The frequent flyer
Is ignorance really bliss?
As a child, I had an unexplainable aversion to school, Structure, And anything that resembled a square box in which people would shove me into. A lot of the time I was late to school, It was actually due to my mental disorder that hadn’t fully thrown it’s metaphorical ‘Coming out party’ into my life. To skip ahead for only a moment, I would later be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder- But before that had to happen I had to be diagnosed with many, many, many disorders. I know that was probably one ‘Many’ too many, But thats just what happens when you get tossed from doctor to doctor.
However that part isn’t what I’m here to talk about- This topic is just as important and something I wish others would speak on more often. I’d also like to give a short list of symptoms/Signs of Bipolar disorder- And for the sake of my carpel Tunnel we’ll be turning the term Bipolar Disorder into BD.
.Signs and Symptoms.
HyperSensitivity- People with BD actually have hypersensitivity to clothes, Sounds, Even paper.
Panic Attacks- without there necessarily being a reason, Sometimes out of nowhere
Overwhelmed- Because people with BD have a constantly moving brain, Busy surroundings can overload them.
The need for structure- They have a need for structure because its the best way to keep themselves and the illness healthy/at bay- However they have an innate need to go against the grain and especially structure.
Now I know that I mostly used the term they- But I do include myself because those are all symptoms I also have- And those are some things that you may see as a ‘warning sign’ with those who are undiagnosed.
So to finally get to the beginning of my rant- I’ll start with the most ridiculous sentence to ever grace an expose on the school system and specifically school nurses.
-As a child I absolutely despised cotton socks- You know the white ones with the lacy frills- They were all the rage in the nineties and early 2000’s, Mothers thought they were absolutely adorable and my mom was no exception. She had made my sisters wear them and when it became evident that following tradition wasn’t my bad..They forced the socks on me anyway.
That was my first day of preschool- Now you must understand putting my socks on has always been a hassle. My lovely mother would attempt to change me on my changing table and she would have to deal with a fussy baby Kellie who would pull the socks off the minute they engulfed my tiny feet.
So to explain the relevance to the short story on socks- It turns out I had a hypersensitivity to specific textures including cotton and the very feeling of it on my skin had me gagging. To this day I cant wear cotton socks or anything in a similar texture.
That hypersensitivity had a lot to do with my ‘Tardys’ in my early school history. I had a very aggressive distaste for the seams of my socks- Well to be fair I hated the socks in general and it was a long-lasting fight to get my mother to buy me the nylon lined socks.
To say that I had a good reputation in my elementary school wouldn’t be an understatement or a lie- However, to say I didn’t have a bad reputation would also be a lie. As they say ‘It all depends on who you ask.’
I have this lovely talent of being adorable and charismatic at the same time- Im one of those chameleon personality types- Of course I’m not fake and I don't change my personality for who I spend time with, But I adapt to who I’m talking to. Charm is truly a gift to use with discretion.My elementary school had a main office filled with nice ladies who never really wanted to write me up for anything- However, How many times can you bring a note or have your mom call in to explain you’re late because you had a mental breakdown over the feeling of your shoes and socks
Over time as my sock issue drifted to the background I had many other ‘Issues’, Migraines, Stomaches, Nausea, Dizziness, Irritability, Panic, Despair- And I was just in elementary school. During my five year span I suffered a loss that amplified all my previous ailments. People say that the average child spends more time at school and school related activities…
-But I’m not average, I spent more time sleeping in my bed feeling sick and depressed (Which I had no idea I had yet) Than I did anywhere else. However if I decided to make it to school (Late) I was plagued with an unbearable amount of illnesses- In fact people had a tendency to say I was faking things to get out of school.
I was a star in my elementary school Chorus and had a solo for the Christmas show, On the day of the show I got sent home- In fact my teacher was so worried that she called the nurse instead of me asking to go.
For the rest of my elementary school career, My school nurses had become relatively used to all my ailments, My mother had given them a bottle of pain reliever with my name on it and a doctors note- Most of the time it didn’t work and I’d nap and then go home- Other times theyd really put their foot down and I’d stay for the forty five minutes left in school.
This is where the plot thickens, You need to understand I’m not one of those people that believes school in any form is boring- Thats something I whole heartedly disagree with. I love to learn, To find new things and the feeling you get when you put a piece of the puzzle together- When you learn something so amazing it could change lives. I loved debating with my teachers and seeing the way they lit up with joy and pride to see that someone actually cared-That someone listened.
To wrap this bit up; I have a dictionary by my bed.
I learn three new facts everyday
I believe you can learn from the past
I love to learn- I love what school should be but definitely not what it is. It disgusts me to see the way the school system has twisted Education into competition- Students have become numbers in attendance and the actual mental health of those ‘numbers’ doesn’t seem to be factored into their little charts.
When I entered middle school my life got a bit more complicated, I had a higher funeral attendance rate than anyone else my age, And the grief showed upon me and my family. Luckily the year before I gained an Iphone four and got a bit of an upperhand on the blatant lying of Middle school staff.
At my elementary school the school nurses had attempted to lie to my mother or really anyone I would call for help, They would intercept the phone and tell my family I was fine while I was doubled down in pain. So the moment I realized that I could hide my phone in my favorite pair of boots in my first few months of middle school- I found savior.
With all these new familial issues, The stressors of all these new people and a different kind of workload- A total of one friend from before I got corralled into a school I didn’t want to attend- My stress was through the roof and it wasn’t long before I had a breakdown in the cafeteria. For all the positivity I could muster, I couldn’t make my migraines go away, Or the sore throat from chorus- Or even overheating in May because they didn't have air conditioning and I was so anxious I refused to take my sweatshirt off and I passed out in math class.
Do you see where I’m going here?
Because as all of these events are happening and I’m struggling to get through the day can barely figure out what was mental and was a physical illness. I was a confused and scared kid- So miserable all the time and in so much pain- Mentally and physically..And the school nurses mocked me.
I’d walk in, Sick, Tired and just over being stared at and bullied by my peers- Seeking the solitude and comfort of home- And these ladies who are trained to make you feel better, To recognize illnesses and listen when you speak- They would ignore me, And if they weren’t ignoring me they were mocking me.
They would announce their ‘Frequent Flyer’ was here and that they were expecting me, Of course, they’d then walk into the next room, (Even if I looked like I was on the verge of death) And would start gossiping- In fact on multiple occasions both of the nurses forgot I was there. While I was sitting in their small waiting area (with no real door,Just a doorway) Pale, Sick, and uncomfortable.
The sad thing is, You aren’t allowed to leave unless you’re sick at the nurse’s office. So I’d pull my phone from my bot and had to plead with my mother to call and to pick me up- Be it anxiety or a normal ailment, I was in pain.
Sometimes when the nurses would actually pay attention to me it would be a literal battle just t get them to call my mother- And when they did they wouldn’t even let me speak to her. Sometimes I would actually be throwing up and they would tell her I was perfectly fine.
I’d like to state I actually live across the street from my middle school, So imagine staring at the entrance to your development, You literally walk to school every day- The window is right in front of you and you’re so close to home and these women who lie, mock and mistreat yo are telling you that you can’t go home- And they lie to the only person who could save you. The problem with the nurses paying attention to you is they only do it so you won’t get on our phone to tell someone the truth and that they’re lying.
However, Nothing compares to high school, And here’s why- By the time I was in highschool, I was highly medicated- My prescriptions for during the day were locked in a box, And these women genuinely thought one low prescription anti-anxiety medication and an extremely cold and chemically tasting cup of water would fix a panic attack that would have me shaking, scared, and hyper aware for the rest of the day.
Now, As mundane as that sounds, By now I’m old enough to have my own sense of self and young enough to have low self control (Even with BP standards) I’ve gone through years of therapy and when I say I’m done it means I’m done and I literally cant take it anymore. Thats really when you leave me to my self because things get dangerous.
Its really a good thing to know your limits.
A year before my glorious drop out and subsequent escape into the artistic lifestyle, I was a Junior and I was doing my best to get through classes and go home- Do the routine every day and hope I’ll be able to do it for another year. One day around fifth period (Two periods before the bell) I start feeling really hot and dizzy, It was lunch- Tacos (my favorite) I couldn’t even touch it I just felt so sick- So dizzy it was insane- The lights were blinding and I felt almost nocturnal against he fluorescence- I go to the nurse, I explain whats going on as calmly as I can before I start crying- Because im in some serious pain, She gives me basically the equivalent of a shot glass filled with water and told me go back to class.
Anyone who has ever been into public school, Figures out quickly that you obey, And then you obey some more, And its a very big “Speak when you’re spoken to and do what you’re told.”- So I’m sure you can imagine that every bone in my body was screaming “Tough it out go back to class”- But the girl inside of me who knew how much pain I was in physically and that I was being mistreated couldn’t help but feel a boiling rage inside.
So, I did what any rebellious and sick teenager would and I refused, In fact I put my sweatshirt on top of me and laid myself down for a nap- All while she petulantly called my principal who I had become friends with at this point- (With all the absences and lates, We’ve had plenty of cries and convos)- The moment he enters she starts lying- Saying I was aggressive.
Obviously, my principal looked at me, Sick and miserable on the bed and I got up to talk to him- I explained I wasn’t being aggressive and that I was genuinely sick and I cant go to class when I feel this way and knowing how sick I was I had to express it and I needed to go home. He believed me, At the displeasure of the nurse who glared at me on my walk out.
My principal then brought me to the main office to sit and wait for the bus- Out comes a social worker who had been harassing me for the entire time I’ve been enrolled in high school and she starts grilling me on why I’m not in class and that this is skipping- In my attempt to explain my situation she blatantly ignores me and calls for a ‘Supervisor’ who decides to yell at me and eventually has propelled me into such a large panic attack I start seeing black spots in my vision and I cry all the way to the bus.
Do you know why? Because the very people who were supposed to help me in my time of need failed me, My school system failed me- Mocked by the people who are meant to heal And punished for asking for a simple human right.
However the people who ignored the basic needs of children isn’t the largest problem at hand. Its the people who encourage that behavior in adults and ignore signs of ‘troubled’ youth because its easier to turn away, Just like most people do when they see a homeless person- Its easier to close your eyes than to care.
I’m not saying people with BP are troubled or bad, I’m saying they have troubles, burdens, things that affect them before their illness even fully develops and I know that there are people out there who see these issues and want nothing more than to help, One day I hope there will be more of them and less of those who simply turn away.
Is being blind to the pain of others worth the suffering it may cause?