was different. That’s when the bulling started. I was isolated from my classmates and was tormented by this one girl. No one stood up for me, no one really cared if the strange loner was crying. I had a few friends here and there, but they didn’t want the same treatment, or they didn’t care. I don’t blame them now, we were young and children are cruel.
The hardest part was when nothing changed. I tried to play it off for so long until I eventually told my parents. We brought it up with my teachers, deans, and even the principal. They gave excuses; “they’re only kids,” “are you sure you’re not exaggerating,” and “the other students haven’t said anything.” At one point, a teacher joined in. She would single me out and turn her head when anything happened. This led to more bullies. People who previously ignored me now joined in the game.
We still tried to end the problem. Every step was counted. At that point, the only solution would have been to switch schools. It was seriously considered.
I landed in the hospital in fifth grade. I was put into the outpatient program and stayed in it for about six weeks. I was there for a combination of reasons, but a large part was depression.
The program helped. My 6th-grade year was better. I was still being bullied, but this time problems were being solved. I had that teacher again, but I felt confident enough to walk out and tell someone. She hated me even more. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was better.
Seventh grade came and went, I didn’t have close friends, but I wasn’t being bullied either. Eighth grade came, and I made actual friends. It was a good year from that perspective. My depression was bad, though. Looking back, it was probably my therapist, medicine, and puberty. It hadn’t changed since fifth grade, but I had.
I was put into the program again, though it wasn’t as helpful. It was underfunded and understaffed. I should have been out in two weeks, but they held me longer because I hadn’t got any personalized help. Eventually, I finished it and transferred to a new therapist and practices.
Ninth grade was great. I made friends and had excellent teachers. Tenth grade was good until March. Then the wonderful pandemic came around. I was stressed and confused like everyone else, but I was able to finish out the year.
Now I will enter the eleventh grade in the fall. I don’t know what will happen, but I’m ready for it.
Guest Writer- Grace