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Sad memories can have a silver lining. Tuesday February 10, 2015

My all girls high school is having a 40 year reunion later this year which is a shock to me as it can't be that long since I left school! One woman is organising a reunion and has a facebook page, so there a many photos posted and fun memories discussed.

To put it mildly, high school, especially my senior years, were not happy ones for me. All I remember is being either so sad I couldn't get out of bed, so tired I couldn't be bothered to wash my hair, or so high that I was rude to everyone and didn't bother going to school at all. When I was depressed my dad would drive me to school and wait and hope I would get out of the car but most of the time after waiting for an hour he would drive me home. I recall a few times when I spent lunch time in the bathroom as the library was closed and I felt I had no friends and no one to sit with.

I was discussing my memories with another former student telling her I felt I was a loner and drifter. I never felt I fitted in at all as I wasn't clever enough for the bright group and wasn't different enough for the quirky group. I definitely was not liked enough for the popular group.

She had different memories and said I was a close friend with her and another girl and she had fond memories of times we spent together at school and on holidays.

It made me think. Do I only recall the bad times and filter out any good times? Have I forgotten to look for the silver lining? I don't see myself as a victim rather as a survivor who has lived over 40 years with a diagnosis of bipolar. Maybe I have overlooked the good parts in my past and in my schooldays in particular.

So instead of thinking of the cringe worthy moments, the awful times from school I am thinking about the friends I made, the special moments I shared and that despite my chaotic moods I managed to graduate from high school to university!

The silver lining may be hard to remember at first but it is there and maybe like me you need another person to help you find it. This doesn't mean we forget the pain we have been through but after 40 years I think it is time for me to see the positives of that time and see how far I have journeyed since then.

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G Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 6:03am

This post resonates with me. I, too, thought I had miserable school days. I was also appalled at the different type of memories that my friends recalled. It seems to be whenever we felt sick and "quarantined" ourselves, it somehow helped preserved the good time in our friends' memories. Even though I could be nasty to people from time to time, I am glad they still see me as their friend (they thought it's just a 'normal snap' or 'normal depression' that they all went through). It's great to know we did have good time in the past, and we didn't miss out so much. Trauma left a greater impression on mentally-ill people, so this shall come as no surprise :) Treat these forgotten memories as the pleasant surprise and enjoy them :)

suzzi Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 6:20am

I was never able to have memories as tthese as rarely sent to school but it's something to be valued I think. Bless you

Hopeful One Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 6:29am

Hi Leah- Thank you so much for your post today which highlighted or reminded me of a couple of features of depression which I need to guard against.The first is the negative filter or lens that depression places before our eyes .It makes us see or view the world as a dark inhospitable dangerous or threatening place. It is is a hallmark of the condition..Called also the "binocular trick" we see the world through the wrong end of the binocular or telescope.So the world appears distant with no joy and the bright positive side-the silver lining- gets progressively distant or non existent The first task for the depressive is to try and change it to clear or positive lens if there is any progress to be made.The way out is to deliberately remind ourselves of the silver lining like you have realized and turn the binocular the right way round magnifying the positive and minimizing the negative against the shrill incessant voice of the inner critic.I do it by simply exclaiming to myself " If that is not nice I don't know what is!"It sounds artificial at first but repeated often enough it clears the dark shade of the negative filter.

Rupert Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 8:35am

Perversely I see my secondary school days as my happiest as I think it was then that I learnt the ability to portray the flale persona of being happy and put it into practice in what were exciting times anyway. Maybe it was because I discovered the opposite sex - something that has always been a welcome distraction from my mood albeit it hasnt always been the right thing to do of which I am not proud. Rupert

Rupert Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 8:36am

false persona

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 8:46am

Painful memories for me... I'm still ashamed of so many things I have done in the past... and find it difficult to integrate.

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 9:58am

Hi Leah,
I don't normally comment but your post really resonated with me. I just recently had a 20 year reunion (which I didn't attend) which I think now is a bit of shame. I had Facebook messages from friends asking where I was and that they had been hoping to see me. It's funny how depression can cloud everything and it also robs us of so many happy and joyful experiences which I too must have had but have chosen not to remember. Lumping all the memories in the 'depression' basket. Thanks for your post it really helped me to see things a little more clearly and to think about how there is a silver lining with everything in life.

Les Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 10:55am

Hi Leah

Loved the authenticity of your blog.....feels very 'human'.

I believe it may be one where people may comment for the first time.

For me - it shows the constant need to connect with others, especially when we are depressed, which most know is difficult......and I know I feel it impossible at times if I am down.....yet that connection I find crucial to help me 'move'.

The toxic triangle of Dependence (you serve me) / Independence (I serve me) / Co-dependence (I use you, so you can serve me) can leave hearts strewn all over.......I believe it is the Interdependence (I serve you, so we can serve others) that is the key and that can only be done through positive and supportive relationships............

Your comment that 'we may need another person' to see things differently is for me, very important - especially when we are too low or of course too high.

After all we do not develop or grow through win-lose ways..........but by sharing and seeking common is the key.....even in our own organs....where there is no 'boss'.

Mary Blackhurst Hill Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 12:15pm

Hi Leah, thanks for this post. Some good friends of mine were talking recently with someone else from our school days. This person said how they remembered me as "Mad Mary" (from the up bit of the bipolar). When I disappeared into the black hole and just wasn't there; only my very closest friends remember that.Oh, and I do of course. Very few people remember our dark days. Which is probably just as well.

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 12:23pm

Hi Leah. Yes, only recently, when I checked out my recollections of younger days with a friend did I find this to be true. That our memories can be different to other people's is often a blessing. Their positive strokes serve to boost our self esteem. Another reminder not to be so hard on ourselves.

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 3:03pm

I thought I was the fattest girl in high school! I thought I was a hideously ugly,red-headed freak! I was so shy I was afraid of my own shadow.When I look at pictures of me in high school,I think "Who was that pretty,lovely girl?"! don't know how my self-evaluation was so wrong.And I don't know how no one ever told me I was not so bad!

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 3:23pm

Your brain is the boss I believe, Les without that we cannot function, heart, liver, kidneys can be replaced but not your brain.....not yet anyway.

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 4:31pm

Aw that's so sad, Anon 3.03 - I too felt like the ugly one in the family and at school. Teachers who saw me for the first time always seemed to say 'I hope you're going to be as clever as your sister.' Well, no actually I wasn't as clever or as pretty as my sister...but I still had friends; I could sing and act the fool and was lucky not to get this depression until about fifteen years ago.

I feel lucky that my childhood days were fine. Looking back at pictures I had very bad hair...but only because it's that sort of hair...does it's own thing...and still does. Love to you and your glorious red hair, mad-haired-Karen x

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 4:32pm

Hi Leah, a very poignant blog, thank you. Karen x

Les Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 5:52pm

Hi Anonymous

Research since the early 1990s shows that there are far more messages go from your heart to the brain than the other way round.

It is truly our heart that is the 'boss' not our brain!

The only reason a heart transplant works is the heart brain goes with it. And it often changes the person's character because of that.

The heart is also 60 times more electrically powerful than the brain and far more powerful magnetically.

The world is weakening, as we see the results of the head before heart cognitive intelligence of our schooling - all about competence (IQ) and the need (I believe) for a far greater focus on character (EQ).

It is the brain in the heart that limits our cognitive brain thinking if it is in any way shuts down our cognition. This is called Neurocardiology.

Which is why we make awful decisions is we are stressed or angry.

The heart is the key to our future.......and always was....before we created the IQ test....we did business with those we trusted.

Which brings us back to Leah's post..........trusted friends and co-operation are key to healthy minds and lives.....

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 7:03pm

Gosh, what an outporing of disclosures today! I always say I wasn't aware of my childhood at the time being odd, as one only has one childhood. Whatever 'normal' is, it wasn't but by achieving at school I learnt to like me. Unfortunately as a teenager IQ was high but beyond surviving EQ had had sparse hope of developing. When 'burnt out' at 14 and diagnosed bp I think it allowed me to develop as I may not have done if a 'glorious' academic career had been pursued as had been expected.

Les Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 8:00pm

"If then a practical end must be assigned to a university course, I say it is that of training good members of society. It is the art of social life, and its end is fitness for the world........... It is an education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgements, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical, and to discard what is irrelevant. It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with facility. It shows him how to accommodate himself to others, how to throw himself into their state of mind, how to bring before them his own, how to bear with them."
Cardinal John Henry Newman 'The Idea of a University' 1852

Anonymous Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 9:56pm

Memories are very powerful and they make up a lot of who we were and who we are.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment .
As you have noticed this is my first blog here so I appreciated the feedback
I admit I was a bit disappointed at first that no one had replied until I realised most of you would have been asleep as I live in the land down under!!

I will reply more later to some of the comments when I have had time to reflect and consider. Cheers Leah
PS I chose anon as I couldn't work out how to use my name!! Don't laugh!!

Les Tue, Feb 10th 2015 @ 10:20pm

Sounds cool to me............and yes there will be a time delay..!!

For your name......'select profile' and then 'name/URL' and just put your name in.

Leah Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 12:13am

Thanks Les- tried that but was put off my URL!!-not sure if I have one or want one.
Fingers crossed!

Leah Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 2:01am

thanks anon for your feedback. Maybe you can keep in touch with old school friends. I can relate to the 'depression' basket. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

leah Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 2:05am


sorry that reply was meant for next anon! I am new at this so be patient with me!
here is my reply for you!!
Thanks for replying. I am sorry you still feel ashamed and have painful memories. I used to feel very ashamed but then I decided to be honest ,acknowledge past actions so no one could embarrass me. Sure there are so many bizarre , hurtful things I did in the past, but I am not ashamed . I am not proud but I have learnt and grown since then. The ability not to be embarrassed is a great skill to have! This worked for me but may not work for others. I wish you well

Leah Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 2:09am

Sent this to the another anon by mistake. I am new at this..

This is what I replied. Leah
thanks anon for your feedback. Maybe you can keep in touch with old school friends. I can relate to the 'depression' basket.I think the depression basket can helpful as long as we don't put all our dirty laundry there until it overflows!
I appreciate you taking the time to reply and sharing your experiences.

Leah Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 2:15am

thanks for your response. I think in high school one wants to connect with others, to be accepted to fit in. I have spoken to some of the girls I thought were 'popular' and a few were unhappy at times at school and some did not feel they belonged. School days a rarely a short part of our lives, yet we are so eager to keep in touch, recall the good times, and they can have a profound effect on our lives. Thanks again, I appreciated your insights.

Leah Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 2:24am

Hi Mary,
That is interesting how your friends saw you. I had the opposite in a way, as I was described as shy and funny. I think for me when I was very high or very low, I usually wasn't at school or around my friends When I have told old school friends I have bipolar, they usually say they would never have guessed!! I thought I was a text-book case!!

Anonymous Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 3:42am,too....that is,choosing "anonymous" cause I can't figure out how to put in my name! Glad I 'm not the only one!!

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