I was planning on being at softball today, right now infact. But I got there this morning to find another team had brought a spare umpire, who was accredited so they offered to use them instead of me, which I'm not complaining about. Yes it means I miss out on those $$ and yes I am now free for the weekend when I could of been at home, but all in all I'm ok with it.
So onto my next life chapter I guess you could call it....high school.
Pretty much this when I guess I first started getting depressed, although no one noticied (or cared enough) to say anything.
It seemed like during our (my class') high school years we had some form of tragedy, natural disaster or personal crisis that happened every single year. I know it sounds stupid but I literally remember my high school years from the crises that happened not because of anything else.
So here goes
year 7 (ok so not quite high school) - October 2nd Uncle Trev passed away, friends of ours lost their dad to a shark attack a few weeks later left behind 3 young kids the oldest around my age.
Tulka fire- scary, no one died thankfully, but we had close friends in the zone, my aunty's house was in the middle of the danger zone and she was away that weekend (this was T's wife) so dad was out there trying to fight to save her house and all the photos and videos of them, her house was ok the garden got singed but everyone survived which was the main thing. It was freaky though. I remember walking around school watching year 12's bursting into tears, teachers looking shell shocked and the smoke cloud is something you never forget.
I hadn't come to terms with T's death, once it was over no one even spoke his name around our house,
I got withdrawn (sent out of class) for 1st time in my life for refusing to do a drama monologue on the day of my cousins birthday (thats another post which I will write shortly), the next week we had a Religious Instruction band come and play, the lecturer guy for them, basically stood up and spoke about death and dying and suicide for a full hour. I made it 1/2 way through before leaving in tears absolutely shattered, about 6 of us left from that due to various personal tragedies, the worst was a friend whose cousin had suicided the week before. That was my first experience of the counsellors office, soon it would become a second home.
Towards the end of the year one of our close family friends who was in year 12 was driving some of her friends home after a study session. Next thing the car ended up wrapped around a pole. One of the girls died in that car. Again the school went into shock, another wasted life, and heaps more completely changed forever, I remember watching Lauren get up on stage to read a poem she had written at the end of year assembly, it was heartbreaking yet inspiring that she found the strength to do that.
Year 9- Another of my friends attempted suicide, survived and was ok, but arriving at school the next day was out of control, year level meetings, the lifeline and reach out cards handed out.
Then there was the group of us who were closest to him who met in the counselling offices. I think we used about 20 trees worth of tissues that day. Things were said from emotional places, feelings were hurt, we almost had a punch and people were screamed at. I tried to run away, I couldn't deal with it, only to be caught by Peter ( the later boyfriend who locked me in the car), that day was the day I thought he'd changed, he held me and told me it would be ok, and he listened to my crying babble, until I almost feel asleep completely exhausted. We sorted it out, everyone made up and James came back to school.
Year 10- Moved into the new house, got a job, then we discovered a girl in the year below me had cancer again, and this time was it. There was nothing that could be done. She fought, fought hard, she got her wish to go to the daintree rainforest and fly in a hot air balloon. She died. I remember my home group teacher breaking down and crying when she told us why we had a special assembly that day. This was also when I started hurting, badly. But I didn't tell, it had been building for ages, but I kept telling myself everything was ok, except it wasn't.
I had a small operation to remove a cyst from my eye, because of the placement I was offered general anasthetic (and I took it, I was told I would otherwise have to be operated on with my eye open- no thank you). I had a great friend come and take me to the hospital that morning (she is a nurse so was great at keeping me calm and explaining everything), mum didn't even ask if I wanted her to come, just said oh good Karen can do that I'm too busy. Well that set the mood for the day. I got home just after lunch (day procedure) and went straight back to sleep, I woke up later and went and sat outside, next thing dad came through and tripped on a tether tennis racket that had been left around, he was angry about something and next thing he'd picked it up and threw it straight through the front window in front of me. I sat there stunned and showered with glass, already with a splitting headache and lost it burst into tears. Mum didn't even try and comfort me, just told me to grow up and get over it. I walked out then, I walked to Karen's house (well I tried) she only lived a few streets away. I think mum must have rang her and told her I was headed her way, she met me 1/2 way picked me and took me home. Held me until I cried myself to sleep.
year 11- One of the main science teachers at our school passed away, unexpectedly. He had some form of ongoing blood clotting issues, but it was based in acute attacks, from what I believe he had a rupture in his esophagus and bleed to death very quickly. Again the school went into mourning. Yr 11 is also when things got more serious at home. By this stage my role was now to wash, clean, cook, do dishes, iron, entertain the girls, along with helping with the backyard, maintain my A grades so the world didnt think anything was wrong, play softball and netball, along with coaching and umpiring and also work part time at KFC for 15-20hrs a wk. I wasn't allowed to call up sick, or say no to a shift if they rang and asked me, which they did a lot.
My sleeping started to suffer, I got angry and was depressed, but by now I'd hidden it enough, I knew what to do to get me through, that was to write, I wrote everywhere and about anything, except I only ever hide it in certain spots, because mum would go through everything, no matter what is was as soon as I was out she would read my stuff and I know she did, I even caught her a few years ago reading my sisters journals. Now theres a line between reading the 'secrets' of a 6yr old to a 15-16 year old.
Year 12- was when I finally crashed.
The massive fire, 9 people died, including the psychology teacher at the school, more friends who lost homes, and even more who were damaged, the baseball club was only just missed. We drove past two of the crash sites, when they were pulling bodies out. One of the worst experiences of my life, we were packed and ready to go, i was trying to keep 7 children calm while mum got organised, driving down the street and one of the kids goes "whats that?" we looked to see a wall of orange and red go racing over the hills straight down to the water, we knew then people were in trouble. Listening on the radio to the reports, that never seemed to stop, worrying about dad and the other volunteers who were out there fighting the fires, who knew if they would come back alive. Turns out two of the firefighters died out there that day.
This was the weekend before school started. Our year 12 year. We were supposed to have done pre readings, be organised, calm, planned out, ready to start the year with a bang. We did start with a bang, that was deciding to get the word 'SURVIVORS' printed across the back of our graduation jumpers. We also started with the smell of smoke lingering again, 1/2 the school still being used a refuge centre and teachers and students glassy eyed in shock. That was crazy.
It took me a good few months to get back to 'normal' after that. I dont know what triggered it off again, but something did. Towards the middle of the year I slumped again, this time badly. To the point of writing notes and making plans, extremely detailed plans. I found out at one point my best friend had actually attempted her plans (i didn't discover this until much later), I ended up confiding in another friend, about everything, I wrote her letters and poems, some of my inner most devious thoughts, she kept them. She was the only person who knew what a living hell I'd been stuck in. That was enough to get me through, knowing she was always there, that pushed me to keep striving to do well at school, keep pushing the boundaries.
I know my teachers were worried, but they thought it was normal end of school exam stress. I broke down on a couple of them because it was all too much and they looked and I knew they cared too deeply. Couldn't hold it together, yet still they didnt' ask questions (well not of me directly). Again I thought that once I got through year 12 everything would be ok. But it wasn't of course, there was more.
I reached a point where i just couldn't go on, there was no point, nothing was saving me and the thought of spending years at uni for a career, why should I have to do that just because everyone said I had the marks to. I guess I'm only just beginning to realise I've always been pushed to do things, not because I want to, but because others have made the decisions for me. To the point that when I left home I was never allowed to go to the doctors by myself, I always had to have a parent with me, the only phone calls I could make were for work, I had to tell exactly when I was coming home, if I was late prepare to be hit, punched, slapped or yelled at as I walked through the door (but in a quiet way so the girls wouldn't know). It got ridiculous.
Looking back at it now I'm amazed I got as far as I have now. I don't know how I held it together as long as I did. And now its all come unravelled it when it hurts, to realise all these things I've missed out on, or havent' done because fear or anxiety or life or other people have held me back is scary and sad.
so yeah thats a brief overview of my high school years and the start of my downhill spiral