Hey, how’s it going? You all know my name and we get along really well which is great. I love going to a small liberal school where I can get to know my professors so well. I enjoy our conversations about what I’m doing in my free time and our similar interests. Sadly, there’s something I need to talk about. Here at our small liberal art school, we have the “happy” student. Well, my dear professors, I am not that happy student and I’m scared to tell most of you about it.
When I come into your class, you probably see this girl who looks a little tired but has a large coffee and muffin with her. You know, the typical college student. But there are some things that you don’t see.
You don’t see that I had to rush to get out of bed and get ready because it was so hard for me to get up and do something. When all I want to do is lie there and cry most days. You don’t see that I have that muffin because of my idiocy where I down all of my medications with water and then realize I need food in my body before I get sick. I have that coffee because I honestly can’t stay awake without caffeine. It’s an actual addiction, I’ll get severe headaches if I don’t grab coffee. You don’t see how little time I actually spend on myself in the morning and how that’s a huge accomplishment for me because I don’t obsess about every single thing I’m wearing or how I look. You don’t see the constant wheels turning in my head about every assignment I have to do today or everything I wasn’t able to complete. You don’t see me having a panic attack because I try my hardest to repress it from people. You don’t see me flinch when someone hands me something or see my hand clench up when someone I don’t know sits behind me. The funny thing is, if you look at where I always sit in class, it’s normally the back where I can lean on the wall. And if it’s not, then there’s someone I trust and care about sitting behind me instead. You aren’t able to closely look at me because if you did, you would see the deep circles underneath my eyes that are from the constant night terrors I have when I’m alone. You would see my hands and the scars that are scattered on the surface. You also aren’t able to see the absolute misery in my eyes some days or the panic. You don’t see that I reward myself for just getting up in the morning or getting through the night alone. You would also see makeup on my hands, arms and mainly around my eyes that I use to make sure you can’t see any of it. But sometimes I break and I can’t keep up this facade.
Last week a professor was next to me as I was having a severe panic attack while doing an individual assessment. I pretty much failed it, but I have no idea if he knew what was happening. A few weeks ago I had a complete breakdown and had to e-mail my professors that I wasn’t going to be in class because I had to go home and get help. One of those professors was so concerned that they contacted campus security and had them go check on me. The next time that professor saw me I was back in their class and was struggling to not break down because I had come back too soon. I had to go tell another professor I couldn’t participate in class because I already had 7 panic attacks during the day and I couldn’t get up in front of people. It was 10:30 a.m that day. The total of panic attacks for the rest of the day was in the double digits. I had to tell my professors what happened, but I left out a few details because some of them don’t deserve to hear everything I feel. No one deserves to have to listen to everything of that situation.
None the less, my dear professors, you also have no idea what some of your actions mean to me. When you agree with something I say in class, it raises my confidence so I can try it again. When you let me take a break in class, it means the world to me that you don’t think I’m just overreacting. When you use something I wrote as an assignment as an example in class, I can feel my confidence raise up a few percents because I know I did something right for once. When you ask me how I’m doing, it shows to me that you actually genuinely care, because you didn’t have to stay late and talk to me, you could’ve gone back to your office or could have gone home. You also have no idea what it means when I know that you notice the scars, or the deep circles, or the panic or misery in my eyes, and you continue on without pity for me. That means the most.
So, thank you. Thank you for being there and thank you for not making it a big deal. But sometimes I can’t always come to class and sometimes my assignments might be a day late, and I’m sorry. I’m trying my best I really am. But sometimes my best is just waking up in the morning, and that’s okay. Thank you for being people I can talk to.