I know what it is like. I know how the thoughts hurt.
Posted by geekingsley
15th Jul 2016

Hi there.
My name is Georgia, and I'm an eighteen year old from Kent, England.
I'm a Gemini, an animal lover and a strong advocate that more needs to be done to lessen the stigma around speaking out about mental health issues.

Although growing up in a single parent household to a mum who had me at a young age, I had an amazing childhood, however I always knew something was different about me. I only ever had a handful of friends, and I was never the first child someone would choose to work with in class. (Which to me now I'm grateful for as it's made the independent woman I am today).
Primary school was alright, even if I did spend multiple nights crying into my mum's arms about how the other kids didn't want to play with me - nothing could have prepared me for secondary education.

All in all, I attended three secondary schools, the first for only a year, the second for the majority of my teen years, then the last, to retake my A-levels in which I failed the first time around due to social anxiety, which I'll get back around to talking to you about.
My first year at high school was the one that singled me out as "the child that was going to be the centre of everyone's bullying". I attended an all girls' school and there is one day I remember vibrantly, sitting in the front of my maths class when this girl picked up her metal compass, and stabbed me in the back of the neck with it. Along with this, I received comments on how it was 'weird' that I didn't wear makeup and that I was a nerd for taking down so many notes. The very next day in the canteen, she spilt tomato sauce down my top and proceeded to trip me up. Gradually the torments grew worse, focusing more on my physical appearance and 'strange' personality. "You're ugly". "You look like a horse". "God, isn't her forehead big?"

After an entire summer holiday refusing to leave the house, my mum decided it was time I changed my school.

This time around, I went to a mixed gender school that specialised in creative arts, something I had a huge passion in as I went to dance school three times a week for 12 years.

I quickly made a friend my very first day, something I wasn't used to as I had none at the previous school. I loved all my lessons, especially catering where I got to work with my best friend and a boy I had a huge crush on. We gradually became a little group, along with the boy's best friend, and always sat with each other, even at lunch times.

The day it went downhill from there was in the second year during a geography class, where a boy I had never spoken to before, or even knew his name, called me out in front of the entire class for "having such a big forehead". (Let me just stress that now at the age I am, I can personally let you know my forehead is rather average and not at all 'abnormal').

In that exact moment, I remember wanting the ground to swallow me whole as he recited the very words that lead to me leaving my previous school.
Every year, our classes would change, including the people in them, and against my luck, he was in all of them. I slowly started playing truant; skipping physical education for being too self conscious to get changed then skipping maths just because my teacher refused to change my assigned seat which was right in front of him.

By the time it was time to take my exams, I had missed a total of a year's worth of maths classes and had no clue how to play any sport at all. My outside hobbies ceased, due to my confidence reaching an all time low, and now, the day of my first really important exam.
It was an english one, a subject I was extremely good in and always excelled all my classmates. My seat was smack bang in the middle of this hall that held 300+ other students and when the bell went and the silence settled in, I couldn't breathe.
My hands began to tingle, my heart tightened up - it felt as if suddenly a huge weight was pushing me into my chair. My stomach rumbled ferociously and I couldn't move. Not a muscle. I could feel my heart beat in my head, pumping blood past my ears.

Slowly I grabbed a pencil and scribbled on my entire test paper a message and managed to draw the attention of a teacher. I had her read the message I had wrote - "please help.Get me out. Can't breathe."

After a few minutes the woman escorted me out of the test hall and into a room where I was left by myself.
The entire time I felt like an idiot for not knowing what had gotten into me. I was like a patient who cannot tell where it hurts, only that it does.

My mum came and collected me and we went straight to the doctors. After several in depth questions and google searches, mixed with the knowledge of my self harming past (all due to the bullying I endured) I was diagnosed with severe social anxiety along with paranoia.

I could tell you a hundred stories of what it's like to have anxiety or what it's like to be 18 with an arm full of scars, but I wrote this for the people who already know what indescribable fear is like. I wrote this for the people who listen to that band, with their earphones in, late at night, palms against your eyes, silent screaming into the air. You are not alone. You are none of those things they said you are.

I promise you my pain wasn't poetic. It was days without sleep and getting up in the morning, pretending I was stable enough to go to school. I went my entire teenage years thinking I was not worth it, and comparing myself to every other girl.

To the insecure, crying, human reading this alone in their bedroom; remember this. "Another person's beauty is not the absence of your own".

On my eighteenth birthday I got a tattoo of a lotus flower to symbolise my recovery, and here is what it means for me. 'Like a lotus flower, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world".

Please remember to forgive yourself for the years your mental health may have taken away from you.

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