In my senior year, I took a psychology class.
For me, it was an easy A.
I had taken child psychology before,
I knew the basic ins and outs of the brain,
And I suffer from three invisible illnesses.
I mastered cognitive development
The multiple intelligences;
body-kinesthetic, musical, naturalist,
Logical-mathematical, existential, interpersonal,
intrapersonal, linguistic, and spatial.
Erikson, Marcia, Kohlberg,
So on and so forth.
A few days before we began the mental illness unit,
I had to have a meeting with all my teachers
Because my anxiety was keeping me out of school
And when I was in school, I wanted to kill myself.
My psychology teacher asked me if I was comfortable
With him teaching this unit.
I said “Yes, it needs to be taught.”
He began that lesson on Friday and said
“We all know this student. He is in a wheelchair.
Could he run across the football field?”
The class promptly responded no, he can’t.
“Well why not?”
His legs don’t work.
“A student I just made up has an IQ of 55.
Can she take calculus?”
Again, they responded no.
“She just can’t do it.”
He then asked the class,
“Then why do expect mentally ill students
To do things they emotionally can’t?”
And it was the most validation I ever felt.
You see, I suffer from severe anxiety, panic disorder, and mild depression.
I am on my fourth round of therapy.
I used to hurt myself a lot,
Mostly cutting and pills,
But sometimes I’d hit my arms.
In freshman year,
I tried to kill myself.
I ripped apart my thighs with a razor blade I took from a new pencil sharpener.
I carved in things like
“CUNT” “BITCH” “SLUT”
If you look close enough, you can still see those words today.
I recently got a first tattoo to cover it up.
It’s not that I’m ashamed
I’m just no longer living that chapter of my life.
I don’t think those things about myself anymore.
However, I am still mentally ill.
I have plenty of days where I want to throw myself off an overpass.
Sometimes, I want to hang myself
Or take a handful of pills
But I don’t.
I silently panic.
And some days I cry more often than I laugh.
There is nothing wrong with me.
As long as I continue walking upward,
Trying to show others like me that it doesn’t have to suck,
There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with me.
I have severe anxiety, panic disorder, and mild depression.
I cannot deal with crowds, tight spaces, loud noises, cotton balls,
Areas that are too warm, and people I like looking like their mad.
This is not all that I am.
It never will be.
I am more than my diagnosis.