Before I moved to Montreal, my whole inability to speak French was something that constantly weighed on my mind. In fact, it stressed me right the fuck out. Everyone would assure me that everything would be fine and I would get by and for arguments sake I have.
Although, not being able to speak the language coherently has it’s pitfalls of course. I’m really not gifted when it comes to languages. My grade nine French teacher can attest to that. In fact I’m pretty sure I only got the grade that I did just so that she wouldn’t have to deal with me again. Adult me can understand her frustration, teachers work hard and having a student who clearly didn’t give a shit obviously didn’t help. Needless to say, life was much different when I was 14.
Never, ever in a million years did I think that I would end up here.
It would have been much easier to take a course when I first moved here, except I ended up getting a job right away and well when you work in a kitchen; your schedule is so erratic that anything that requires you to have a set schedule is pretty much impossible most of the time.
So after my ex and I split and I started doing my own thing, I started to partake in a conversational French course that was offered at a local un-employment center in the neighbouring borough. It was a great course while I was actively participating in it, then I got sick with a hellish lung infection and ended up missing so many classes, I decided that there was no real point in going back for the time being.
Then just for the hell of it, I started taking a beginner class at a local college here. Except that’s not entirely cost effective at best (it was $250.00 per class and there’s 5 levels)–and- for it to be effective at all in a learning sense, you need to be consistent and keep at it. So last winter before my father passed away, I enrolled into the same class that was offered at the center that I had taken before. It was cost effective and I had the time. Then I lost my dad and trying to tackle a French course two weeks after loosing your dad is foolish at best. Yet, I thought that it was worth a shot. So I went to a few classes while struggling to deal with the loss of my dad and the ton of drama that came along with it.
Worst. Idea. Ever.
When you suffer from depression like I do, your short term memory is gone. You team that up with anxiety and just trying to keep it together for the couple of hours that you have for class. There were only a dozen of us in this class and participation is required. I hate being put on the spot and I struggled but I tried. I get very anxious and overwhelmed when I don’t understand something, which quickly turns to frustration and my mind becomes a giant cluster fuck. Than I feel really stupid. I’ve learned to recognize these signs and I try to offset them with internal rationale. It’s not so much that i’m a bad student, I just don’t do well at things I have to do, vs things I want to do.
Anyway- I got called out in class for something. I needed to figure out a noun for part of the conversation.
Imagine my horror when I could not for the life of me remember what a noun was.
The two guys sitting behind me were laughing, the teacher was looking at me with the most (understandably) incredulous look on his face. I felt like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights and my face burned bright and hot with the shame and embarrassment of my failure.
My mind was completely blank, I couldn’t formulate a thought to save my life and I don’t think I have ever been more mortified or anxious.
I was so ashamed and so embarrassed that I never went back.
Yes, I know that’s really over the top and extreme to some. However when you just lost your dad, you’re dealing with depression along with anxiety and a whole host of other things, it’s just a little too much. Even if you don’t fancy yourself to be much of a drama queen (I don’t). I felt stupid and worse yet I was (and still am) terrified that I would never get my mind back.
Depression robs you of so many things, your memory, your dignity and more. It’s defined as a mental illness; it does not just affect your mind. Depression eats at you on all levels, mind body and soul.
So I sacrificed my going back to school for computer graphics to take a level one French course (again). This class is full time for three months. I am terrified. That last incident is much too fresh in my memory and being that I cry a lot these days more often than not, I truly hope that I not only learn something and garner a much needed grasp on the language, but I also hope that I don’t have an anxiety induced meltdown and embarrass myself again.
I’m not one of those people who are OK with having public meltdowns. I am a very private person and I get very overwhelmed and shut down when I feel that people are invading my perceived personal space. I don’t care for pity and I don’t care to play the victim either, because I’m not. I’m just a person who has a whole lot of walls and I only plan to add windows when I’m good and ready to. It’s one of my biggest flaws; however I have always been this way. I wish people would accept that.
It’s not you; I can give you complete reassurance that it’s me and my very messy mind.