gif by @jjmaybnk
summary: Kiara opens up to the Pogues about her struggles with anxiety and depression.
tw: discussion of depression & anxiety, panic attack
a/n: taking care of your mental health is so so important. i do wanna preference this by saying that a lot of what kie goes through is based off my own struggles with bad anxiety. ￼to anyone struggling with your mental health please remember: you are never alone. it does get better, hang in there just a little longer.
Kiara hated everything about the idea of being a Kook. She made it her life mission to be the furthest thing from a one. She couldn’t stand the way they threw their money around like it would never run around. The way they didn’t seem to care if they hurt other people as long as they were advancing their own interest. What she hated the most was the insurmountable pressure to be perfect that came with being a Kook. Kiara had seen first hand how that pressure could ruin people because it almost ruined her.
Midway through her Kook year, Kiara had began to slip into a mild depression. She started missing school because she couldn’t will herself to get out of bed. Kiara’s mom had suffered with depression from a young age so when she noticed Kie start to do some of the same things she did when the dark clouds moved in, she took Kie to see a therapist who helped her figure out the right medication. With a combination of the two, Kie started to perk back up.
Kie really started to feel like herself again when she transferred toKildare County High School and reconnected with JJ, Pope and John B. Being around the Pogues was so easy, they didn’t demand perfection from her.
But Kiara kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. She kept waiting for something to come and drag her back to that dark place she’d been freshman year. No matter how wild and fun the adventures with the Pogues were, she couldn’t seem to make that achy feeling in her stomach go away.
It didn’t help that college application season was starting and her parents keep trying to pull Kie back into the Kook life. She got it: her parent’s only wanted what was best for her. They wanted her to have the same opportunities they had. But what Kie really wanted was for things not to change. She didn’t wanted to think about high school ending and the Pogues splitting up. She didn’t want to move to a school far away and start over. She was terrified of change but how could she possible tell her parents that. So she stayed quiet, letting that horrible feeling eat away at her a little more each day.
Kie had woken up early that morning and went down to the beach to surf as the sun came up, desperately trying to clear her mims. Currently, she was throwing some essential in a bag before she headed to the chateau to spend the day with the boys.
She just about to walk out the front door when her mother called her name from the kitchen.
“Kiara, come in here please. There’s somebody I’d like you to meet.”
Kie closed her eyes for a second, trying to muster the courage to walk into the kitchen. Recently, her mother had been parading admission counselor afteradmission counselor in front of her in some desperate attempt to get Kie excited about college. Earlier this week it had been Mr. Devon from Northwestern and the week before that, Mrs. Rockster from UNC. Kie could only imagine who was waiting for her today.
Kiara pasted a smile on her face and headed into the kitchen, mentally calculating how long it would be before she could make her escape.
“Honey, this is Ms. Cabot from William & Mary. My alma mater, you remember?”
Ms. Cabot stuck out her hand and Kiara shook it half hearted.“Your mother tells me you want to study business. That’s a sensible major.”
Kiara snuck a glance at her mother.
Business, really? She thought. They had never talked about what Kie wanted to major in, mostly because every time her parents tried Kie found an excuse to escape the conversation. The idea of college made Kie so anxious she wanted to throw up.
“William & Mary has an outstanding business program. Your mother knows, she experienced it first hand.”
Kie’s mother threw her head back in an exaggerated laugh.“Those where the days.”
“Mom, I’m supposed to be meeting my friends right now. I…” Kie trailed off.
“Honey, why don’t you sit down and let Ms. Cabot tell you about William & Mary.” Kie saw her mother’s smile get a little tighter and she knew she wasn’t getting out of this anytime soon. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and sent a quick text to the Pogues to let them know she wouldn’t be coming today before sliding onto a stool at the island.
A few days later after her mom’s latest college ambush, Kie and other Pogue were arriving back at the chateau after spending all day out on the water. There was a party at the Boneyard later that night but Kie wanted to stop at home to shower and change before they went. She grabbed her backpack and went to step onto the dock. Suddenly, her vision went blurry and she had grab the railing on the dock to stop herself from falling. Everyone but Pope had been to busy doing their own thing to notice what had just happened.
“You good, Kie?” Pope asked.
Kie nodded in her head without turning around to face him. “See you later.” She replied as she started to walk to her car. Kie placed a hand on her stomach which had suddenly started to hurt very badly.As Kie replayed the day in her head, she realized she had barely eaten anything all day. She’d had a banana for breakfast and nothing for lunch.
Kie’s pulse started to race. One of the signs that her mental health was starting go downhill was when she stopped eating without realize it. Kie felt a few tears collecting in her eyes but she willed them to disappear. She wasn’t ready to accept that maybe her mental health was getting a lot worse than she wanted.
The Boneyard party was already in full swing when Kie arrived. She’d taken a nice, long shower when she’d gotten home and eaten a full meal to make sure she didn’t have a repeat of this afternoon. The boys cheered when they saw Kie approaching the keg.
JJ let out a high pitch whistle.“Damn Kie. You aren’t leaving anything up to the imagination tonight.”
Kie rolled her eyes at JJ’s comment. She’d spent quite a while picking out the perfect outfit before finally settling on a pair of high wasted white-washed jean shorts and aflowy bikini top that she felt uber confident in.
The night had been going alright for the most party. Kie had danced a little bit, had a few drinks and doged a couple of Touron’s offers to hookups. Kie was sitting around the bonefire with JJ and some other locals who she half knew when the conversations turned to college. Kie felt that familiar gut wrenching feeing at the sheer mention of college. She took a deep breath in, trying to make sure no one could see how anxious the conversation was making her feel.
“Right, Kiara?” Kie perked up at the sound of her name. It was coming from brunette girl who Kie had had history class with last semester.
Isn’t her name Megan? Or maybe Molly? Kie thought.“Yeah?” She said out loud.
“Well we were just saying how college applications aren’t even stressful for you cause you’re basically a Kook and you can just pay for a library or something if you don’t get in.” The brunette said.
Kie felt her heart start to beat so fast it blocked out all other noises.
This girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She doesn’t know you. It’s okay. Just laugh it off. Kie thought. But her palms were extra sweaty and her throat felt dry even despite the drinks she’d had. Kie knew she needed to get away from this party.
She turned to JJ.“I…um…I’m gonna go back to…I’m gonna…I’ll be at the chateau.” Kie said tripping on her own words.
She handed JJ what was left in her cup and then began to leave the party. Kie tried to even out her breath but it was becoming harder and harder to breathe￼￼￼. Tears flooded her eyes and her shoulders began to shake from her sobs. She made it to the edge of the Boneyard before she had sit down. Her thoughts were running faster than she could comprehend them. She felt overwhelmed and she couldn’t seem to focus on anything.
Unexpectedly, Kie felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked over to see JJ sitting in the sand next to her.
“You left so fast- are you okay?” JJ could see the panic on Kie’s face.“Wait here,” he said.“I’m getting the others.”
Kie hung her head between her legs and closed her eyes to focus on slowing down her breath￼ while JJ searched for John B and Pope. Her thought had begun to slow when the three boys showed up.
Pope plopped down next to her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. John B sat down close to Kie on her other side. JJ stood above them awkwardly before sitting down too.
“What’s up?” Pope asked her. “JJ said you were upset about something some chick said?”
Kie wiped the tears off her face with her palms before looking up at the boys.“It’s actually more than that,” she began.“I never told you guys this but during my Kook year I had a few really dark months. I had been doing a lot better but lately with all this college talk and stuff, it’s been getting bad again. When that girl made a comment about me being a Kook it just- just pushed me over the edge. I’ve spent so much time running from all the pressures of Figure Eight but I can’t really escape them. And my mom, she keeps parading admission officers in front of me like it’s gonna make me fall in love with the idea of college or something.” By the time Kie stopped talking, a whole new set of tears were streaming down her face and her voice cracked on the last words. But she felt such relif to finally tell someone how she was feeling.
Pope pulled her a little closer to him and Kie rested her head on his shoulder.“If it makes you feel better, JJ probably doesn’t even know how to spell admission officer.” Pope said.
“He’s right. I don’t.” JJ replied which caused Kie to laugh a little.
If there was one thing the Pogues knew how to do was make her laugh, no matter the situation.
“Have you told your mom how you feel?” John B asked her.
“No.” Kie said.“She has these dreams of me getting into some Ivy League college and I- I just don’t want to upset her.”
“Maybe you should talk to her?” JJ offered.
Kie took a long, deep breathe. Her mom had been her saving grace during her depression. But Kie could already picture the hurt on her mom’s face after she’d told she wasn’t interested in any of the schools her mom wanted her to attend.
“Whatever you decide to do, we’re always gonna be here for you Kie.” JJ said, placing his hand on top of her’s.
“Yeah.” John B agreed.“Pogues for life. You’re never gettin’ rid of us.”
“Once a pogue, always a pogue.” Pope added.
“C’mon.” JJ said as he stood up. He offered his hand to Kie and pulled her up onto her feet.“Let’s go back to the chateau and watch some shitty movie. This party is dead anyway.” He slung his arm across Kie’s shoulder and she leaned on him as they walked out of the Boneyard.
“I love you guys.” Kie said glancing at her three best friends.
“We love you too.” John B replied with a smile.
JJ looked over at Kie before he took off sprinting.“Last one day back to the chateau sleeps on the floor.” He hollered over his shoulder.
The Pogues glanced at each other before running after him. Opening up to the Pogues certainly hadn’t fixed everything but knowing she had them to talk to if she needed made her feel better, even thought they really were knuckleheads half the time.