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Disabling Stigma: My Story Through Hell Voices 

Disabling Stigma: My Story Through Hell

My sad story begins in Montreal, the urban capital of Quebec. My childhood and kindergarten years were a blast. Frankly, the only thing I remember vividly is crying one afternoon because my mom had arrived late one day to pick me up from the daycare center; I thought she had abandoned me or sold me for a wedding ring she had been yearning for. Fast forward a few years, and high school was the next milestone in my life. It first seemed daunting, but friends made it all the better. The first three years were paradise, yet nothing could prepare me for what was coming in secondary four, despite the numerous warnings of my older peers.

Secondary four and five were the worst years of my life and threw me into a deep plummeting spiral, which I would qualify as depression. I believe it all started with my French course. Everything was well, until the exam period came along. I studied day and night for it, yet my grade was one point shy of a pass. I don’t think there is anything more heartbreaking than not achieving your dreams when you’ve put in massive amounts of work. This really discouraged me and I couldn’t see the point in doing homework if it did not yield results. I stopped sleeping and eating adequately. Everything would be done at the last minute.

In addition, my Dad would insult me for not meeting his standards. It would not matter to him whether or not the mark was an A, because he would carelessly glance at my report card, shrug his shoulders at me and find something else to berate. Our relationship had already been precarious before but the academic pressure caused the little bonds of what was left to disintegrate. I could not control my life, and he thought I was not listening to him. I’m not saying he is the one who caused my depression, but he was a big influence. In retrospect, I realize it’s only due to his difficulty to express his love through words. At one point, he encouraged me to drop out of high school and to work at a fast food joint because I was no good. At first, I said to myself that I would ignore my father, to treat him like an ignoramus. However, how can you ignore your own dad? It was pointless and slowly I started to adapt to his pessimistic vision of me.

Every day, I was in a rut thinking how if I was dead I would be better off. I would cry myself to sleep most of the time and wake up with a headache not remembering the previous night’s events. Contrary to the past three years, I became reserved because of my father’s constant roaring reprimands. I would speak, and he would scream. It did not develop a healthy relationship between us, and this translated directly into my everyday life. I would spend the lunch hour in the bathroom stalls to avoid other students. Ultimately, I dug my own grave. I needed a way to cope. Luckily, due to my conservative family, I did not turn to drugs. Instead I used something intangible, a virtual object. I played League of Legends up to four hours a day to forget about the pain. The game made me forget about my situation because all my worries vanished temporarily with a single click. It was like a drug. The moment I came home I would hop right onto it. At the same time, the work load was also getting denser, so I would go to bed past midnight each day. Slowly, the virtual world developed into an addiction. Because of this, whenever I was not on the computer, not using my drug, I would feel even more dejected. Suicide occupied my thoughts substantially as I thought it could be the way out of the pit. My death would not change anything since I am an insignificant human being on this planet of eight billion residents. People die and we forget about them, just as my family will forget about me. Indeed, my family could save money if I was not alive! Moreover, to add salt to the wound, I would tell myself that everything would be better the next day, which never happened.

I was avoiding my problems by surfing the web and this turned into a vicious cycle in which I was trapped for two years. I felt empty on the inside, not knowing what to do next. However, I was able to recover because, at long last, I spoke to a counsellor about my problems. He and I developed a routine for me to follow. The first few days were arduous because my mind was used to sulking. Thanks to the support of my counsellor, I persevered. Slowly, but surely, I beat depression over the span of roughly six months.

The two years seemed like they happened yesterday. I received my high school diploma and now I’m in college. What worked for me was a routine so that I did not think about the dark times. However, the best way in my opinion is to talk about it. I’ve understood that there are people who are in the same situation as I’ve been in. Occasionally, I still do contemplate about it, but then I think about how I passed high school and all my courses in my first semester of college and that means I can accomplish anything.

Written By: Charlie Tang

Originally Published: March 2016

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