Flashback Friday – Freshman Year of College

CW: Passing mention of being suicidal and (later) skipping meals.

I was so excited to leave home!

My college choice was even based on the fact that it was over a thousand miles away from my parents’ home. I could’ve gone to a state school, just over a hundred miles away, but I wanted to get far away from the area where I’d grown up.

I was leaving behind a, thankfully, failed abusive relationship and the betrayal of my former best friend. I wanted to get as far away from any reminders of those relationships as was humanly possible. I’d been fairly suicidal less than a year before heading off to college, but was feeling better by the time I chose my school. I had more support, better support, and was out of that abusive relationship for good.

In retrospect, I should’ve gone to the state school. I knew people who were going there and I would’ve had support. I possibly could’ve graduated with those unofficial supports. At a state school I would’ve maybe even had official supports that were lacking at my small private college that was exempt from some of the federal requirements.

But I didn’t know I needed those supports. Nobody did. I’d always been supported to one degree or another and those supports didn’t become obviously necessary until they were gone and it was too late to change course.

I moved into my new dorm room on the same hall where I’d lost my beloved stuffed dog earlier in the year. It was somewhat familiar to me since I’d visited it only a few months previously and thankfully I only had one roommate – I could’ve potentially had up to three.

My roommate was nice, she’d invite me to dinner with her group of friends and I’d sometimes join them. Eventually the invitations stopped. I made some of my own friends through my major program and we spent some good times together during those first few weeks. We walked all over town since none of us had vehicles, going to the Walmart for necessary items. We even carried an area rug on our shoulders the mile back to campus for one of my friends’ rooms.

Then my friends stopped speaking to me, one by one, without adequate explanation.

I started skipping more meals, which was largely how my high school depression had outwardly manifested. I ended up in the health center several times because I would get light-headed and pass out due to skipping meals. I told them it was probably just low blood sugar and they’d let me go after making sure I was hydrated.

By the end of my freshman year, I was struggling severely in all my classes as well as my personal life, but I was still able to hide it for the most part. I took excellent notes in my classes because otherwise I couldn’t remember anything from the lectures. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t remember things so I made more of an effort to take better notes.

I lost interest in my major subject towards the end of my second semester and became unable to focus on anything having to do with it. So I switched majors at the end of that year.

There were so many classes I wanted to take! I wanted to learn. I longed to do well and remember things easily. Everyone else seemed to be doing so well. At least they were able to keep friends and sufficiently pass their classes.

Of course, I know now that many of them were struggling too, but even in their struggles, most of them made it through while I just kept spiraling farther and farther down into an abyss that I could see no way out of.

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