Wherever I go in life I never feel like I fit in.
I’ve always been a bit different. Ever since I started primary school I felt out of place. During break and lunch I was equally happy to play on my own as with others. In fact I would often go off on my own if a game wasn’t interesting to me. I think I probably came across as a bit of an outsider. I think other kids would think my games silly or not want to play them. I was always off in my little fantasy world, dreaming about flying and winged horses, unicorns and magic. To me this was totally natural. I was never interested in sporty games which I guess would isolate me a bit from some of the others.
I never struggled in school either. I don’t think it was really until middle and high school that the other kids would start to tease about being a teacher’s pet. I never intended to be a teacher’s pet. I don’t think I ever really was one, it’s just that the others would see me as a bit of a know-it-all/goody-two-shoes. I didn’t mean to be like this, I didn’t set out consciously to irritate other kids. I could be a bossy kid which always gets on other’s nerves. I liked to help other people with work, but I think I’d go a bit overboard. If we ever worked in groups I liked to be the leader!
Two of the main reasons I’d get picked on were for being religious (went to church every Sunday with my family) and I was a bit podgy- not fat, not then. Just a little overweight. I still remember how horrible it felt at playschool, when all the other kids were dressing up and I was the only girl who couldn’t fit into the pretty ballerina tutu. I wanted so much to be the fairy!
I guess, when I was a kid, I would have wanted to be popular and for everybody to like me. I wanted to be pretty, wear fashionable clothes, have fashionable toys that everybody wanted to play with. I wanted long, blonde hair that I could wear in long braids (I had a stupid boys hair cut that my mum made me have- I hated it). I wanted beautiful dresses! I just wanted to be liked by everyone! I didn’t want other people to talk about me meanly behind my back- who does? I didn’t want people to pretend to be nice to me.
Another difference was my anxiety and sensitivity. I found teachers fairly terrifying! I hated displeasing anybody, but the punishments were what I feared the most. Even something like being told off in front of others was a trauma-inducing thought! School really scared me. I would often have “stomachaches” or “earaches” and Mum would let me stay home. I never realised when I was a kid that I suffered with anxiety, but now it is obvious to me that I did. I dreaded going to school: fear of other kids mean-ness during breaks and the teachers’ anger during work time was enough to stop me sleeping. Summer Moon from My Bipolar Bubble has written a great post on Separation Anxiety and Bipolar in Kids which really resonated with me.
Do I think I had Bipolar symptoms back then? I don’t know. I definitely had separation anxiety though and anxiety about school. I’d be upset more easily than others and hurt by comments or criticism.. I cried quite a bit!
At high school I started to learn that it was a bad thing to know the answers or to be good at music or art. It made me different. Was I arrogant about it? Was I boastful? I don’t know? Maybe I was, though it was unintentional. I soon learned to keep quiet.
I loved dancing, but dancing is what all the popular girls did and I never fit in with them. So that made me not like dancing so much- well not the social group anyway. I used to dance at home a lot, to all sorts of music, often classical (this was during ages 11+). I definitely got the feeling others thought I was weird for liking classical music. I tried not to hide it, just because I loved it so much. I was passionate about it- certain pieces of music would move me to tears, even at the age of 11. I didn’t want to hide something I loved so much. I wanted to listen to classical music all the live-long day! And watch ballets- I loved watching ballets. I’d dance around the living room pretending to be different characters in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. I would enter a whole new world. It was magical and helped me to love life, despite hating school. There was always ballet and music- I’ve never lost my passion for them. I’m still convinced I was a dancer in a former life!
The First Bipolar Signs
I think my first Bipolar symptoms cropped up in high school. I remember getting very hyper and talking a-mile-a-minute. I’d get loud, precocious, silly, really giggly and hysterically laugh. I’d find it hard to calm down. Other times I couldn’t stop crying, usually when I was at home alone in my room. I’d sob silently, about nothing in particular sometimes, other times because I felt very alone and helpless. Sometimes I thought to feel despairing and terrified was normal, well it had pretty much always been normal for me. Other times I thought I was a freak. I always thought that maybe I’d be happier if I just fit in better with the others, then I wouldn’t get teased. I thought that there was something “wrong” with me for liking the things I did, for not being someone who people liked. I felt defective and this feeling I still carry with me today. I can tell myself I’m perfectly normal until I’m blue in the face, but the feeling of being defective remains constant. Maybe it’s starting to lessen a bit. Other times I feel like I was born on the wrong planet!
Even now I don’t fit in with “regular” folks my age. I used to wish I liked the fashionable music and clothes, and liked clubbing and drinking and having a huge group of friends, just so I could fit in. But I’ve tried so desperately hard to like these things and fit in with “popular” people that it’s made me utterly miserable. Why do I desperately seek the approval of others? It seems so silly sometimes. I want to love life, not hate it by being someone I’m not, just to fit in. So I’m going to learn to love my differences and to shout about them, rather than hiding behind a rock the whole time.
Check out Separation Anxiety & Bipolar in Kids by Summer Moon on My Bipolar Bubble.