My blog has always been a creative outlet for me. Whether it’s sharing a recipe, reviewing a new lipstick or sometimes sharing the photos I’ve taken on a lovely day out. I very rarely post long rambles about personal topics, but I’m afraid today is one of those days. You might want to grab a cuppa and get comfy…
I feel like something I’ve always struggled with, even since I was little, is putting too much pressure on myself. I remember in primary school I was so terrified of my weekly maths lessons that one day they had to call my parents as I was hysterically crying and refusing to enter the classroom. And, looking back now, that was probably my first ever panic attack.
It turns out that the reason that I was so anxious about that lesson was because I just couldn’t understand it, and I hated that. As someone who isn’t particularly pretty or sporty or outgoing, I’ve always felt as though the only thing I can impress people with is my intelligence. And when even that failed me, I just felt useless.
Unfortunately, that unhealthy way of thinking has never really left me, and 4 years of GCSE and A Level exams finally led me to a breaking point. That last year of A Levels was probably the hardest and most exhausting time of my life. I would have panic attacks at least twice a day, could barely leave the house (let alone make it into lessons), and the whole time was crippled with constant anxiety which fed me lies 24/7: you’re going to fail every exam, you’re not smart enough, you won’t get into University, why would they even want you?
It was the toughest fight of my life, and there were times that I nearly gave up, but I finished the year, got through every exam without a panic attack (which was a bloody miracle) and ended up getting A*AB. I’m incredibly proud of myself for that achievement, and try to remind myself of it regularly.
When I decided to take this gap year, I thought that all of these worries would be behind me. I’d have no exams to worry about, no pressure, an unconditional offer for University and a year off to relax and have fun. Unfortunately, anxiety is a bitch. A bitch that likes to manipulate and change itself as soon as you get the courage to overcome it.
Everyone always tells me, but you have nothing to worry about! Alas, it isn’t exactly that simple, and any other anxiety sufferer will totally understand this.
What’s even worse is that I know I’m being silly and that half of these things aren’t even worth fretting over, but fighting a constant stream of anxious thoughts is exhausting. Try getting through a day free of worry when your own brain is playing tricks on you, it’s pretty much impossible.
Last year, my anxiety fed on my determination to do well in my exams. This year, it’s feeding on everything that I do.
There has been a massive shift in my personal life recently, and while I’m trying my best to adapt I’m also feeling the weight of trying to keep everyone happy, and I’m struggling a lot more than I wish to admit.
When I come home from work I play the mistakes over and over in my head, trying to figure out how I could have handled it differently, how I could have prevented it.
I worry about my body constantly. I workout five times a week, and nothing has changed. I look in the mirror and just feel like crap. I’ve even gotten too scared to step on the scales in case the number’s gotten even higher and I have to spend the entire day worrying that people are staring at me and judging.
And now, especially, I’m feeling the pressure of keeping up this blog. I love blogging, and I love how it allows me to express my creativity and opinions. But in the last few weeks I just can’t bring myself to write anything because I just don’t feel good enough. On a platform that’s so saturated with beautiful, successful women who take amazing photos and write such a high standard of content, I just can’t help but compare myself and think, why do I even bother?
I know that all of these things are so petulant and ridiculous when there are people in the world who are living in poverty, people who are being abused or even killed for living their true identities. There are people who have been forced to flee their own country for fear of their own safety, and here I am hunched over my laptop in tears because I’m too afraid to leave the house and get my prescription.
But that’s the problem with anxiety, it makes you irrational. One day I’ll be a mess on the floor because the thought of taking a train into Cardiff on my own turns my legs into jelly, and the next I’ll be on the train home wondering why on earth I was in such a state.
I’m sorry that this is such a negative post, but sometimes I think you just need to be honest when you’re struggling. And although this post has been really hard to write, and I’ve typed and deleted so many paragraphs, I actually feel so much better for letting it all out. Maybe it’s something I need to do more often on here.
For anyone else out there struggling with anxiety, or even if you’re just feeling a bit shit, I’m with you. And we’re gonna be okay.