The Hardest Parts of Being a High School Senior With POTS
Most people my age are waking up every day at 6:30 a.m. to get ready to go to school. Sadly, I am not most people. Instead, I am stuck inside my house sitting on a computer while doing online school. My school is now at my home. Senior year is supposed to be the best year of high school, but I won’t be able to experience it like I always wished. I’m going to miss out on homecoming, sports events, Winterfest, possibly prom and walking with my class on graduation day. It’s very depressing to see on social media that all my friends are thriving and living the perfect lives without any worries. It hurts knowing they have all forgotten about me since I can’t join them during our final year together.
The worst part about missing senior year is that I miss out on my social life. I used to have a lot of friends and now I have three. I try and focus on schoolwork and push to be done with classes. I truly can’t wait until I am in college because then I can be myself and not have to worry about all the little things most teenagers worry about in high school. Whether it has to do with sports or being homecoming queen, most are sucked into their own lives. I can admit I was selfish at some times during my high school career, but I’ve changed since I became ill. I feel like I have been down in the dumps since senior year started. I never in my life would have guessed I would be in this position right now. I wish I could’ve prevented my downhill spiral from my POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome). Instead, here I am, sitting on my computer daily.
Even during my senior year, my family’s life has drastically changed. My mother has to constantly be near me since I worry I might pass out and not be able to move. These struggles have made my mother’s relationship with her husband very different. I feel as if I have become an inconvenience to all of my family members while I stay glued to the couch doing homework. It has become extremely hard to function like I used to. I can no longer go out with friends after school and be able to participate in school events.
The worst part is how I was treated while I tried to get help with accommodations to make my senior year easier. Sadly, I was instead accused of faking being pre-syncope. I was also accused of skipping school the day after my dog had been put down. I had spoken to my principal and instead, she made my life hell. She didn’t do research on what exactly POTS is. She didn’t inform her staff that they had a student who typically passes out every day. I felt disgusted and confused so I transferred to alternative education. It is in the same district so I can still go to prom (thank gosh). The director/principal of the school was the nicest person I had met. He showed me how online school works and then explained how my circumstances would be OK since I could be at home instead of in school. He knew exactly what POTS was and even had accommodations ready for me if I planned on actually going to school.
I have noticed I have become a whole new person during my senior year. My family says I talk as if I am very feisty and irritated. Deep down the root of my emotions is frustration and anger. I feel bad that I allow myself to let it out on family members, but it isn’t my intention to talk this way. I used to be loud and obnoxious and laugh too much, to the point where I couldn’t breathe. I don’t remember the last time I actually laughed at something like I used to. I hardly smile unless it’s for pictures. Senior year is no longer senior year for me. It all feels like a bad dream I just need to wake up from. The real question is: will I ever wake up from this nightmare?
It seems like my biggest struggle of all is truly only having my mother to support me and remind me that things will get better. Where did my so-called “friends” go when I needed them the most? Nobody should have to go through their senior year alone like I am. Then again, not many are chronically ill and lose all their friends. No matter how hard I tried to contact my “friends,” nobody would visit me. None of them took an hour out of their lives to come and check on me or at least send me a text asking how I’m doing. It seems I am forced to become independent and to learn how to be alone. I mainly focus on homework, but I also wish I could have a friend to lean on.
The hardest struggle for me during senior year is not having a boyfriend. My last boyfriend hardly understood what I was going through and seemed to be caught up in his own life. People like me who are chronically ill can’t be with someone who doesn’t understand what we go through. He didn’t believe I was sick when I was fighting a rare infection and he also didn’t care when I was stuck in bed at home. The only guy I would want to be with is someone who helps me when I need it and loves me no matter what. It’s hard seeing happy couples on social media who don’t seem to have any issues. I don’t necessarily need a man in my life but I would definitely benefit from the extra support and love.
At the end of the day, I will still graduate and get my diploma and be able to move on with my life. I am able to focus on my health and work on homework on my comfy couch at home. Since I’ve been going to school online, I haven’t passed out, and that has been the best thing that has happened to me.
I know there are other chronically ill seniors out there, and I just want you all to know that you must keep your heads high. Don’t let others bring you down from succeeding. Never let someone’s actions destroy how you live your life. Be who you choose to be and let that be your fuel to succeed and do great things.
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