When I Was Fifteen

One of Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop prompts for this week is to explain how a parent or sibling would’ve described you at the age of fifteen. What an interesting thing that Mama Kat should mention age fifteen!

I turned fifteen in June of 2001. By August, looking back, I was close to insane mentally. This was the summer when I first realized I had alters inside of me, although I didn’t know what they were at the time. I just heard some type of voices that were and at the same time weren’t mine.

Neither my parents nor my younger sister knew this at the time. Still, they did realize something was up, if for no other reason, then because I didn’t care about school. I had always been a pretty studious kind of child, but this changed by November or December of 2001.

In addition, I was a rather angry, moody child. I had suffered from depression on and off since age seven or so, but it was particularly bad at age fifteen. I even made suicide plans several times during that year. My parents, being the type to dismiss mental health issues, felt I was just attention-seeking, of course.

My life turned around in a sort of positive way a few weeks before my sixteenth birthday, although no-one saw either the change or how positive it was at that point. On June 16, 2002, my father called me autistic as an insult. This led me to search the Internet for autism and to discover I may be on the spectrum myself. Although it’d take nearly five more years before I was diagnosed, in part because my parents and teachers didn’t believe me, I see this as a pivotal point in my life.

The day after this, June 17, I finally disclosed to my teacher what had been bothering me over the past year. I sugarcoated it a little, not mentioning the voices or suicidality or autism for that matter. I did tell him I was struggling with being blind in a mainstream school and that I realized I had been less than good of a student lately.

My father, at the time, worked at my school. My teacher told him that I had disclosed something to him, but he refused to tell my father what it was. This led to a really traumatic experience, because my parents demanded to know too and they weren’t kind about it at all. I am pretty sure they just tried to gain fuel for their idea that I was one giant attention-seeker.

Many years later, my parents used many of my struggles at age fifteen to “prove” this very point. I can see their perspective, sort of. Thankfully though, my current professionals don’t go along with it.

Mama’s Losin’ It

10 thoughts on “When I Was Fifteen

  1. Our bodies are like houses and our eyes are windows that we look out through and no one can really define what goes on inside “our house,” but ourselves. It’s a huge leap for people, even professionals, to understand that the view of life outside that “house” is different through each persons own “windows.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sadly, too many parents tend to minimize issues their children deal with, passing them off as “growing phases” or adolescent behaviors which parents find…uncomfortable.

    But, it’s a reminder that we’re all in the driver’s seat of our own lives and you definitely have taken control, Astrid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. That last bit certainly means a lot to me, as I am often tempted to think my choices don’t matter.

      By the way, I am not purposefully ignoring your posts, but for some reason your site gives me some type of server error when I try to visit it.

      Like

  3. How frustrating to have so many instances where you were either not believed or taken seriously. That would be hard to handle even under the healthiest conditions, but to be experiencing such serious health issues and to have them shrugged off would be particularly infuriating. I’m sorry your journey to a diagnosis and getting help had to be so traumatic for you at a young age. It must have been very scary!

    Liked by 1 person

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