Controlled crazy is being able to restrain from banging your head against the back of the BART seat even though that’s what every inch of your skull is begging you to do. It is humming quietly instead of screaming, the vibrating feeling in your throat can almost produce the same release. It’s when you pretend the tic that got past your sane-guard, a slashing motion under your left jaw, was just a weird way of scratching. Being controlled somedays takes a lot of physical and mental effort.
Yesterday on my way home I listened to an episode of Hearing Voices called “Dear Diary.” One of the segments was from the Radio Diaries’ program about teens - this particular one was about a teenager, Nick who was having trouble making friends and learning and just hated going to school so in 8th grade his parents allowed him to be home schooled.
I want to make a quick aside here: there is a gap between reading a story and watching a story, and that’s where radio exists. Some stories benefit from written words, some benifit from visual depictions, and then there are stories that gain meaning and depth through hearing the person tell their story with no distractions, as if they were talking to you. And I think that of all these mediums, radio is the most honest. So anyway, to get the full impact of Nick’s story you should listen to him tell it.
So home schooling helped for a while but then„
Nick: I spend too much time moping and just…. yech. I don’t know. It’s hard just to feel good and do lots of things these days. It’s hard to work, it’s hard to learn, it’s hard to practice, it’s hard to do anything. There’s one more thing I want to talk about. Um, today, my mom arranged an appointment for me with a doctor to talk about depression, and I think that we’ve waited too long to do this, personally. I just need to cheer up. Thanks for listening. Bye.
I could relate to him, especially “we’ve waited too long to do this, personally.” I still feel that way, like what wasn’t this diagnosed and addressed earlier? Why have my doctors and I spent so much time doing nothing and no improvement? The story continued, Nick went back to school. He talked to his brother,
Nick: I’m just, I don’t have a real identity now. And like during lunch, like, every person I go to, I’m kind of frightened, because they have everything figured out for themselves. And I don’t have the skills like you do of getting people to be friends with. You know what I’m saying?
Brother: Can I tell you something? I mean, I don’t know if you know this. Basically, everyone I hang out with, you know my age, like 19,20. And uh, every girl has been absolutely knocked out by you, you know? You heard Laura said, oh, Nick if you were only like 4 years older and stuff. I mean, you’re tall, you’re sexy, you got that cute hair and those intense eyes. But you’re also so musical, and sort of sensitive, and honest. I think you’re kind of like a time bomb, you know? Or maybe you’re like one of those infectious diseases, you know, its like you’re in the dormant stage right now.
Well, bully for you.
Nick: A couple of weeks ago I went to a party. The thing that was really cool is, at this party, I kissed someone for the first time. She was drunk, but um, basically, when she was talking with me, all of a sudden, she just kissed me on the cheek and it was hilarious. She kissed me on the cheek and then I kissed her on the cheek, and then we just both kissed each other. It was really cool.
At that point I stopped listening. This story was wrapped up in one year and ended in success. Nicks resumed his life, well adjusted, and I guess I’m jealous. Truth be told, I’m jealous of the narratives that end tragically, as well. It gets in the way of sharing experiences with other kids dealing with mental health issues, I can’t stop comparing myself to them and getting down on myself either way. Isolating. Triggered. Pathetic.