Experiencing depression as a teenager

When I moved from primary school to secondary and was required to wear a blazer as part of the uniform, my mum purchased a blazer that was oversized and would last. Which meant by the time I was 13 or 14, and hitting puberty, it fitted a little snug. This was a common snag with my trousers too. I didn’t feel I could go to my mum and ask her to purchase me a uniform that was in a bigger size. There were a lot of things I felt that I could not go to my mum and talk to her about. And this was one of those things that became a problem that snowballed quickly.

I did not enjoy puberty. I hated my body. The clothes that I had to wear were uncomfortable and I felt did not give me protection. I felt vulnerable. I was only allowed in the winter to have a jumper on underneath my blazer and over my white shirt. It had to be removed in class. I didn’t wear a coat. Coats were not cool. Had to carry them around school all day. Not convenient either. That jumper fitted, it felt comfortable and it was a relief to have it.

I did not feel I could express myself. I grew frustrated that I had little control or choice. This was one strand of a whole bunch of balloons I was trying to keep a grip on. My depression grew and grew when I was a teenager. My anxiety caused me to overthink everything. Something as a small as a blazer was an issue. I didn’t understand this then. I thought I had to put up with discomfort.

A bigger issue was how depression was warping my thoughts. It became the default to look up at tall buildings and think of throwing myself off of the edge. I did not care for road safety. As far as I was concerned the car could see me and it had all the time in the world to stop. If it ran me over, who cared. I walked into school and every morning I wished a bomb would have been dropped onto it the night before. I could look at my reflection in the mirror and with no doubt in my mind be able to say to myself I hate you and mean it. I hated myself. I hated that I was every day waking up feeling like shit and then having to attend school, which compounded the feelings I had of feeling like shit. I became obsessed with little things like blazers because I could hang my hopes on in the future maybe being able to have something that would be perfect.

I could not talk to anyone. Everything in my mind became a secret. I had become so used to having the mickey taken out of me, I did not want to share any of my thoughts. I felt my voice did not matter. My social ineptitude became much worse as a teenager. I could not relate to those around me. It made me resent them. It became not about what was good about me, but what was I lacking that I could not have friends or relationships with the girls in my class. Why was I not interested in boys or make-up? What kind of freak was I that I was instead obsessed with Doctor Who and James Dean? (There’s nothing wrong with being different!)

I had a catchphrase as a teenager. It became something I said to everything. It was I don’t care. I didn’t care. Wow, you think not caring gives you freedom. It did not give me any. I fought everything because I did not care. I was an arsehole. You could have asked me if I was left-handed or right-handed and the answer would have been I don’t care. I wasn’t sure of anything.

I was fucking miserable as a teenager. I try to not think about it because if I do, it gives me bad dreams. Of walking those endless school corridors, my footsteps echoing. I try to remember I didn’t know what was going on then and my teachers and my parents did what the protocols were to protect me. They didn’t know what was going on either. I was in the wrong place, trying to connect with the wrong people. It was no one’s fault; I was ill, and it was what it was.

Outsider – a poem

Poem published in SUBROSA Curated by Estefania Schubert & Ingrid M. Calderón-Collins ✍️
TW suicide & self-harm.

This poem pretty much sums up my feelings of being an outsider. I have never felt secure with people, in friendships and it’s all been a fight to fit in, to be accepted and keep a straight face and not appear too ‘weird’. To be honest, looking back I think all of us kids were trying hard to fit in, because it was all about the hierarchy and being cool in school. Better to be in than out. I used to get bullied because I was naive, was shy and wouldn’t stand up for myself, I would believe what people were telling me … about myself. I gave up trying to make friends by the time I was 13 & social isolation accelerated my depression. Social isolation and depression made me both suicidal and self-harm. As did the dysphoria puberty gave me.


I was full of self-pity & hatred because no-one seemed to be able to help or understand me. I didn’t understand why I was struggling to function. I was walking around feeling I was repeatedly being smacked around the head with a frying pan.
Teachers only saw me as a pain in the backside, who wouldn’t do their work & would disrupt lessons. I spent so many years denying any feelings I had, feeling it was my fault & thinking no-one liked me because what is there to like?
It’s amazing& sad, looking back, at how much of how I behaved & thought was depression and stigma and shame and loneliness and what people had told me I was and should do.

I don’t need to carry that shit anymore!!!!!!
I don’t need to keep destroying myself.

Journal Entry on getting organized

Hello. Hope you are ok.

I like to kid on I’m organised. I’m actually not – my Dropbox is a mess, my notes on my phone are filled with ideas I keep telling myself to write on paper, my laptop has duplicated every single file so it’s a trip finding which Word doc. I am working on and my to do list is seemingly even longer by the time I get to Friday than it was on Sunday evening.

I become overwhelmed very quickly and procrastination sets in. My need for perfectionism gets me into a funk as well. When I am feeling depressed, the least I feel like doing is getting organised before I can even get to a project I am working on. It’s like my cleaning mantra, if I stuff everything into a cupboard it’s there, it’s fine, it’s out of sight. When in reality it has made a mountain out of a molehill.

I started using Microsoft’s To Do app a few weeks ago and it’s been a useful tool. As long as I don’t look at how much I need to do and focus on one task, I’m good. How easy is it to not look at all the tasks and flip the fuck out? Not very easy. I have split my tasks into categories of my writing, my freelance writing, my blog, social media posts – and that’s a lot.

My problem is I want it all and I want it now. That is, of course, detrimental to the quality of the work I am producing. I am trying to learn it’s good to brainstorm, plan, edit, and make something the best it can be. There is no rush or timeline. I must remember to enjoy what I am doing and slow the fuck down.

I think as well not being very confident I churn out all sorts, so I can get that kick from producing and feeling I’m doing something. Giving that appearance of being busy. I do think as a once ‘good girl’ my worth is tied into grades – into results and with depression, people always thought it was laziness. That’s what people thought I was. Lazy Kate. I put myself under so much pressure when I was 17/18. It was stressful. As hard as I tried, people still didn’t like what I was doing, or not doing in their eyes. I couldn’t change their perception of me. It made me deny I was depressed. I thought I was lazy. I thought it was my fault. This is me being a lazy bitch and it’s not illness, it’s laziness. That fucked me up for years. It’s amazing on the outside what mental illness ’looks like’ to people. I was a typical teenager – ‘difficult’ ‘insolent’ ‘lazy’ I was fucking depressed. I walked around, feeling like shit and hating everyone, the world, myself. The majority of my classmates and teachers took the mickey. I’m sure it must have been hilarious on the outside looking in. A socially isolated, struggling with puberty, and depression, self-harming young girl who was desperately looking for a connection and understanding. She never got it, so she ended up in a toxic relationship that nearly killed her.

That’s enough for now. Thanks for reading. Let me know how you get organised. Also how are you finding this new editor?

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Saved by the Bell

hour spent, shut, into a classroom –
terrifying tomb
in plain clothes alongside a dozen other adult learners –
their eyes on the paper
mine on the shuffling blinds
as the open windows lets in some relief
45 minutes to go
i should concentrate
one of the questions
that one, no
too difficult
pick another
q2?
no, don’t like that one either
an alarm vibrates the air
shaking us all from private places by the root
the fire bell, brilliant
told to forget our bags, no chance
and leave the building
we file out
mixing in with other pupils

originally published put me down, I’m terrible


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After all that time

 

 

hour spent, shut, into a classroom –
terrifying tomb
in plain clothes alongside a dozen other adult learners –
their eyes on the paper –
mine on the shuffling blinds
as the open window lets in some relief

45 minutes to go

i should concentrate
one of the questions
that one, no
too difficult
pick another
q2?
no, don’t like that one either

an alarm vibrates the air

shaking us all from private places by the root
the fire bell, brilliant
told to forget our bags, no chance
and leave the building

we file out

mixing in with other the pupils

 

(from Put me Down, I’m  Terrible)

K.L


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