In the spirit of school starting back, I wanted to talk about part of my high school experience. The last time I talked about school was middle school, and that was A WHILE ago! Things have been a little busy. My high school was split up – 2 years at one school, 2 years at another. Talk about a lot of change. I went into high school already knowing people and having a boyfriend, so I felt confident about starting. So, I thought. I would say these first 2 years were pretty “normal,” but I didn’t tell most people about being on anxiety medication. I started counseling for panic attacks and generalized anxiety, but I didn’t like it and tried to get out of going EVERY TIME. I just thought, “Something is wrong with me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here. WHY AM I NERVOUS ALL THE TIME?” I will say, medication helped even me out and school became a distraction. So, I appeared normal. But, just because you look normal and happy doesn’t mean you are inside. I mostly pushed these feelings down inside and avoided all of it as best I could, like a lot of teenagers would.
In 9th and 10th grade, I became even more involved with choir and theatre as my extracurricular activities. Plays, Musicals, All Region Choir, UIL, and regular choir kept me QUITE busy - I almost didn’t have time to think about being nervous! I also became best friends with a very loud girl named Stephanie, despite us being enemies in middle school (lol). She was on the drill team and would always come cheer me on during performances and vice versa. We hung out all the time! Some of my BEST high school memories are with her, laughing until our sides hurt, sleepovers, and going over to GMA’s house for Sunday dinner. Her laugh was contagious, and when we were together, I’m pretty sure I adopted her laugh – people were very annoyed! Her family became my second family, and I still feel that way today. They accepted me as one of their own. I am forever grateful for that!!
There always seemed to be boyfriend drama which made my anxiety increasingly worse, but I didn’t talk about this with most people. Nobody would “get it.” Medication started to help, and I would use that as needed. Sometimes, I would even leave Stephanie’s house because I had a panic attack and couldn’t stay the night. I thought, “I should have grown out of all this by now!” I became extremely hard on myself. I also stayed very close with my mom - she was my “safe person.” I talk about this a lot, because when you have anxiety, you feel alone (especially in high school), and my mom was ALWAYS the one to help calm me down, put things in perspective, and talk through things. 9th and 10th grade was FULL of heartbreak. My long term on-again/off-again boyfriend continually cheated on me and lied constantly. His male “friends” were extremely mean to me. I BELIEVED the lie that I wasn’t good enough, wasn't skinny enough & wasn't worth very much. I know it sounds cliché, but this really rocked my world. That’s where I put all my energy and focus. I just held everything in, which only created more anxiety. If you didn’t already know, people can be awfully mean in High School. It happens everywhere, but I am not innocent either. Gossip and trying to “be cool” was the name of the game. It wasn’t until college that I learned that bullying is REAL. Some of the things that happened to me in 9th and 10th grade (and years prior) stuck with me, and unfortunately, I didn’t realize how it affected me until I got older.
But, I see this now even in my adult life – people have a hard time being KIND. Kindness costs you nothing. We often teach kids, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all!” I think we should be spreading that message around… EVERYWHERE! It may be even worse with adults if you ask me!
I wouldn’t say anything crazy happened to me in these 2 years, but it all affected me. I am an extremely sensitive person and tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. So, the impact it has on me is far greater than I can explain. I think my family knew I was “different.” I was a mama’s girl and scared a lot of the time, but I slowly found joy in theatre and singing. It was something that lifted my spirit, and I felt relatively good at it. I went to church, but not very much. I would say my main focus was on trying to gain the love and approval from my significant other. Oh, how desperate I was for love. And, how FOOLISH I was for believing these lies. Looking back, I think I was mostly happy. But, avoiding and suppressing feelings are not healthy, and I didn’t realize ANY of that. I was chasing after what made me feel good – winning awards in theatre, getting recognition, having the title of “Choir President,” and having a boyfriend seemed like the perfect high school experience. Not for long…
“For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”- Matthew 6:21
I will share my next school post in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout! Prayers go out to all the kids, teachers and parents who started back to school! Happy Monday, friends :)