(A guest post from Alondra Gonzalez, an Oakland public school student and one of Oakland’s Energy Convertors)
All my life I’ve been good at school. I’ve gotten As and Bs my since I was in elementary school but things are changing. I don’t feel relaxed in a classroom environment. Sometimes I am able to sit through a lesson and engage with everybody else. On those days I participate in classroom discussions and do all the work. Other days I feel trapped though, I feel asphyxiated, short of breath even.
I feel like I am not myself.
I feel like something takes hold of me and I just want to scream. On those days, I want to run out of the classroom and just keep on running.
That’s something that I never felt before until recently. At one point, I didn’t even want to go to school and I found every excuse not to go. I went to my counselor about it but it wasn’t much help. She spoke to me about phobias and asked me a bunch of questions I couldn’t answer.
I know what I feel is not normal. She kept trying to get to why I feel like I do. I don’t know. I don’t know why. One minute I might be engaged and the next I find every little reason to not be in a classroom.
Talk to my teachers? They don’t understand either, in fact, they force me to stay in the classroom. They don’t allow me to go out which is why at one point I just didn’t want to go to school anymore. School is supposed to be a place where you feel “safe” and “understood” but what happens when you don’t? I don’t feel emotionally safe nor emotionally understood. What are you supposed to do?
How am I supposed to seek help when I don’t even know what’s wrong with me and the ones I do seek to for don’t understand me? Well, I hope to figure it out.