As told to Ruchy Bromberg
My problem was that I didn’t like school. Not just, mumble-grumble, don’t-wanna-go-to-school; I really didn’t want to go to school, and I would cry even at the thought of going. I would just panic. I hardly went to school and if I did I would have to leave early. I was miserable. Completely miserable.
For some kids, school is a fun, interesting, and safe place. But I dreaded it to no end.
In the beginning of the year I tried to hold myself together, but after a while it got to the point where I was ready to give up because I was suffering so much. But the thing is, there was really no such thing as giving up. There was no way for me to run away from my pain.
After seeking help, my parents and I finally realized that I was suffering from anxiety and depression. Anxiety is a feeling kind of like being very nervous and fearful and expecting bad things to happen. Depression is extreme sadness and feelings of hopeless and helpless. I was in pain. Real, true pain.
Even after I went to a therapist, who helped me a little, the pain was still there. I would have panic attacks in school almost every day. I was miserable. My therapist suggested that I participate in an outpatient hospitalization program. It’s a full day program where they teach you how to cope and deal with your struggle.
When this idea was suggested to me I lost it. I couldn’t believe they would make me do this. Take me out of school altogether? Separate me from my friends?
It took a lot of time but eventually I accepted the fact that I needed to do this if I wanted to get better. I called my friends to let them know that I wouldn’t be coming to school for a while. We were just bawling on the phone; they tried to give me chizuk and support me in the best way possible. I knew that my friends would be there for me for the long haul — and they definitely were.
When I finally started the program, I hated it. First, having to focus on my fear and sadness in order to resolve it was so painful. I was miserable and in emotional agony. Each day when I came home I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I just wanted to be alone or go to sleep. Often, I cried myself to sleep.
I was in the program for five long, tough weeks. After five weeks I was finally ready to leave. I was excited, but I was also nervous about what might happen next and how I’d adjust to going to school again.
(Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 734)