Prizes and Mars bars

When I was at school, I was a different person from the one I am today.  If a prize was offered, I wanted to win.  Even if it was only a Mars bar.

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I usually won in English, Music and Art, but never in Science, and I would watch another girl collect the prize.

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I would go home and tell my Mum that I had not won, and she would say ‘It does not matter.’

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I wanted to be top of the class too, and often was.  If I was not, I could not help it, I was disappointed.

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Then I had a breakdown.  I was fifteen.

My Mum told the Doctors this story.  They all shook their heads, and told her this had made a contribution to the situation I was in.  Being a in hospital was a wake up call.  I came face to face with reality.

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After this, I was wary of pushing myself too hard.  I made time for rest, and I pulled out of things if I felt under pressure. I was anxious to avoid being ill again.

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I understand a lot of this, and I know I regretted pushing myself too hard.  The difficulty is, now I wonder if I have explored my full potential.  I was trying to survive mental illness, and I wanted to restore my health.  But I sometimes feel that I could have reached higher, pushed myself a little further.

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