The last years of my childhood and the first one of my adolescence were probably the worst in my (for now) short life. The bad relationship I had with my parents and sister had turned me into a chronically angry child. The Saturday and Sunday groups helped lower my self-esteem. My new school, which was more academically challenging than the old one, made me realize I was not that smart after all. Now I had nothing in my favor. Nothing I was good for.
In fourth grade, I exploded. That year, every mistake I made in class, everything I did that was not perfect, every argument I had, ended in a full-blown meltdown, complete with screaming, crying, throwing things and sometimes hitting other children. I was nine years old and I had reached a size that made these behaviors not only unacceptable, but also dangerous. That year I had to be physically restrained more than once.
That was the year I tried to strangle a boy at school. The year I hit a girl from my hockey team with my hockey stick (I threw it at her and it was a headshot. Miraculously, the girl survived and was not hurt.) That was the year the parents of these children went to my mother and asked her when she was going to give up and lock me in a child neuropsychiatric hospital. That was the year I started seeing a psychiatrist and taking medication.
In fifth grade, things got slightly better. I still struggled with frustration and had frequent meltdowns, but I was not so aggressive anymore. I was more sad than angry, now. I realized that I was usually the only girl who was alone in recess; all the other girls had friends to talk to and play with. I wondered why I was different from everyone else; why I could not have friends, be good and well loved like all the other girls. Sometimes, the teacher would encourage me to join them, and I would do it, but that often ended in an argument for some reason or other. After these conflicts, I would climb up a tree and sulk there, refusing to return to the classroom even after recess finished. That was the year I stopped taking my medication.
Sixth grade was my last year in that school. My behavior was not so different from the previous year. I tried to make friends, with some little success. School was mostly good, and home life was not particularly bad. It was probably the best of the worst years. When it was about to finish, though, my mother warned me that, if my behavior did not change, I would not go to the school of my dreams the following year. Twelve-year-old girls who had frequent meltdowns and could not handle frustration or disagreement did not belong there: they belonged in special schools. I did my best to control my behavior. It was probably the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done, but I succeeded.
Seventh grade was the worst year in my whole life. I was then in a new, huge school, where I knew very few people. I started there with a great hope for a bright future: if nobody knew me, I could start again and pretend to be different. I could make friends! But things did not happen the way I expected. I had a really hard time trying to learn my classmates’ names (it took me months to do that). I did my best to pretend to be ‘normal’, even though at the time I did not even know what made me ‘not normal’. I tried to hide my differences without knowing what they were. I failed.
That was the year my classmates did not want to talk to me. The year I had no one to have lunch with. The year I was rejected. The year I was asked what planet I was from. The year people made up rumors about me. The year the boys pulled my hair, stuck chewing gum in it and had me electrocuted as a prank. The year I was mocked. The year I was bullied. The year I was taken advantage of and did nothing about it, because I did not know how to defend myself verbally and I had always been taught that fighting back was wrong.
Before the school year ended, my parents noticed how depressed I had become. I would cry every day, at school and at home too. I would cry myself to sleep every night, praying for the Lord to take my life before my cell phone’s alarm woke me up the next morning and I had to face another day in the hell that was my life. I guess my sadness was not so difficult to see.
My parents talked to the school about everything I was going through, and in the end they decided to take me to a different class in the same school. The children there were friendlier and more welcoming. Some of the girls were kind to me and tried to include me, but I did not notice. I did not want to be included or have friends anymore. That was way beyond my hopes now. I just wanted to be left alone. I just wanted to not be bullied. And fortunately, my wish was granted.