By Kimberly, 17
According to the general consensus, high school sucks. Most teenagers would give it up in a heartbeat if they could. But let me tell you, living without it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve been out of school since last March with a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and yes, it is as bad as it sounds. Basically, my autonomic nervous system is messing up like a robot in a bad sci-fi movie. Whenever I stand up, my blood pressure can’t compensate for the change in position and bottoms out (my record low is 65/30), causing my pulse to skyrocket. This leads to all sorts of lovely things like passing out, constant dizziness, and exhaustion. I can’t think straight, everything feels like a dream most of the time, I’m always cold, my fingernails are a nice shade of purple, and I get migraines so bad I have to take narcotics to get rid of them.
But enough background. Here are the reasons why I miss school so badly I’m on antidepressants:
1. Giving up my goals. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m pretty academically driven, and I had high aspirations for school. Because of my illness, I had to give up an IB Diploma (my goal since sixth grade) and drop two classes just to keep up with work. I don’t even know if I’ll get Certificate, and for you non-IBers out there, I’d only have to pass one IB class for that. Not to mention that I used to be valedictorian, and now I’m something like twentieth in the class. I may not be able to take AP tests to get college credit for my classes. I’m not even sure any colleges will want me after they see my grades this year.
2. No social life. “Okay,” you say, “well my social life sucks too! I’m unpopular because I’m a nerd, and no one invites me to stuff. Besides, I have too much homework to do anything.” That’s not what I mean. You still get to see friends and other people in school every day, right? Yeah, I don’t. The only people I see most of the time are my parents and my dog. And while schnauzers make great company, they’re not exactly talkative. My social interactions consist of doctors’ appointments and the few-and-far-between visits from my very busy friends. Lucky ducks.
3. No romantic life. I’m 17 and a half, and I’m NBK. Not to sound conceited, but I’m no Eloise Midgen. Random strangers tell me I’m pretty, and according to my pediatrician, I’ve got the body of a Barbie doll. But it’s sort of hard to find somebody to love when you pass out every time you stand up.
4. The disease itself. I’m sick of being dizzy!
5. Boredom. After ten months of house arrest, I’ve kind of run out of stuff to do. I’ve watched every Disney movie ever made, including the package films from the 40s. I’ve read all the books on my list, including the 1200-page unabridged version of Les Miserables (twice). I taught myself the Cyrillic alphabet and how to swear in nine languages. Basically, I just sleep and play solitaire now.
6. Keeping up with the schoolwork. Just because I’m not actually in school doesn’t mean I don’t have to learn everything. I have midterms this week, and it’s going to be hell. Luckily, I only have to pass English and History to graduate, but I really don’t want solid F’s on my report card. I freak out when I get C’s. I have a homebound teacher, but my classes are too advanced for her to really help me. So I get to teach myself organic chemistry and the root causes of the Chinese Civil War. Yay!
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but honestly, I’m too tired to think right now. Oh wait, I feel that way all the time. So yeah. Go ahead and cry about how mean people are and how you’re so stressed and how much you hate school. I’ll just sit here with my loneliness and textbooks and try to learn integral calculus.
the original article from SparkNotes, written by Kinberly