Through a blogging group, I came across this post about the author’s expectations of life after high school when she was still in school. I wrote an elaborate comment but, when I saw the author was actually writing from a prompt, I thought I’d do the same. I’ve shared some of this before, but repetition can be therapeutic, or something.
I went to my city’s grammar school. For Americans: I don’t know if such a thing exists in the U.S., but it is an academically high-level secondary school with a strong focus on ancient Greek and Roman heritage. By the time I was twelve and visiting it for the first time, I was already echoing the benefits of a grammar school to a regular high school from my parents. Not that either of my parents had attended grammar school – my paternal grandfather was the only family member I know who had. I was already echoing the fact that I’d go to university at age nine, so yeah. Not that any of my family members had a graduate degree, but well.
I was terribly ambitious for the first two years of grammar school. By my third year, I fell into something pretty close to depression and didn’t bother with my schoolwork. My fourth, fifth and sixth years were okay. As I’ve said before, I dreamt of going to university to major in American studies and go to the United States for a year (and never return, because obviously I’d easily get a Green Card…yeah, right).
Other than that I’d excel academically, I didn’t have any real expectations for college or of life on my own. I read a fictional book in my third year of grammar school about a blind man who went to college and lived on the eighteenth floor of a student accommodation. I was a wannabe fiction writer at the time and attempted my own version of the eighteenth-floor book. In it, the female main character was as depressed as I was at the time. The only difference between her and me was that she drowned her sorrows in alcohol while I used food. Student life was lonely, depressing and confusing.
And that’s exaclty how it turned out, except for the alcohol. I lived on my own for exactly three months and then I crashed. I had to be hospitalized with what was then called an adjustment disorder – an inadequate, disabling reaction to stress. Seven years later, I still reside in a psychiatric institution, now with several mental health and developmental disability diagnoses.
Sometimes, but that was mostly during late elementarys chool, the thought of institutionalization crossed my mind. I am blind and was attending a school for the visually impaired. The school psychologist recommended I become a residential student there when I was in fifth grade, and my parents fought tooth and nail to keep me home. By the time I was eleven, I knew I had to avoid instittutions like the plague. Ten years later I checked myself into one.