Wednesday, 20 January 2016

It's Never What You're Expecting

A few days ago, I was re-reading my first blog post, and I realized I barely touched on what happened to me. I was in a bad spot there, and I couldn't handle saying everything that happened to me. I've decided that I'll tell you exactly what happened to me, the full truth.

So, quick trigger warning: Verbal abuse and emotional abuse

I remember first going to meet my grade six teacher, it was, what, maybe a few weeks before summer ended? I don't know, my sense of time during those months is extremely messed up, what was a few months feels like years. Now, when I first met my teacher, I passed him off as odd, maybe a bit eccentric, even. I figured he'd be an okay teacher, I figured it would just be school as usual. We all know how wrong I was to think that.

The first few weeks were fine, just as I'd expected it was school as usual. I don't remember when exactly it all started, but one of the first memories was getting kicked out of class. I forgot to do a few homework questions, so the teacher kicked me out while the class took up answers. I was sent to sit on a bench in front of the main office, and I was there for a good twenty to forty minutes. Finally, someone came to bring me back to class.

 "Sorry, the teacher forgot where he sent you to finish you're work". Yeah right. I was in the most obvious place to look, and no matter where you were walking, you were bound to pass me. I missed the lesson for the math work we were doing that day. I was left scrambling to figure out what we were doing. Of course, at that time, I thought nothing of it, it was an accident of course.

After that, I failed the math unit we were doing. I don't remember why exactly, but it was probably a combination of fear, being unable to concentrate, and missing most of the instructions. Of course, I told my mom that I was failing the math unit, but the report card that got sent home said I was getting all A's and B's, when in reality, I was scraping by with D's and F's.

 On parent teacher interview day, my mom asked my teacher how I was doing in math. "Micah's doing great in math, she's really good at it, she picks it up really quickly." I UNDERSTOOD NONE OF THE WORK AND I WAS FAILING. HE FLAT OUT LIED TO MY MOM. She tried to have it so that the EA taught me in the school's resource room, but I guess the teacher got to her first, because to be brutally honest, they didn't do shit. She ignored me most of the time, and only occasionally helped me out, and when she helped, it was "Micah, it's length times width" or "It's length times width times height, Micah".

My mom resorted to trying to teach me herself, but by then, I was too terrified of the math and being taken into the hall and yelled at. To this day, I can't remember if I was ever taken into the hall and yelled at, and I can't completely recall everything that happened during that time. My brain seems to think the forgetting helps. 

The teacher would take students into the hall and yell and scream at them, and the gifted class that was across the hall would just laugh and make fun of anyone who got yelled at. They were all horrible people, every single person in that class. 

English went okay, but even then, I was still just barely managing to pass that. I bought one of the books we read in that class, and I can't read it anymore for fear of flashbacks and panic attacks. I have a few memories of History, it was nothing special, and I have one or two vague memories of science class.

Now, in some ways I'm glad I can't remember everything that happened to me, but in other ways, it terrifies me to even think about what I've possibly forgotten. I honestly have no idea if I was one of those unfortunate people screamed at in the hallway, and the not knowing is a horrid feeling.

I can remember him shaming me and him gloating and bragging as well. Not happy memories. The memory that sticks in my head the most was from when my mom didn't realize how bad it really was. Now, by this time, I was refusing to go to school, and I only went to school when my mom and I were picking up my work. The teacher always made it a point to come and 'chat' (read: brag and shame me). 

He apparently had a kid on the police force who worked for the canine unit, and got his kid, another officer, and their dogs to come in and visit and chat with the class. He told me "It's a shame you missed it Micah, you would have been there to see it if you were actually coming to school." and my mom responded with "See Micah, you need to start going to school again. You missed out on something really cool!"

This went on for a bit, then there was the meeting. The teacher had me write a list of what I didn't like about school, and I wrote 'school in general'. Now, the teacher kicked out all the board psychologists, and the teacher turned a blind eye. The people involved in the meeting were myself, my mom, my dad (I think?), my autism consultant, and the autism consultant I would be switching to. 

Now, after kicking out the psychologists, he wheeled around the face me and proceeded to tell me "What you wrote was a slap to the face" or something that like, that's the main part I remember, The whole meeting basically consisted of him telling me off, then eventually a tiny bit about strategies to get me back into school. 

Now, it was decided I would work in the office. I'm honestly surprised I managed to drag myself to school everyday. Every day the teacher came into the office to bring me my work, all the while gloating and bragging about what I was missing, and making me feel horrible. The office staff never cared, they just ignored it all. 

Well, I started refusing to go to school again, and it was decided that I would just sit in the office doing arts and crafts in hopes that I would realize school wasn't that bad. I spent my days doing these sticky Mosaic by Numbers kit, and listening to the office staff gossiping about their kids and friends. I stopped wanting to go to school, and my mom eventually gave up on trying to make me go to school. 

By Christmas break, I think she'd figured out that it was Verbal Abuse and Emotional Abuse. She never told me it was abuse, I assumed it was just extreme bullying and never asked. Before school started back up in January, I was officially withdrawn from the school. My mom home-schooled me for a while, 

My parents sent me to a child psychologist for a while, but I had no interest in talking, and I ended up playing monopoly every week. I was put into the public board not long after, and I started getting home instruction. I was put into an autism class for my grade seven year, I was officially one of the first students in that school's first ever autism class.

Life was good, and I slowly started making friends. Then in grade eight, I had my first relapse. It was mid November, and we'd just gotten back from a week-long trip to Florida. I was terrified of going to school, and found myself trapped in the habit of refusing to go. My parents were upset, and I can remember that one night my mom said to me "We should never have gone on that trip because you just want to stay on vacation now".

I was upset, and, if I remember correctly, that was the first time I stopped talking. I gave my mom the silent treatment for a day, but I was back to talking quickly. Then one day, mid December, I was Facebook messaging some of my friends, and was telling my mom about the dream I'd had. I'd dreamed my teacher (who was dead by that point) had come to my new school, became principal, turned the school into a military school, kicked me out, and blocked me from being able to see my friends. That was when my mom realized that I likely had PTSD.

She had me take questionnaires and read about PTSD, and a few weeks later, I was officially diagnosed with PTSD. I started taking music therapy, but I broke down in the car just before my third session. I quit that therapy, then I tried art therapy. I manged the first session, but it was too unstructured, and I refused to go to my second session.

Then my mom started looking for equine-assisted therapy. After weeks of searching, she found Horse Spirit Connections. I've been taking therapy there for almost two years now, and it's worked wonders for me. It's the only therapy that actually works, and I'm comfortable enough with my therapist that I can tell her what's going on.

Grade nine went well for me, and my therapist had helped me prepare for that and helped me throughout the year. I was passing every class I took with an average of over 95%, and I had honor roll both semesters. There was one incident where I got angry with my mom and refused to talk, but she bribed me into talking again after I was silent for a day.

Now, not that long ago I was looking up emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse, I can't exactly remember why. I remember starting to realize things were adding up, too many similar occurrences to just be a coincidence. I remember thinking that it couldn't have happened to me because that type of abuse only happens in family situations or in romantic relationships, because that was all the media ever told me.

Well, after taking multiple questionnaires geared towards romantic relationships, I realized it was way too likely that I was an abuse victim. A few weeks after researching, I got up the courage to ask my mom if I had been abused, her exact response was "it was definitely abuse".  I had thought it would just be something new to know, and that life would go on as normal.

It didn't. I was horrified and relieved at the same time, I wanted to go back to not knowing. I've started to get used to knowing, but it still feels horrible. To this day, I can't read the phrase 'slap to the face' without having to change the words to another phrase as if I don't I risk flashbacks and a panic attack. If I hear the phrase 'slap to the face', there's no way I can try to stop the oncoming flashbacks and a panic attack.

This week's song:

I'm Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-qv8SSGa8c


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Rock Bottom

Trigger Warnings:
Self-harm

I know I haven't posted in a long time, and I honestly don't have a good reason for that, but hey, at least I'm writing again. I'm not at a good point in life right now. I'm depressed. It's bad. I deal with thoughts on self-harm daily. Today was the worst I've been. I should probably start from the beginning, though.

In November, I broke my arm. I fell off Winter, and I landed straight on my elbow. I dislocated it, smashed the bone, and ripped a tendon. After two weeks of being in pain, I had surgery. I had four screws and a plate put in, and I had the tendon re-attached.

I was getting home instruction, but the problem was, in Science we were starting Physics. I understood nothing. I got so stressed out and nervous and anxious that I had a nervous breakdown. My mom finally came to check on me after I'd been crying for an hour-and-a-half, and I cried for another thirty minutes. I cried for two hours. The next day, I had an anxiety attack just thinking about going into the science classroom, so one of my other teachers let me stay in a different classroom and taught me what we were doing. I was better after that. I got an almost perfect score on the test for that unit.

I was managing, but I was still stressed and more on edge than usual. Over Christmas break, I snapped. The one Sunday, I was supposed to have a guitar lesson, and then my family would go see Star Wars. Well, my guitar teacher was sick, so I didn't get a guitar lesson. I told myself I was fine, I told myself that I'd wanted to go to Chapters anyway. I went to Chapters, and got myself a few books, I would later realise how ironic the one book I'd bought was. When we got to the movie theatre, Star Wars was sold out. I was upset, but not because the movie was sold out. Why was I upset? Well, I'd warned my mom to buy tickets ahead of time because it was Star Wars, it was going to sell out quickly.

I was extremely angry as well as upset. I'd told my mom, but she hadn't listened. The destructive thoughts started then. I kept thinking, over and over again, 'no one ever listens to me' and 'why does no one ever listen to me?'. Well, I was so upset about not being listened to, that I gave my mom the silent treatment. The thoughts on self-harm started that night. 'It would be so easy. You know where to get a razor blades are. You know how to hide things, how would this be any different? It'll help.' I didn't follow through, and I'm so glad I didn't.

At first the refusing to speak was fine, but when I woke up the next day, I was ready to talk to my mom, but I found that I couldn't. My voice was refusing to work, and I knew it wasn't from a sore throat. This was new to me, the only reason I'd ever not been able to talk was from being sick, I wasn't used to my own voice turning against me. I was starting to get scared. After I remembered my thoughts on self-harm the night before, I realised it was likely I was depressed. My PTSD relapse was bad this year, so depression was likely.

Eventually my mom and I talked, and I told her I couldn't speak and that I thought I was depressed. The thoughts on self-harm were still there, but they'd calmed down since the night before. I went to therapy the next day, and another therapy appointment was booked for two days later. I also had a doctor's appointment that afternoon, so I got a prescription for anti-depressants.

Through out the next days, the thoughts on self-harm got bad again. I was thinking about self-harm when I was in the car, when my mom and I were shopping, when I was at home, it didn't seem to matter where I was or what I was doing. I talked to my therapist about it, but the thoughts were still really bad afterwards.

Eventually, the thoughts calmed, and life started getting easier again. I started school again, and I was fine at first. Then the thoughts started up again last night. It wasn't too bad, the thoughts on self-harm weren't there, I was just angry and sad. I talked to a friend through texting for an hour or two, and I felt better. Then today happened.

This morning, the thoughts on self-harm were nearly unbearable. Now, since I can't talk, I've been using a text-to-speech app at school, and I've started taking piano lessons for now since I can't sing either. I started learning to play Twin Skeletons (Hotel In NYC) by Fall Out Boy. I felt emotionally connected to the song, so I started learning to play it. When the thoughts on self-harm got bad, I went downstairs and played piano.

I played Twin Skeletons (Hotel IN NYC) repeatedly, and I was slowly hitting the keys harder and harder. It got my emotions out, and it stopped the thoughts. It was working. Then I had to go to physiotherapy for my arm, and I couldn't use the piano anymore. I guess that's when it started.

Physio was fine, and then I went to school. I was okay at first, the thoughts weren't there. Then one boy in my class started causing problems. I was chatting with my friend using the app I'd downloaded, when the boy rudely said "You know Micah can speak, right? She's just refusing to talk." The teachers told him off, and my friends all got upset with him. He didn't want to listen, but he wasn't allowed to talk about it anymore, it wasn't any of his business.

Then I started getting on edge, I needed out. I went on a quick walk, usually that would help. It didn't. Thoughts of self-harm started. They were the worst I'd had. If I'd had something I could cut with, I know I would have started then and there. I went back to class to go see the vice principal, my old guidance counsellor. She was a person I trusted and could easily talk to, and she knew what was going on. Only problem was, she was busy with a phone call, so I'd have to come back later to talk to her.

When I started to walk back to class, it got bad. I couldn't handle it, I stopped thinking straight, all I could think was 'need to hide need to hide need to hide can't go back to class can't can't can't'. I was desperate, and I went and hid under a stairwell. I texted my mom and one of my friends. My friend came and sat with me, but I got worse from there.

I ended up sitting curled in on myself, I was on the verge of tears. I was shaking badly and I was hyperventilating. I lost track of time, it felt like I was there for years. My thoughts were jumbled and repetitive, I couldn't think straight. Most of my thoughts were 'I can't handle this I can't I can't I can't I can't handle this' and 'Please don't leave me please don't leave me please don't leave me here' and 'I don't want to be alone please don't leave me alone' and 'I need help', etc.

It was bad. I felt shame and guilt over making my friend miss class, and it was horrid when those feelings mixed with the sadness and anger. It was nearly unbearable. My teacher found my friend and I eventually, and she got the vice principal for me. I went with the vice principal to her office, and we talked about what happened. She called my mom, and she had my mom bring me my piano sheet music. I got permission to play a piano and I didn't have to go to my classes. I slowly started feeling better.

I've finally realised what happened. It wasn't the medication making me feel better, I was bottling up my feelings and pushing them to the back of my mind. So what I thought was me getting better was just me pretending nothing was wrong, pretending I was okay. You'd think I'd have learnt that bottling up emotions just leads to a breakdown sooner or later, but I don't learn. Hopefully I won't make the same mistake again. I don't want this to happen again.

I'm still off, but my piano is helping me a lot. Piano seems to help me more than my guitar and my bass do, and I still don't completely understand why. But hey, if it works, it works. Listening to music has helped as well, my music expressed my emotions for me.

So yeah, today I hit rock bottom, but I think I'll slowly be okay. I'll survive. If I survived grade six, I can get through this as well. It may take a long time, but I'll slowly get better. I just have to focus on getting better and keeping myself from self-harm.

Here's the links to this week's song and Twin Skeletons (Hotel In NYC):

Twin Skeletons (Hotel In NYC) by Fall Out Boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMxkSqz_MoA

Think I'm Sick by Icon For Hire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNJAh27610