How Characters Carried Me Through Middle School

I’ve mentioned my struggle with anxiety and depression in other posts and it’s something I plan to discuss openly on Lady Bluebottle. Today though, I want to talk about what carried me through the early stages of my struggle, before I even knew what anxiety and depression really were.
My struggle with depression started in high school and likely stemmed directly from the anxiety I experienced throughout middle school. Middle school was 6th – 8th grade in my district, roughly ages 12 – 14. When I say rough, well, it was rough for me. Compared to the experiences of many others I’m sure my middle school years were easy and tame. But for an anxious, introverted, and sensitive child like myself, they were some of my hardest days.
For starters, I had braces and acne and terrible bangs that stuck to my greasy forehead. I struggled to find friends and fit in. My home life consisted of an older brother who either picked on me or ignored me, a mother who worked part-time but didn’t get home until dinner, and a father with an explosive temper. I didn’t feel safe anywhere. Not home and not at school and when I was 13, those were pretty much the only places I had.
Until I found books and writing and poetry, that is. They soon became my three best friends.
After school I retreated to my bedroom, safely sandwiched on the floor between my bed and the window, and read. With only the company of my blanket and my book, I escaped the awkwardness of 7th grade and the discomforts of home. My world was replaced by The Babysitter’s Club and the adventures of characters like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
After finishing a book I was always lost in my head, which was suddenly filled with characters. I started writing constantly during middle school. From short stories to fiction, I was skilled at starting future literary masterpieces and never finishing them.
In 8th grade I was introduced to poetry in English class and I fell in love. Short poems I could write, finish, and perfect. Poetry became the main outlet for my 14 year old angst. I wrote about God, love, my friends, and my father’s anger. Without poetry, I don’t know if I would have expressed my emotions in a constructive and reflective way.
Writing saved me in middle school and helped me through the rough times in high school, when depression hit me hard. In college I found myself burdened with required books and papers, making reading and writing for fun something I put on hold for awhile. Then a few years ago I started a blog and it slowly rekindled my passion for writing.
Today, writing has become not only an outlet for my thoughts and feelings but also a way to build relationships and connect with other people. I don’t need saving in the same way I did when I was huddled on the floor next to my bed but I do need characters in my life just as much.


  1. Sophie Tate on January 17, 2018 at 6:24 AM

    I love this post, it really shows how important books are and what they can do for people.
    I enjoy reading too and have found getting lost in a book a good distraction from the real world.

  2. Charli Dawns on January 17, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    This is amazing! I love posts like these that share trials and tribulations of our lives and I’m so happy to see that you found an outlet in reading, writing and poetry. There are only a few things that we can actually focus on to manage/ward away anxiety and depression and like you, writing is my thing. Amazing post, thanks for sharing!

    • Lady B on January 17, 2018 at 12:02 PM

      Thanks Charli! Sometimes it’s very interesting to look back and see how the pieces of our lives fit together.

  3. Danielle on January 17, 2018 at 10:54 AM

    I can relate to this post so much. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression as well. Middle school was rough, high school was harder. I’ve always been quite the introvert and books have been an escape for me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lady B on January 17, 2018 at 12:04 PM

      Thanks for reading Danielle! I’m an introvert too and my escape into books was certainly related to that. I think they helped me learn to see how other people (writers and characters) expressed themselves and I was able to do the same.

  4. Katherine on January 17, 2018 at 12:38 PM

    Sorry for all that you went through, but I’m glad through writing and reading that you found an escape from all that for a bit!

  5. Keeley on January 17, 2018 at 5:28 PM

    I’m still in high school and I totally understand everything you went through. I’m glad you found your passion and a way to escape xx

  6. Evelyne on January 17, 2018 at 9:50 PM

    I remember reading His Dark Materials when I was really young and then pretending I had a Daemon for weeks. As a very shy child, I loved the idea so much! And even as I grew older, I loved the escapism of fiction. It goes beyond just, well, escaping, and can give so much insight into life and people!
    Happy to read that writing for your blog has rekindled your passion for writing in general! <3

  7. Abbey Louisa Rose (@abbeylouisarose) on January 18, 2018 at 1:07 PM

    I wish I could give middle school you the biggest hug! It sounds like you really found solace in your reading – I can definitely attest to the power of books as well, many a time has escaping into a fantasty world of books and poetry cheered me up on a down day! I absolutely loved The Babysitter’s Club as well, I have such fond memories of that series! This was a really powerful post, thank you for being so open and honest.

    Abbey x

  8. Elise on January 18, 2018 at 1:12 PM

    I really relate to this post! Books were/are my biggest form of escapism. A very powerful post, well done!

    Elise //

  9. Mary on January 18, 2018 at 1:17 PM

    This post is so amazing – seriously almost brought a tear to my eye. My high school experience was so similar and writing honestly kept me sane – it still does. I still notice that when I haven’t written anything for a while, I get stressed out and irritable!

    I’m really glad you found an outlet and a way to deal with mental health issues. Keep up the great work.

    Love, Mary ?

  10. Hannah Kaye on January 18, 2018 at 1:24 PM

    I love these types of posts. I have aniexty and books certainly are an escape for me, to escape from my world and enter another.

  11. Lena Dee on January 18, 2018 at 2:02 PM

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! This was so relate for me to read. Honestly children can be some of the meaniest people if you don’t have a tough skin. They can’t always be blamed but they definitely have no filter. I’m glad you were able to find some solace in characters and escape certain realities. Keep up the great work!

    xx Lena |

  12. Bexa on January 18, 2018 at 2:13 PM

    School can be such a hard time, it’s good you found books & characters as a safe place to escape too ?. I love reading and find it so relaxing. It’s a perfect way to forget about the stresses of life with every page you turn. Great post, thank you for sharing your experience ? xx

    Bexa |

  13. Lisa McLachlan on January 19, 2018 at 6:05 AM

    I’ve never understood the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s so manifestly untrue. Words are the most powerful things, they shape our lives. It’s why books have been burned throughout history and why people have been imprisoned or killed. I’m so sorry you had such an awful time in middle school but I’m glad you’re in a much better place now. This was a beautifully written piece, thank you so much for sharing xx

    Lisa |

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