I had my first school-related breakdown of the year today, 4 months before I’d expect myself to have a reason to. Though I’m calmer now (though still rather upset), I want to talk about it in typical Elm fashion.
Before I walk you through my (admittedly boring for you but not for me) day, I’ll give you a quick braille computer lesson. It’s relevant… I promise.
I got a “computer” when I was 9, and we’ll call it the Apex because that’s what it’s called and I can’t be bothered to come up with another name. This computer’s not got a screen, but 6 braille keys, a braille display and various other buttons. So basically, I used it for typing, classwork, some internet, email, blah blah blah.
Over the summer I got a NEW computer, called a Touch. I don’t know how to explain this without you going “Wait what that’s not even special,” but it has a screen. And a braille display. So you can type on braille on the screen and I just LOVE IT, because now my teachers can see what I’m writing and I can actually type posts without having to connect the Apex to my phone. Also, when I type, people don’t get pissed off with me when I type too violently because the Touch has a Touchscreen (eyyy get it).
Except this morning, before school, it decided to totally freeze. Because I woke up in a positive mood, I didn’t immediately freak out. I restarted it, went to school, and that’s where the fun starts.
In my school, and yes I KNOW this gives away a part of my anonymity, we have a unit for blind people. We go to regular lessons but the people in the unit are there to prepare our work and give us support. I went in to ask for help, restarted it I think 7 times and steadily got more and more terrified. Did anything work? No. It just sat there, frozen, even when I shrieked at it to “JUST WORK!”
I had to take the Apex to lessons. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great machine, but I just… I was used to working with the other one for my A-Levels, and it had all of my files. I got stressed, couldn’t concentrate much, and had to go to the unit to get my English texts again. There was me, walking through the school and getting progressively more panicky.
Break was spent in the unit (because I’m a loner and couldn’t find my friends, except when Wren came and got me). They told me, again, to come in at lunch, and to “not stress, Elm!” Easier said than done, but at least two of the teachers in there know me so well that they can say that before I even START to panic.
Before lunch, I had Psychology: in that lesson, I sat next to one of the “popular” girls who I was nervous of, and another girl called Lily. Lily’s really lovely, and I’ve always had a great respect for her, but the “popular” girl surprised me in that she made an effort to talk to me. It just shows what an effect me being more confident and willing to talk to people has, and what consequences that can have. I think people are starting to see who I am, or at least my perceptions of what they think towards me are changing.
Then, lunch happened, which dragged my mood down into minus numbers. I got to the unit, heart beating fast because I was so scared something would go wrong.
It turns out that there’s a problem with the Touch, which they’re sorting out (it’s only happened to one other person before). Oh, and it means that unless they can recover them, all of my files have been lost.
The Touch is knew, and is about the best thing to happen to me in terms of school technology because it’s a shitload easier. This isn’t going to make me hate it, or disown it or anything (it’s not my child WOW) because I know that in the long run, it does more for me and makes me feel less overwhelmed.
My brain interpreted it as this: All of the work I’ve done over the past few days, including homework, all my notes, the extra little things the teachers told us that WEREN’T in the powerpoints – gone. My summer work, which I spent so long on and put loads of effort into? Gone. I have no idea if they can get it back or not, but I’m hoping so; all of it might not be able to be recovered, but it’s something.
Of course, at that point, I didn’t see the positives. I started crying, completely breaking down, and my heart felt like it was about to implode. Even though it’s only 4 days of work, for A-Level, that’s a lot. The thought of re-doing it sent me into horrified sobbing, and it may seem like an overreaction, but I felt – and still feel – absolutely terrible. After the worst of the tears passed, I started to feel numb, but whenever I thought about all that work that was gone and all that I had to catch up on, I got that terrified feeling again.
I have to do so much at the moment. Teachers set me homework, and I’ve completed about 4 pieces, but the ones I haven’t done were saved on my Touch and I don’t know and can’t remember which tasks have been set and when they’re due. The teacher in the unit who knows me best emailed my class teachers about it, explaining that I was pretty much distraught about the whole thing (at the time I was still in tears, so it’s no surprise why she put that). My french teacher was understanding, but tomorrow, I have other teachers who may not be as lovely.
A new friend I made, who’s in my French class, helped me a lot. She doesn’t quite know how I work, or understand all of the little things I can’t do and when I need help, but she was willing to aid me and I haven’t thanked her properly yet.
Remembering exactly how I felt after I realised that the work I’d put so much of my time into was potentially lost makes me feel ill. It was just miserable, and then the awful thoughts kicked in: that I should have expected it, that now I wouldn’t get free time until it was sorted, that I should have backed up my files. Then again, it’s early in the year and I thought it would be alright to wait for a bit until I had a bit more work done. Stupid, I know, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.
It all seems so trivial, right? With everything else happening to different people, a few lost files shouldn’t be an issue. To me, it is; I’ve been trying and trying to keep this positive attitude, and I succeeded until now.
When I learn, I need to have a mindset that isn’t negative. If I don’t want to freak out, I have to have ways of coping: thinking what I’ll do next, which homework I want to complete, why I’m looking forward to a lesson and what new things I learned. Today, I felt none of those things; I just felt a blankness that quickly transformed into worry and then panic.
Hopefully, everything will be okay. I’ll end up smiling about this, because it was just a momentary blip. At the moment, though, it doesn’t feel like that and that’s what’s important: it feels all too raw and real now for me to think of it as a “little thing”, even though it is. Remember – everyone’s worries are valid to THEM.
I’ll try and rekindle my attitude for tomorrow, despite the fact that I’ve done very little homework. As my teacher said to me, I just relaxed and tried not to burst into tears again.
When I got out of the unit, Pine found me. From the minute she saw me, she knew I’d been crying – she knows all of my expressions – and she took me to the side and talked it through. I don’t know what I’d do without her, because she’s always helped me.
I’m feeling okay. Stressed – though my teacher said I wouldn’t have to catch up EVERYTHING – and scared that I won’t be able to manage this – but otherwise I’m bearing it. It’s only a small thing, after all.
From Elm 🙂