“…What if this really is as good as it gets? What if no matter how much I don’t want to be sad and I don’t want to be angry…I always will be? What if I have to spend the rest of my life pretending…when all I really want to do is scream and cry and kick until I can’t anymore? What if no matter what it will always be like this? What if I feel this numbing emptiness for the rest of my life?” This is a quote straight out of one of my journal entries from last year.
When we received this topic to write a speech, I wanted to write about something that really mattered, something that meant something to me. I played around with different topics. I even wrote a whole speech, but it didn’t mean anything to me. It wasn’t important. What is important to me is this. I believe that people have the capacity to change. I believe that people are often judged unfairly. I wrote this speech not for the grade, not for pity, I wrote it for understanding. If I could change anything in the whole world, it wouldn’t be an eco-friendly change or a ground-breaking discovery. If I could change anything, I would change how people perceive me.
Ever since the seventh grade, I had slowly spiraled down. Last year I finally hit rock bottom and once I did, I grabbed a shovel and kept digging. I was angry, sad, and uncomfortable in my own skin. But most of all I was empty. I had nothing inside me, just a vast blankness. Something inside me had shifted. I wasn’t the same. I didn’t know what it was or how it had happened but it did. Deep down, there was the old me, trapped and clawing to come out, but the old me wasn’t strong enough. I was no long Nickie Hancock, I was a monster. I didn’t know how to help myself, my friends didn’t know how to help, and sadly enough even my family was at a loss. This shift came over me like a sudden wave, it knocked me off my feet, and forced me, suffocated me, drowned me, until I was practically dead.
High school is supposed to be fun. “You’ll love it!” is what everyone said. I entered my freshman year with that in mind, and for the most part I had a pretty good time, but I struggle with change, a lot (more than I’d like to admit actually). I become unraveled and irrational when change takes place in my life. For instance, for my entire life, I’ve had a dinky white mailbox at the end of my driveway, one day about two months ago I was walking home from school and found that no longer was our white mailbox standing, there was an ugly forest green plastic mailbox sitting at the foot of my driveway. I immediately got on the phone, I called my dad, made him get out of a meeting and said “I’m standing at the bottom of what I thought was our driveway, but our mailbox is not there. There is a horrible plastic green thing that people use as an excuse for a mailbox, but it is not ours, what do I do?” My father then informed me that yes, I was at the end of my driveway, and he had simply put up a new mailbox. And that it was safe to go up the driveway and into the house. Unfortunately, I did not feel the same way. It was impossible for me to understand why after seventeen years of a perfectly good white mailbox, this green replacement could sit on the side of our driveway like everything was normal. To this day I refuse to get the mail when I get home from school.
High school was a big change for me, and I didn’t necessarily realize how much had changed. I didn’t realize that I had changed. When sophomore year rolled around, things got sticky. I went to class and at first tried my best to take notes, do my homework, and study for tests, but I found that I seemed to be missing out on a key part of learning, the key being I wasn’t retaining any of the information. It’s like when you miss a couple days of school when you’re out sick and you come back and you’re completely lost in what’s going on in class. Every day was like that for me. School had never been this hard. It wasn’t just classes that had changed for me, things had changed socially. I no longer seemed to connect with certain friends that I had. They no longer cared. At first, it bothered me a lot, I felt like I had no one. I made different friends, friends who were very different from my old friends. I never forgot about the fun times, and the secrets we shared, but I moved on. However, things seemed to keep getting worse. There was a war going on inside my head. It was literally like two different versions of me were fighting for power. The old Nickie, and Monster Nickie. Last year, Monster Nickie won.
My parents thought that maybe what I was going through would pass, I’d always been a strange child, maybe it was a phase. This is until this “phase” turned from mildly annoyed, to violently angry, and then to nothingness. That’s when my parents brought me to a therapist. I spent a great deal of last year in therapy. Therapy saved my life. My parents didn’t know what to do so they took me to someone who did and for that I am eternally grateful. Last year I was diagnosed with chronic depression, ADHD, and severe anxiety. When my doctor showed me these results, at first I felt relieved, there was a name or names for what was wrong with me. But then, there was sheer panic and a complete loss on my grip of reality. I didn’t know which way was up, or which way was down. I didn’t know much of anything. All I knew was these things would not just go away, if I ignored them they would only get worse.
Things just seemed to keep getting worse in fact. One day in therapy my doctor asked me to sum myself up in just a few words. I chose one word, a word that I believe will forever haunt me. Unresponsive. Besides lashing out on people and things at random times, I appeared to have no feelings. I pushed my friends, my family, everyone away. I didn’t want to be close to anyone because the monster inside attacked without warning. My doctor was the only person I could talk to because I didn’t feel judged. I didn’t have to censor my true feelings. As time went on, I learned to deal with things in a more healthy manner. I began to feel the old Nickie rising up over Monster Nickie.
Over the summer, I shifted again, I wasn’t the old Nickie, I wasn’t Monster Nickie, I was New Nickie. I have changed so much and I feel like a lot of people have noticed. I’m not 100% better, I still work hard every day because like I said, none of these problems: my depression, my ADHD, or my anxiety will just disappear, I will carry these burdens for the rest of my life. I will never be alone because I will always have these things. I have my good days and my bad days, but I don’t regret a single day of what I went through. My journey last year taught me some important things about myself and others. I learned that I can endure a whole lot of pain and struggle, I am stronger than I may look. I have learned that my family will always be there, and I have learned who my real friends are and who they are not.
I cannot help who I am or what I have done to myself or others. But I am not that person anymore. I care about people especially my family and my friends. The only thing I wish could change is people’s perception of me being this awful, zombie-like person. I have thoughts and I have feelings. I struggle with a lot of things that some may find easy, such as school, because my brain does not function the same as everyone else’s. But I do not apologize for that, I like who I am and if people don’t accept that or don’t like it then that’s more than okay with me, but don’t judge me for things that I cannot control, I am only human, and I do the best that I can