As I had mentioned, the teacher I had for Grade six was the same teacher I had earlier in school. This was also the same teacher that went to my mother to express concerns about my attention in class. I held a pretty big resentment towards her back then, as I felt she was saying that something was wrong with me.
One day in school, my mother came and picked me up. I didn’t know where we were going, she just told me I was going to have some tests done. We ended up at a doctors office where they attached a lot of wires to me, and put me under a pretty intense strobe light for a few minutes.
The whole process, even though at the time I really didn’t understand it, already was solidifying in my head that I was different, and that something was wrong with me. No other kids that I knew of had to go and get this type of examination.
Once the tests were all completed, I was informed that I had something called Petit Mal Epilepsy. Evidently this was the cause of my lack of focus. What I had always just written off as daydreaming, was apparently a series of small seizures, causing me to temporarily lose touch with reality.
Looking back, I know that teacher was looking out for my best interest, she saw a student that needed some help and pushed to have the tests done. It also helps me now see why school was so difficult for me, when I was supposed to be learning the basics, and creating a foundation for my education, I wasn’t really there mentally to absorb all the information.
At the time, I was upset, but when I got back to school I became furious. As soon as I got back I noticed a shift in my peers, they were all of a sudden being very nice to me. I had returned right around lunch time, and they offered me a seat beside Mitch. Mitch was still very popular at school, and people had to call a seat next to him, I never really got to sit beside him, even though I was probably the only person who spent a great deal of time with him outside of school.
I could tell something was up, all of a sudden people wanted to know about how I was doing, and had an interest in me. I soon discovered that while I was getting my tests done, the teacher informed the entire class about my circumstances. I was so angry, I felt like she basically had told everyone that I was stupid, and that something was wrong with me. I also didn’t have any idea how to handle all the attention from my peers, or them being so nice to me.
At one point my teacher pulled me aside to ask me why I seemed upset, I really had no idea how to express my feelings, I can’t remember exactly what I said to her, but it was likely vague. I remember my leg was shaking for the duration of our short conversation, and she asked me about it, but I just said that it was normal.
After school was a bit of a different story, I spoke with Dave about the events and became very angry, talking about how the teacher told everyone I was an idiot, and venting about my circumstances. Dave was pretty good at listening to my feedback and supporting me, but I really struggled to identify, and express any kind of feelings back then.
It didn’t take long before everything went back to normal at school, the other kids couldn’t keep up a facade of having any respect for me, but my epilepsy also wasn’t something they really teased me about, as I feared it would be.
I ended up getting on some medication to help with my focus, I was very resistant, I didn’t want to take pills, it just re-enforced to me that I was different, and not like everyone else.