Secondary School is a place where people start to establish their identity and forge some sort of path for them to follow. This is a period that requires individuals to oversee a number of both physical and emotional changes which form the process of transitioning between being a child and a young adult.
Unless you are conducting the social parameters that make up your year group, there is every chance you are going to experience isolation, anxiety and even depression as the world starts to open up and people start to show their true colours. Any neurotypical person is going to find the ordeal of Secondary School highly daunting let alone anyone with persistent mental health problems.
My time in Secondary education was a period of severe unrest and turmoil as I struggled to adapt to the demands that come with living through your teenage years. My personality traits and inability to communicate with anyone in a socially accepted manner was the route cause of bullying and ridicule on a daily basis.
Here, I have identified the key problems I had when I was at Secondary School and why they had such a negative impact on my well-being.
Talking in any kind of capacity was immensely difficult throughout the entirety of my time spent at Secondary School. I was locked within my own body and had no power to voice my opinion or answer back to people that found my predicament amusing. This made me an easy target since anyone who doesn’t answer back is essentially a free punch bag for anyone to unleash their anger and hateful demeanour onto another person.
The problem was that being able to speak was the instant cure to all my problems but no matter how hard I tried there was just no way for me to overcome the tidal wave of austerity that had been placed on my shoulders. My problems had essentially handed me a character profile that was incredibly synonymous with me that it became almost impossible to break free from its tiresome shackles.
I dreaded every single second at School and could not wait for each day to end. My biggest flaw was always looking for the good in people and trying to rationalize their behaviour. I felt like I was being vilified for something that I struggled with all the time and wasn’t given any kind of empathy from teachers or students. People seem to enjoy the fact some individuals are different and like to take it upon themselves to use them as a piece of entertainment to gain social credibility and assert their personality in front of others.
It never felt like I was meant to be there and this was always reflected with my incredibly rigid movements. I knew that if I did express myself then my languid style of walking would be ridiculed and cause me to recline even further whilst around other people. I would do everything in my power to not gain attention from anyone and to almost blend into the background as if I wasn’t there.
There was so much negative energy that was being used to walk around or even complete simple tasks like opening a book. Everything felt like such as huge undertaking which all added up to make each day a series of problems that led to further unrest and anxiety. This also created a surge of paranoia as it always felt like the world was poised to make judgements over the way I behaved in public.
Its common for anyone with Asperger syndrome to feel like they are from another planet and this is certainly prevalent for me at Secondary School. It felt like I was there to observe the world without the means to actually participate myself.
Everything seemed to be so confusing from the way people communicated to the mannerisms that were used to create unique personas for everyone. For me, it felt like School should be used to consume new and develop existing knowledge. Not indulging into social activities that place no bearing on your capacity to learn and improve your ability to undertake each subject.
Everything leads to the treacherous commodity of anxiety. This is something I had to battle every single day and often to very little avail. It’s almost impossible to navigate your way through the perils of social interaction and also concentrate long enough to fully maximise your ability to learn and study whilst at School.
I didn’t speak up soon enough which was probably down to the fact I deemed anxiety issues to be some sort of weakness and something to be ashamed of. Being in an all boy School didn’t really help the situation either since I still feel there is a perception that men should always be domineering and ruthless with issues. Its important to be honest about your problems like comedian Jason Manford who has recently opened up about his struggles with anxiety and depression.
All my anxiety and depression meant I was cut off from the people that were there to help me. I was always inclined to lock myself away in my room and pretend that the world doesn’t exist. This is still a trait I regrettably use to the present day and causes nothing but increased paranoia and broken-down relationships with friends and family.
Ultimately, Secondary School was an awful experience for me and something I still feel like I’m getting over all these years later. My issues became incredibly intense during year 10 which meant I had to drop out and finish my studies through home schooling.
I did not have a diagnosis for Asperger syndrome during my time at secondary school which meant all my issues were put down to being a shy and withdrawn individual.
If you have any thoughts that you or someone you know may have Asperger syndrome then seek out an assessment immediately. Having clarity over the way individuals act is going to make people understand and hopefully provide more appropriate support.
Hopefully you can relate to some of the issues discussed and realise that any problems you have are likely to be part of other people’s lives. Feel free to get in contact with me about any of your stories and how they have a impacted your life.