To my former teachers and professors,
The truth is that none of it had anything to do with you, or your teaching methods, or even the course material. I could have handled all of it, if I were willing to make an effort. Even my worst subjects could have worked out, if I'd been willing to sit down, actually think about the problems in front of me, and go to you or anyone else for extra tutoring if I couldn't come up with anything. I was lucky to have some of the best teachers and professors out there--people who legitimately cared about their students and the material, and if anyone could have motivated me, it was you. You did everything you could. You didn't fail me; I failed you. I failed myself.
From middle school through most of college, I dealt with periods of intense, numbing depression. Many days, I couldn't move. I couldn't focus. Assignment pages, math problems, and great works of literature were meaningless in front of me. There were clouds of pressure around my head and my throat, and often I couldn't understand how I could breathe when I felt so suffocated. Half the time when I looked out the window or at the clock in your class, I was wondering how long it would be before I had the freedom to run, to hide, to jump off a cliff if I could just get away from all of this pressure. I began self-injuring and binge-eating because it made it easier to convince myself that the pain didn't matter if I could channel it physically and get it out of my head, and I told myself I'd kill myself next week anyway and none of it mattered. Then next week came, and I was still alive, and the paper due last week was overdue, and now I had a new one due tomorrow.
People gave me tips. They said to just sit down, take it one assignment at a time, and plow through. My father took me to the local college library for a weekend and had me sit down and work next to college students, paper by paper, until all of my outstanding essays were complete. The pressure diminished after every completed paper, and I really did feel better once they were done. But the majority of the time, I couldn't get myself started for anything. When teachers would say to come to them for help, I couldn't bear to go in and admit that I had nothing, that I had done nothing. So I became a liar. I said that I had it done, but had left it at home. Or that I forgot it (I never forgot. How could I forget? The fact that I hadn't done it was all I could think about). I pretended I was sick rather than come to school, and since I always felt queasy anyway, it was easy to convince even myself that I was ill.
Now that my frontal lobe is better developed, and that my mental issues have been dealt with through therapy and medication, I see how counterproductive all of it was. You wanted to help me; you were there to help me. If I had gone to you and said that I had nothing done, maybe you would have helped me come up with something. If I was honest, maybe you wouldn't have been lenient with me, but you would have understood. Instead, I was just some mystery girl with a bad attitude. You deserved a better student than me.
So please accept my apologies, and know that I did learn in your classes, even when it didn't seem like I was learning anything. On the rare occasions when I actually focused and paid attention, I was fascinated by the material and the way you presented it. I still have strong opinions on many of the books I read or skimmed in your classes (and even when I didn't read them, class discussions made me feel like I had). I'm hopeless at science, but the little facts or curiosities I learned in ninth grade bio or college astronomy still gave me fodder for years' worth of daydreams and hypotheticals that I hope to someday use in my own work (when I can concentrate and learn about it for real). I will never be the writer who says that math is a waste of time because even if I never use algebra in my career, learning it taught me how to solve problems, and how to think. All subjects are interrelated, and I needed them all, and I needed all of you. Even if I didn't say it then.
With thanks and regrets,