Saturday, 12 September 2015

I'm stuck

I don't think I've ever done 'chatty' blog posts on here yet, I don't quite know why. It might be because I want this blog to be all about the nice things in my life, the happy memories, the photos that inspire me and I hope you as well. Yup, you've guessed it, I'm a perfectionist and letting people down would be my greatest unhappiness (extra extra points for whoever gets that movie reference).

This blog post will be a tad different, bear with me, since I spontaneously decided to share my experiences with anxiety and where I'm currently at.

Until today at 4 am, I was on holiday. A holiday I had been waiting for for years, one that I knew I was going to enjoy every minute of and a complete break, body and soul, from all the daily stress and worries. I only managed 10 days until anxiety kicked in.

February 2013 was when it all started, during my AS-level exam mocks. If anything, I had my fair shares of exams by that time; in 2010 I sat both entrance exams at my London school (for which I had no prep available) and national exams as well as Cambridge English language proficiency diploma and subject olympiads...all of which I did pretty darn well in. I don't remember getting any anxiety back then, I just waltzed in, did the work and left without thinking about it too much. Who would have known that 3 years later I would cry uncontrollably of fear before going in an Art History mock. It wasn't even the real thing and panic seemed to swallow me whole.

It's not about passing or failing my exams, it was about how I felt, how worked up I would get weeks in advance, sleepless nights and the worse - the what ifs. My issues only seemed to worsen in the exam hall by the fact that I was sharing the oppressive silence with so many others and before anyone says it's just a bad case of the common exam syndrome, I care to refute that point with the fact that I was equally anxious of going to the cinema, theatre or any place from which I felt I could not escape if I suddenly couldn't breathe anymore and my mind turned into a little destructive tornado of negative thoughts.

Being a student still, my problem, whatever type of social anxiety this is, isn't solved. So far I have been blessed with a very open and loving family and some friends I can turn to for support and who I know won't judge me or make me feel littler, as well as a great pastoral team at school as well as university who have tried to accommodate me however much they could. You have no idea how much of a difference it makes to know you're not silly, or weak or ill or alone - sharing your anxiety will definitely feel like some of the burden is off your chest and that others will take care of you when you cannot.

'  sharing your anxiety will definitely feel like some of the burden is off your chest  '

That brings me to what I wanted to say from the very start of this post, which has been a furious click-clacking for me. You need to help yourself. If you suffer from anxiety you need to let yourself be helped. Your mind is the only one responsible for how you're feeling and training it to respond to anxiety triggers is pretty much the only way you can go on and live happily ever after, alongside your anxiety. Fear, for whatever reasons you're experiencing it, is natural, it's why we're humans, it's why we're here and in normal doses it's necessary. Strengthen your self belief and don't let it take over your life.

It's easier said than done, I know this as a fact and as an experience. For a while I was fine, I had gotten over my fear of the lecture theatre, I actually forgot about my anxiety during a really good play and have forced myself to go back to the opera that I love so much. It struck back when I expected it least, on holiday of all times when I wanted it to take the most backwards seat. One silly little message and I suddenly found myself, wide awake at 4 am, in a whirlwind of worry, a magnified version of my problems staring me right in the eyes.

What I guess I'm trying to say here is I'm sorry of posting won't happen until later on, I want to be the best version of myself on here and I don't feel that I am, currently, that. I would also like to say, to those of you reading this who have also had their encounter with anxiety, that it is OK to give yourself a break, to stop thinking about others and do everything you can to get yourself back on track, whether it's by having a day off, making a list or munching on a whole chocolate bar. The second is most effective but the third the most enjoyable...

'  It is OK to give yourself a break  '

It's kind of a big deal for me to blurt this out on the internet where I and everyone else can see but I don't think it's a weakness anymore, just a personal challenge I'm trying to win.

Please drop me a line down in the comments section if you also have anxiety and how you deal with it, your input will be much appreciated right now.  :)


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