I'm not going to say it was easy. But proving people wrong is something I tend to enjoy. I learned to throw up walls. I buried my suicidal tendencies, pulled my socks up academically speaking and put on a mask that said, "alls good". And weirdly, it began to work.
I still felt the pain of every harsh comment. But I broke the razor blades in two. I turned my exterior into a granite visage that broke into a smile only for my friends. But on the inside, nothing had changed. The only person I confided this to was Stephen.
Me: I don't know how long I can keep being strong.. :/
Stephen: You don't need to. You are going to be ok. I know you are. Keep your chin up and look. You're at the sunrise of your life. Not your sunset. This is just you bashing your shin in the dark. Look up. The light is spreading. You're going to be fine.
Me: Have I ever told you I love you?
And I did. Not in the way I loved Matt, but I did. He kept me together, my safety net.
Most of a year passed. Matt and I saw each other another time. He found a girlfriend. I spiralled downwards again. Stephen held me together the best he could. I struggled through Christmas, determined to make these exams show that I was 'better'. Determined to make this mask real. Matt broke up with his girlfriend. I found a shard of hope.
Matt: I'll make you an offer. Get help. When you're better and if I'm still single, I'll be with you.
That night had been a rare one of peace for us. His words brought one of the first true smiles to my lips.
Me: Okay, I'll do it.
And I did. A week later, I was sat in the doctors, being handed a diagnosis. Anxiety and depression. Therapy and counselling.
Stephen: At least you can do something now :) xxx
Matt: Not surprised tbh.
Mixed support as you can see. Skip forward and the all-important exam results. I survive massive arguments with Matt and Stephen. For a couple of days, the most important people in my life are more or less unattainable, apparently vanishing from my life.
French- 135/140 (a)
I smiled. I'd done it. Offers from universities had come in. I could go to any of my choice. Stephen and I renewed our friendship. Matt and I, in our own fashion, carried on.