2 weeks ago I made a post about how it is to live in a day with sickle cell, while I do not go to school at the moment, because it’s officially summer break, I feel that I should explain my experience.
As an European, it’s not the same school system as in America, we have 3 years of kindergarten then 6 years of elementary school and finally 6 years of high school, we don’t have what you call “middle school”. Anyways, I was always alone, not because I was shy or anything, I made a couple of friends and when I was sick for a couple of weeks, they forgot about me and didn’t understand why I was missing school so much. Especially young kids, they didn’t understand what was a disease and even if I tried to make them understand with my 8 year old brain, the couldn’t. So for 9 years I was alone, sometimes kids would play with me but then they wouldn’t and I got really insecure about telling people about my disease. The only times I would play was with my older sisters and sometimes my youngest sister, but they weren’t always there, so I usually spent it alone.
I was in this kind school where they would teach from kindergarten to the end of high school and once I graduated elementary school, I obviously stayed in that school. Well that was the worse decision of my life. That whole year of 2011, I was hospitalized 15 times, I wasn’t even in school for 2 months. You can imagine what the kids said: “She’s skipping school”, “Does this disease even exist?”, “She’s pretending”. I became depressed and without surprise, I failed that year, but to be honest, at that moment, I didn’t even care. I wanted to be a normal kid, without this disease, and I wanted to end it. At 13 years old, I didn’t want to live anymore. Mental illness has a big impact on our health, I was going to the hospital with pain, but the doctors never found anything alarming because my body was reacting to how I was feeling. Depression is still something I’m dealing with after 8 years, but it’s definitely not as bad at that time.
After that painful year I switched schools and my life went up from there, of course there is still some bad moments, nothing is perfect unfortunately, but I met my best friend, whose still present today, and the school was very understanding even though they had no idea what sickle cell was. When I was in the hospital, they sent me my school work and even a tutor to come help me. I will always be grateful for them, thanks to them I never failed a school year and I graduated with honors.
College was different for me, new school, my anxiety levels were so high. But I was pleasantly surprised. I lived in a dorm and to be honest I was so scared, it was the first time that I was going to be without my family who knew what to do in case I had a crisis, and my roommates were complete strangers who I KNOW didn’t have any idea what was sickle cell disease. But as I said, I was pleasantly surprised by their response, they accepted me wholeheartedly and learned how to deal with my crises.
While my dorm life was going well, my school life was going horribly. The workload was so much more than high school and I was struggling so much. The stress was getting to me and when we get stressed, we get pain. I tried to tough it out for about 2 years, but it was too much for me, so last year I made a decision.
I left college and my dorm, entered a formation center to become an interior designer, this formation center is really focused on building our own company and while the workload is still much, I only have to go to school 2 days a week, I get to stay home and rest for 5 days. I miss my friends but this is the best decision I’ve ever made.
Anyways this is all for today peeps, see you next week!