Elementary School Blues

I am just going to come right out and say it, school sucked. It was so long, there were too many people, and I never understood a single thing that was going on around me. Teachers and my parents would grow so frustrated with me, they just didn’t get it…why couldn’t I just sit and process the information that was being thrown at me from every possible angle.

“You can be better.”

“You are such a bright young girl if you would just apply yourself.”

“Why are you having such a hard time getting this?”

These are things I heard from the very first moment I moseyed my way into school. It sucked. School sucked. Teachers sucked. Parents sucked. Everything was too loud, everything was moving too fast, and I was always the student left behind.

Bad grades, tension with my parents, teacher complaints, and principal office visits followed me throughout grade school. Nobody listened when I told them to slow down, nobody listened when I said I couldn’t understand them, but everybody listened when I just stopped caring. At the ripe old age of 9 I was officially done and officially tired.

Now this might sound like the melodramatic tale of a little girl who just didn’t like school. But no, it was more than that and nobody seemed interested enough to pursue why. I tried and I tried and I tried but it was just so hard. Many words were thrown around, an A.D.D. here and an A.D.H.D. there but nothing ever quite stuck.

Bad grades, tension with my parents, teacher complaints, and principal offices visits continued on a more frequent basis and with that came detentions and suspensions. I was shy, awkward, depressed and 16 and everything was too much. School was too much. So, I figured the easiest solution was to just not go anymore. I would get ready for school in the mornings and hop on a bus and go downtown with a group of friends and erase the “Your Child has missed so and so class” messages before my parents had chance to hear. I thought I was a genius. This continued on for a month until the big call came.

Expulsion. Was the word of the day. So, I was shy, awkward, depressed, 16 and officially kicked out of school. It wasn’t for long, less than a week later I was put into a new school, a smaller school, a school with friendly teachers, a school with a room to relax in, a school where people seemed to care. I had to talk to a psychologist through the school and was given many a test to see exactly what was going wrong. One test was all it really took to find out I had a learning disability and a fairly rare one at that.

CAPD: Central Auditory Processing Disorder. The signs? Difficulty hearing in noisier environments (classrooms), difficulty with reading and language comprehension, extreme difficulty remembering spoken information, trouble distinguishing speech sounds. Finally, someone understood. There was finally a proper name for something I had been struggling to put into words since my first day of Kindergarten. I felt lighter. I felt happier. I felt like there was finally something I could work on and try to fight against.

I am so thankful for that school psychologist at this tiny little alternative high school. She helped me finally understand that there was nothing wrong with me, that there were solutions to the problem, that I wasn’t stupid. I am so grateful for her and the steps that school took to help me out and somewhat succeed in a school setting.

So, if your child is struggling. Please listen. Please don’t wait 11 years of tears and late nights trying to figure out what is wrong.

How was school for you?

 


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Links:

CAPD signs and symptoms

Through your child’s eyes

 

 

 

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Little Black Cat

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So, lets just start this blog entry with a disclaimer, no this is not me finally coming to terms with the fact that 10 years from now I will be that cat lady who lives next door to you. This is simply just a sweet little ditty about how my kitten helped me get help with my depression.

Let’s set the scene, it’s late August, my work had just recently had unexpected mass layoffs and I was just a sad little blanket burrito that hadn’t moved in days. I felt hopeless and sad, like my life plans were falling around me, like even though I hadn’t even turned 23 my future was a dark cloud of uncertainty and doubt. I know, I know I’m sure everyone feels this way in their early twenties…like they can’t possibly cope with everything that’s going on around them and nothing will make sense ever. But I felt awful, crying breaks with early morning tea, sweat pants for days on end, mid afternoon depression naps that I never wanted to wake from. I’m going to try and cut the worst of it out because my goal is not to be a Debbie Downer but to bring light to the fact that a little jet black kitten made things a little bit easier.

So lets bring it back, it’s late August, my work had just recently had unexpected mass layoffs and I finally decided to emerge from ‘Sad Blanket Burrito’ at the insistence of my closest friend. She was moving, she needed help, she had two little black kittens, and could only bring one to her new apartment. Because I am a hero (Spiderman is in awe of my heroics) I take this little kitten home.

Now, I haven’t been around a kitten since my cat I’ve had since I was 9 was one and I forgot that they are disastrous little monsters who climb up curtains and meow for fun at 4 am. I forgot that that now it’s not always going to like those cute cat videos, little cute snapshots that depict a perfect angel. unnamed-1

To be completely honesty I don’t think I was the right person for the job at first, little crying jags and wanting to be asleep forever were still a constant but I was lonely and sad and wanted something cute to love me unconditionally. But it started getting a little bit easier, a day, an hour, a minute at a time. I started going to be bed at normal hours instead of binge watching YouTube videos for hours on end but just so my cat didn’t wake me up at a godawful time because she wanted to have a meowing contest with herself. Soon came the switch from constant comfy too big sweatpants to actual jeans so I could properly play with her without my pants falling around my ankles every few minutes. Soon came the absence of fear and panic of going out in public so I could take her to the vet. Soon came the me finally calling up my doctor and admitting something was wrong. Soon came the small bubbling of “hey it might actually be okay in the long run.”

Now I can never ever say I’m always going to be happy, I can’t say that my depression won’t come back again like it did when I was 14, 17, and 22, but I can say that my little pain-in-the-ass black cat did let me see that not everything is horrible and there is a reason to wake up in the morning.


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Links:

6 Ways Pets Relieve Depression

The Thoughts Room

 

1+1=7

I’m just going to come straight out and say it, growing up with a huge family is odd: The learning the different ways to hide the food you want to save for later (only to find the wrapper thrown about, a horrible crime scene), the hand-me-downs from 1997, the constant barrage of people coming in and out of your room.

It’s a lot.

I am Bronte and I am the 2nd oldest of 7 children, and not just 7 children, I am the 2nd born girl in a family filled to the brim with 5 boys.

It wasn’t always like this. I was born in the somewhat kind of small town of Peterborough, I had one older half sister and that was it. I can’t say for sure what it was like because brothers kept appearing after that like stinky little dandelions, but I can assume it was quiet.  Then came along Sebastian, exactly 18 months after the light of my parent’s life (aka me) was brought into this world.

Image may contain: 4 peopleFor a long, long, long time it was just me, my sister, and my not so little brother. It was a normal childhood full of fond memories, travelling back and forth from Toronto to Ottawa, and probably a few fights scattered in. But then came along Max, and then came along Noah, and then came along Oliver, and then finally came along Levi. And that was it, our hockey team was finally made, my parents dream finally came into fruition. I always knew growing up, that long gap between Max and Sebastian, my parents wanted a huge family, but I don’t think I was ever fully prepared for how different it is going to from 2 kids fighting over tickle-me-Elmo to 7 people fighting over what to watch on TV.

Being the 2nd oldest by many a year, I was obviously expected to help: to get my little brothers to and from school, to cut up sandwiches, to teach, to stand up to anyone giving them a hard time, to watch over them, to see them grow into distinct people with likes and dislikes and loves and hates.

And as weird as it is to see the mask of shock on someone’s face when they find out how many of us are running around, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

 

 

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Benefits of Growing Up in a Large Family

Awkward Family Photos 

Are you there Social Media? It’s me Bronte

Ah, middle school. I recall my super curly, super frizzy hair that was never able to stay in place like that pretty nice girl with swish-y, shiny hair and my awkward turtle necks well into the late 2000’s (I was obviously very in-fashion, very vogue). School wasn’t the happiest of places, to tell you the truth. Being the shy girl with approximately 3 friends, a learning disability and an, at the time, not diagnosed anxiety disorder- school was a nightmare. But Facebook came along and thus came my introduction to social media.

Dana was her name, one of my 3 friends mentioned above (also in my opinion the coolest of us all). It was sleepover night after watching and being scarred by the very classy horror movie ‘Hostel’ and playing with a homemade Ouija board Dana wanted to show us something really cool. “I promise guys, my brother uses this website all the time…you can talk to everyone from school.”

So Dana took pity on us little people and helped us setup our own Facebook. At the time that was when you had to be in University in order to have an account so 12 year old Bronte was now Bronte, a Carlton U student studying Journalism.

Now I’m going to skip ahead a few extremely embarrassing years that included Livejournals about my favourite band at the time, My Chemical Romance. To another equally embarrassing but much more important time in my life when I had a whole Tumblr blog dedicated to the hit show, Supernatural.

Now when I was a wee child (teen) I thought Supernatural was the most important thing to ever exist, and I expressed that glee or sometimes sorrow that the show produced through my various social media accounts. Social Media through the show Supernatural was an odd thing. I saw many things I probably shouldn’t have and said many things that I once again probably shouldn’t have but I was also introduced to some of the best people I’ve ever known that helped me become a happier, more extroverted, more adventurous person.

Being able to communicate on my terms, with people who shared similar interests, people who also struggled with mental health issues- was eyeopening. It changed the way I viewed social interactions, it changed the way I viewed the world. I grew up.

I grew up with these people online, people from France, people from California, people from England, people from every single corner of the world, people with every possible background.

Now jump ahead to 2013, Supernatural was out and Teen Wolf (I know I am super cool) was in but the same group of friends remained. And in November 2013 I flew for the very first time from Ottawa, Ontario to Los Angeles, California and finally came face to face with the people who helped me grow.

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That’s me on the floor, all wrapped up like a burrito with the heavy black bangs.

Now I know not everyone will agree that it was okay for a fresh 20 year old to fly to another country for the first time. But my parents got it, they understood, they knew that these were the people who were there for me, they understood that social media is a viable place to meet new, good, interesting people. And I am forever grateful for that.

Now I must ask you, what was your very first memorable interaction with social media? I had social media here and there as kid but Facebook was the gateway.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/social-media

http://supernatural.wikia.com/wiki/Supernatural_Wiki