Yesterday was a great day: I felt positive, happy, did work (understood my psychology and history) and I was held up by the thought that for the whole day, I’d felt alive and like I was in control. Recently – and by that I mean for the past few months – I’ve steadily been feeling less connected with my emotions; numb, if you will; growing slowly more unfeeling and scared because of it. Yesterday was a change from that.
Today started off the same – a bit dulled – but it was still alright. I had great conversations with Swan, felt passionate about Othello and English and laughed in Psychology with the new, casual friends I’ve made.
That shattered, at lunch, for one reason: French.
“I fucking hate it.” “God, I wish I’d done Philosophy, or Politics instead.” “If I could go back and change my options, I honestly would – I know loads of people say that but I mean this.” “I’m not passionate about it any more.” “I can’t do it – I just can’t – I want to cry whenever I think about it.” “I love the concept of it – languages are amazing – but studying it sucks the energy out of me and I hate myself for it.” These are all things I’ve been saying about the subject, with more and more insistance, increasing in frequency after the soul-destroying disaster that was my mock.
Today I broke down over it – it was like the final straw. I do Peer Mentoring for this lovely girl a few years younger than me, but I couldn’t do it this lunch. It was partly because I felt shit, but also because I’m tired, confused, and I feel ill, but that’s a whole other story. I hope that she’s okay; I feel rubbish for not talking to her because she might have needed my help nd.
I went to the VI unit – building for visually impaired people where they prepare our work – told the teacher who helps me find my Mentee’s form room that I just couldn’t do it because of stress, and then opened up to her about the french problem. They all knew I was stressed, that I disliked french, but today was the day I truly told them how I felt. After that teacher left, I explained how awful I felt to the teacher who prepares my French work, and one of the other teachers there. Then, I cried through my words, just feeling guilty and hollow.
Essentially, I don’t think I can carry on with French, even to the AS exam. Every time I think about that subject, I panic, cry and don’t do the work. Not doing the work makes me panic so much that I then can’t do it, but there are other reasons.
In French, we study a film. I’m blind, and can’t see enough at all to, well, read the subtitles. The film’s in French, English but also Spanish (which I have no idea how to speak apart from some simple phrases). It would be bad enough if I just didn’t understand what was going on scenery-wise, but not only did my dad have to try and explain what was going on with that as well, he had to translate a few key passages using the subtitles. Plenty of VI people have done french and other languages for A-Level, but I’m just bad, and my mental health was low anyway. That sounds like some fucking stupid excuse.
How do I explain this? Right, so imagine you’re blindfolded and you have to listen to something. It’s in a foreign language, a few English words scattered here and there but mostly in a different language. You watch it with your dad and you think “Okay, I think I get the plot?” You watch it with your class and a funny scene comes up; they laugh, and it takes you 10 minutes to get the context of the joke, understand it, and then understand why it’s relevant. The teacher tells you, “Here are some filming techniques!” Oh great, you think, but what does that mean? Why? You find out the plot, have to learn it and then someone in your class says, “Remember when the main character did that?” Did what, and when was that, and when was the significance of that, and oh god oh god oh god!
When I write about this film, I write what people tell me to write. Either because I’m incapable or because of partly the blindness, coming up with good points based on scenery, characters or anything like that is a struggle. I just don’t understand it, and writing, reading, listening or anything has turned into a chore, something I dread, and it ultimately makes me hate myself because I convince myself I’m some sort of failure.
It’s not only that: the workload is awful. I do three other essay subjects, and they’ve all been affected because French takes up my time, and I always stress I’m just not doing enough. This year has been the worst, academically and personally, for me; my enthusiasm has gone, my mental health is unpleasant, I feel like crap all the time and I can’t seem to shake a feeling of worthlessness. I only wish I’d caught this at the start of the year but at the start of the year, I was much happier.
My friend Laurel, who sits next to me in French, found me after class today as it was the end of the day. She’s also thinking of dropping it, and we walked down the corridor, as I was trying to explain an abbreviated version of how I felt. The wind, as we walked outside, threw my hair around and we stood facing each other, she patting my arm as we said goodbye because she could hear the deadness in my voice.
The thought of going to french lessons makes me feel sick. When I come out the classroom, usually I’m upset, or dead inside – as I am right now, numbed to it. I got so stressed about the speaking exam and how I hadn’t prepared for the practice one that I bent my fingers back, twisting my wrists and gasping for air, trying to tell myself I was fine, that I was just being pathetic.
I can’t do it any more, and I’m gripped with this awful desperation. If I continue with this, I’ll break down, cry even more than I have, and I’m just scared of slipping even further down the crap health ladder. Then again, am I making this out to be worse than it is? If I drop it, will everyone hate me?
I’m speaking to a more senior staff member tomorrow, because I’m too nervous of talking to the french teachers. They’re amazing people and I adore them, but if I explain it to them, they’ll try and convince me to stay. They’ll give great arguments, or say, “Just stick it out to your exam!” I genuinely don’t know if I can do that, but if I told them, they’d convince me I could and then I’d get even worse, because I’d have to prove something.
Pros of dropping French:
I’ll be happier
There’ll be less stress
I can concentrate on the subjects I want to carry on with
I’ll have more time for myself
I may hate myself less
Cons of dropping French:
My french teachers and otherteachers will be disappointed in me
It looks like I’m giving up after having not tried it
I’ll lose credability for not carrying it through to the end
I may regret the decision
My friends and everyone else could think I’m a failure
I do enjoy the idea of French
As I sit in my bedroom, hands shaking and feeling cold all over, I ask myself this question: is it worth feeling this miserable, panicking constantly and worrying, for something that won’t affect your future much after you do it? Is it all really worth it if everything else is being brought down by it? Is it too late? I don’t know. I don’t think it is, and that’s terrifying.
From Elm 🙂