I’ve made a resolution this term, for the remainder of this school year. It’s something that, if I’m honest, I probably should have made a set-in-stone resolution (like this one) about quite a while ago.
I will actively monitor my own mental health, and take necessary actions to ensure that it remains positive.
In the hubbub of activity in school, it can be easy to lose yourself in coursework, homework, revision and deadlines — from experience, you don’t normally even notice it. Last term, this came to a climax: I was basically a walking, sometimes-talking, half-dead students, so depressed that it was easier, safer and frankly fairer to keep my mouth firmly closed. There are no prizes for guessing that — surprise surprise —, this did me no favours; if anything, my mental health worsened, through deliberate isolation and rationalisation of frankly irrational and unrealistic expectations.
As a blind student in a high-achieving academic school, there is a lot of pressure placed upon me to perform not just well, but exceptionally well. I’ve refused to drop a subject (my school think that by doing x-number fewer GCSEs, I will cope better), but now every move I make is being scrutinised, with everyone looking for a chink in my clumsily-assembled armour by which to attack me, and tell me that I can’t cope, and that I’m not as able as everyone else to complete a full number of courses. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t want, and don’t see the slightest need, to drop any GCSEs; a problem can’t be solved by another problem’s solution, because that’s just not how life works.
Let me give you an idea of what my problem is. Imagine stepping into a classroom, sitting down, and watching the rest of your class learn. They’re learning, but you’re not; you can’t see the board, and no preparation or modification has been made (or even thought about) to ensure you can access the class material.
Never mind, though — when the worksheets come out, you’ll be able to use those.
Wrong — they haven’t been modified either.
This problem is by no means universal, and I don’t want to name the subjects that are going poorly, but in order to give you an accurate idea of my situation, this is happening consistently in about 30% of my lessons. It’s frustrating, it’s wrong, and it’s slowly but surely making every day worse.
In accordance with my “Decree of Mental Health Improvement”, I took action yesterday. A small action, yes, but action all the same — I spoke to my form tutor. I told her how I was feeling, and basically asked if I was being just, or if I was overreacting. Together, we worked out who can help, and I’m going to talk to them today (when I publish this, I’ll already have spoken to them). Speaking up is scary — by no means am I saying otherwise —, but even just the knowledge that I’m going to speak out, and having my thoughts clearly planned out in my head is a hundred times better. Now, I have something to work towards: get through this morning’s lessons, then I’ll talk to someone this afternoon.
Never be afraid to talk about how you feel. Even talking to someone who can’t directly help often proves useful: they can help you logically think things through, construct your thoughts into logical points, and assess who the best person is for you to speak to in order to get things done. Don’t let things get to the point where you can’t smile, because things don’t magically get better — believe me, I know.