A thank you note
Last June something snapped. I couldnít talk to my parents about what was going on. I knew I was caught in a horrible spiral with severe anxiety. But I live in Uganda, and it was a while before I could go see a psychiatrist. My parents tried to be there for me. But I wouldnítÖ couldnít let them. I was stuck cutting and burning and losing control multiple times a day. My anxiety had taken everything from me.
One day my classmates all ganged up on me. They started saying thingsÖ to sum it all up they told me I was weak. They didnít want me. We were in the common room, and I didnít have a class. When I left, I had nowhere to go. I walked around school for 20 minutes, during which time I had formulated my plan to kill myself. At school. It was going to end there. I donít really remember what happened, but while I tried to fight against myself and keep myself from doing something I would regret, my very wise, and funny, biology teacher walked by and said hi to me. He didnít have a class, so I walked straight to his room and told him what was going on. He had me call my mom and take a few days off of school.
But that day he told me things that kept me alive over the next months. He told me I was a beautiful person, which sounded strange given that I was calling myself a ****ing monster. He told me that God doesnít make ****, and that therefore I couldnít be ****. He told me I was strong, and I would be okay. He kept me safe for that day, and the following days until I could get back to the US and get help.
By the time I met with a psychiatrist she asked me one question, and made it clear that the answer would determine whether or not I went into the hospital. I lied to her, and narrowly escaped the hospital.
My family lives in Uganda. By the time my parents realized what kind of shape I was in, we began questioning whether I could return to Uganda. I said that I wanted to.
My anxiety had debilitated me. Yes, I had kept my grades up, but I wasnít functioning. I lost control daily, really multiple times a day, and I cut and burned myself until I almost ended up in the hospital. I was out of control, and I had to face coming back to Uganda.
And so I came back. Iím doing the IB diploma program. For anyone who doesnít know what that is, itís widely considered the hardest curriculum for high school. In August as the start of school approached I had no idea how I was going to make it through the year. And so I met with my biology teacher again before school started. He promised me as much support as he could give me. He talked to some of my teachers for me. He and my parents promised that they were going to help me get through this.
And so I started school again, back in Uganda, with massive amounts of support from my amazing parents and from my biology teacher.
I didnít think I was going to make it. My parents and I were constantly ready to look for emergency plane tickets home. But something changed. I had a panic attack one day, and suddenly realized that it was time for me to fight back. And so once again I was in my biology teacherís room.
I donít remember much about that conversation, except for the fact that I could barely talk through my panic. I just remember him having me call my mom to pick me up, and giving me a random piece of chocolate cake. I donít know why he gave me chocolate cake, but I remember thinking that in a sucky world at least there would always be chocolate.
I told my mom that I needed to see a counselor because I wanted to stop cutting. And through a lot of pain and difficulty I started working my way up again. Eventually I became myself again. And now, at 59 days, I am living my life without self injury.
I wrote this post partly because I want to thank a few people. My parents have been incredible. They never judged, never got angry, and only helped. They held my hand when I couldnít go any further. During the days I wasnít functioning and I was in the US with my mom she kept me together, piece by piece. My parents have been there whenever Iíve needed anything. No matter how bad things got, my dad was always there to tell me how proud of me he was.
My biology teacher kept me safe last June, and he has continued to do so. He made me promise that if I was in bad shape at school I would come to him no matter what. He and my parents are the only people who have really witnessed me having an all out panic attack. His constant encouragement has kept me going for the last 59 days through hellish times trying to get my IB work done.
I have 42 days from today until graduation, and I am the top student in many of my classes. I have a place in a fantastic university, and great support. I have scholarships. I have everything in place. And I donít even know if I would still be here if it wasnít for the people in my life who have propped me up. So I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who have kept me together.
And I donít want to hurt myself again.