Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Uni and anxiety


Today I thought I'd write something a bit more serious. Something that I find quite difficult to talk about. That something is Anxiety, however more specifically to do with study.

Anxiety is something everyone experiences at least once in their lives. However some unlucky people like me suffer from it quite severely. For me Anxiety isn't just something that will just go away, it will always be there. However I learn to cope with it in different ways. Everyone experiences anxiety in a deferent way, and different situations or things trigger it for different people.

 I've had anxiety quite severely throughout high school, going many sleepless nights having episodes of panic attacks and feeling extremely overwhelmed. Moving to Australia has never been easy for me, learn a completely new language at age eleven through the use of picture books. That way I could learn how to spell and putting a name to a face so to speak. At this point everything just seemed a blur. I had to learn everything as quickly as possible within a year what every other normal kid would've learned and picked up in their 5 years of school, before I started high school. I think thats where I put the most pressure on myself and making friends wasn't so easy. My social skills weren't great, because I couldn't form proper coherent long sentences together, however my writing did progress. 

Instead of talking to the few friends I made, I would tend to listen to them instead. Trying to work out what they were saying and keeping up with conversation, Because of that I really struggled to fit in. All my friends were loud and outgoing while I would usually sit listening to what they would have to say, because I could never quite put into words what I really wanted to express. Ten years on and i've still remained quite timid. Enjoying listening to others peoples conversations. Don't get me wrong I do like to talk, i'm just not very good at conversation. 

Anyway back the point, when I finished high school. I knew that university wasn't a pathway I wanted to go. I didn't want to put so much stress and anxiety on myself again. Instead I decided to go traveling. Go back to Holland and visit my old friends and family that i hadn't seen for 7 years and explore parts of Europe I hadn't been too before. I knew my anxiety would stop me from going to places if I would go and do it alone, so thankfully one of my friends I made was just as keen on a gap year herself. (Maybe if anyone is interested I might write a blog post about Travel Anxiety). Thankfully she put up with my stressful self and we had an amazing time traveling around.

It wasn't until after I had come back from my travels, that I really started to feel unsure of myself and what I wanted to do. I previously had jobs in hospitality and office work and I knew that wasn't really the path I wanted to take. The battle between studying further was a definite struggle, but I knew If i wanted to go somewhere in my life I needed to do some form of study.

So that's where it takes us now in the present. I've got a certificate IV in photography in my pocket and I've almost made it through my entire first year of my Bachelor. It's been quite a journey, i'm not going to lie and there have been many times I wanted to throw in the towel. Instead i'm keeping my head held high. Most of my year has been spent struggling to get through my assignments and tough units, trying to avoid course work because my heart accelerate looking or even thinking about a particular assignment or course. Usually my mind goes all foggy and I can't concentrate. I honestly can't possibly try to explain to you how I managed to get this far. Even though there have been multiple times I told myself I would and change courses, but i'm still here. I might struggle through the next couple of years, but I also know that I can't let my fears stop me from living and achieving things in life.

I think the most important aspect of it all is to remember that it's ok to ask for help from othera around you. Don't look at what the other students achieving around you. Instead set a goal of what you think is achievable for yourself. When you start feeling very uncomfortable in your skin, go and do something that will take your mind off of it ( at this part it becomes hard, because there have been multiple times that I have struggled to stay calm without instantly feeling very jumpy and anxious with adrenaline when even thinking about the assessment, knowing that I have to get back to it). Take your time, it might take longer than most people to completely a certain task or assessment, but allow yourself the time so that when you know you can't look at it today, you have enough time to complete whatever it is you need to do another time. Take one step at a time so that you can hand it in before the due date.
The most important thing I need to remind myself is that Anxiety isn't me. Even though anxiety feels like it does control me, I am not anxiety. I am somebody just like you, who suffers from anxiety. 

I hope this was helpful for some of you. Just know that you are not alone. I'm only a message away.

Until next time,

Nicole xx