This is how it started.


Photo Credit: michael.heiss

Awake, late at night, for no apparent reason. Just some strange obligation to do more than I have or haven’t, usually compensation for a lazy day. This is how my anxiety issues really started to affect my studies.

It confused me because I thought myself somewhat of a confident person, or confident-ish. I wasn’t socially awkward; sometimes unsocial for lack of wanting to make the effort, but shyness was rarely the reason.

Yet, night after night, here I sat; laptop on top of lap, eyes half-shut (or opened if you’re optimistic), doing something about nothing.

Now when you have so much time to yourself, you’re either, one, planning to take over the world by becoming some business mogul (I was not),  or two, wondering how you have not yet taken over the world, leaving you feeling a failure (that’s more like it). You give yourself time to think, go into the deepest, darkest parts of your mind. That’s what I did, it’s what I do.

I have a crude, dangerous, ungrateful mind, that will suck the positive out of every thought and progressive action I do.

I did not complete my second year at university (although I cling on to my good first semester grades to remind myself I’m capable).

You see, for me to have completed my second year at university, I would have had to attend lessons, something I could not convince myself to do, I could barely convince myself to leave the room. I lived off dry foods because that meant I didn’t have to store it in the fridge, which was in a shared kitchen. If I were studying a degree in isolation, I might have passed, I study PUBLIC relations. The irony.

I had to make bargains with myself as to why it would be a good idea to go and get food. If someone ever needed an example of self-sabotage there it is. I’m sure there are words out there to label what I was doing to myself. Sometimes I was aware, other times not so much.

One thing that did get me out was when I had a meeting with my counsellor. It had a very strong effect on me, clearly more so than food, it was a moment to get out of my head. Plus I got the right woman, she was just so softly spoken, soothing in comparison to my voice that was becoming suicidal and darker.  I strongly urge people to talk. Talk to someone who will just listen, without judging, just encourage.  I respect any university for ensuring such a service exists for their students.

The second, a family member or friend that will put you before your studies. My mother does not always say the right things (we#ll say she’s humorously inappropriate), but when I really needed her, she did.

She told me a degree is not worth your life.

This thing I was getting upset about, this vicious circle I had somehow managed to find myself in was not worth dying for.

I can’t tell you the relief it had on me.

I recently saw a quote that I want to share:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

I would have never seen this as the path I would be taking or that life would pan out this way, but it has. I still throw away the notion that I was/am mentally ill because I feel it takes away from me. I’m still learning that it doesn’t, it adds to who I am.

It is who I am.

It will all be okay and I will be okay.