Gill returns after quite a long time away with what I believe would have been her Let’s Talk Day message had she been near the internet when it happened.
Hi friends, it’s been a long time. I hope 2021 is being kind to you. I would normally have been writing articles, but because of this pandemic I’ve been with my family over 100 miles away. I missed telling you about my struggle with mental health issues. This is something I think is timely, as depending on where you are restrictions vary.
When I was still quite young a lot of people had written me off at school as being slow and troublesome. I clearly remember hearing how my younger sister’s teachers had glowing reports about how she was always doing well, made friends easily, and behaved well. Even when eight or nine I realized something unlikable about myself. This self loathing followed me to puberty which at best is a pain, but with me it was torture mixed with train wreck. At this point I was about to board the mental illness ride, or like I called it in previous blogs the roller-coaster I didn’t wish to be on.
Angel At the door
1996-97 my 11th grade year, started out kind of ok. I had friends, was class president, and running track. 1997 began promisingly enough, until the middle of January when on a stormy Friday the school bus I was riding in left the road and hit a snowbank. Though I wasn’t hurt physically, the psychological unraveling had only started to ramp up. By the middle of February I was barely doing assignments, I had resigned my position as homeroom president, and I had no interest in skiing or track. By early March I also learned that I would be spending another year in remedial classes. My downward spiral was about to take a dark turn. I would often hear the trains from my dorm room, and walk across a bridge to get to school. In later years I would relate this story to my friend Eric telling him how easy it would have been for me to just climb over the rail on the bridge and just jump, or just use my long jump skills near the train tracks. But something stopped me. I was at the door of the dorm when this voice said, “don’t! Go back! Just don’t!”
I have my good days, bad ones and indifferent days, but I know now that I have supports around for the dark times. I would encourage you to reach out if you are feeling like life’s too much, especially now. Don’t be scared to say you need help. I am so glad I did almost a quarter century ago.