Sorry it’s been a while since my introductory post, things have been pretty crazy at work and at home. With Christmas around the corner, every spare ounce of my time is being spent sifting through online shopping sites trying to find the perfect gifts for my family. And then every work day is full to the brim with work, because the end of the year is always busy. Anyway… today I wanted to speak with you about my anxiety… the good and the bad.
‘Good?’ I hear you say… Yes, good. Every cloud has a silver lining!
I know that a lot of you out there will be in various stages with your anxiety, which is why throughout this series I will try my best to cover every step, and offer advice to help you get out of that mental rut. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am, but that’s because I had no one there giving me the right advice.
First of all, a little more about my journey. I have taken this from an article I wrote back in May on Huffington Post- called Deciding to be Happy.
I have always been a smart person, and I’m not saying this in a big-headed manner. I was always top of my classes at school, and I passed my A-Levels well enough to go on and start a Chemistry BSc (Hons) Degree. My family of course have always expected me to do well, purely because I had always done well in the past, but I think sometimes people can forget that you are only human. Everyone has a limit, and it seemed for me, that my third year of my degree was mine.
Of course this was hard to admit, considering I had been pegged to be a Bachelor of Science by my parents and my friends for a number of years, but it wasn’t to be. I knew that everybody I knew would be disappointed, but one day I just woke up and didn’t care anymore. Why should I spend my time doing something which makes me so utterly miserable? As a 20 year old woman, I had my whole life to figure out my talent, and this clearly wasn’t it. After the final year, I didn’t care when my results came back with failed units. This was no longer my life. I let go of it.
This was a difficult step, especially facing the pity of my family and friends when I myself was relieved I had failed. But this was my first big step to happiness, and I took it with a sense of anticipation. The world was my Oyster, I just had to find my niche.
So, essentially life had guided me in a direction which I wasn’t suited to at all, but I was too scared to admit it at the time. All the way through school we are told that in order to get a successful job and be happy, we need to go to university, and we believe them. It’s actually pretty sad that society takes advantage of the younger generation and essentially industrialises them into thinking there’s no way to get anywhere in life without good grades and a degree. For me, I have always been someone who REALLY cares what people think of me, and so I would put 110% into every piece of school work in order to get that gratification from my teachers. Looking back on it now, it’s a pretty twisted way of life.
What I want to show you in this series is that this isn’t the case. I mean, certainly in some areas of work you do need the education- like Doctors, Lawyers and Engineers- but there are so many careers that you can build on your own. You can take your passion, your talent and your skill- and use it for something good. In my opinion, we have these skills for a reason, and what’s the point at being great at something if we don’t use it
Some are born with great memory, some with skilled hands, and some with creative minds. It’s so important to hone in on your passion and do something with it. You love art? Sell some prints. You love to write? Write a book or start a blog! Anything is possible if you want it enough.
Back to anxiety. As I explained above, my anxiety really stems from my constant need to please everyone. If someone doesn’t like me, I really take it to heart. I used to stay up until 10-11pm on a school night doing my homework, making sure it was perfect before I handed it in. You could call me a perfectionist, but I couldn’t help it. I had to try and stay in control of what I could, because as a teenager you aren’t really in control of anything.
I’ve never had many friends. I went to a primary school 5 minutes from my house and my class consisted of 13 year 6’s and 9 year 5’s. So moving to a school which had around 120 students in year 7 was difficult, especially because I was the only person from my primary school to pass my 11+ and move on to Grammar School. I had gone from being bubbly, loud and confident- to shy, scared and anxious in one swoop. I was alone.
In my first few weeks, a few girls took pity on me and invited me to spend time with them, but they soon got bored and I was left alone with one other girl who was just as shy as me. I eventually made a few friends- one of which is still my best friend today- but I didn’t share any classes with them. This led me to be quiet and sit at the front of the class in every lesson for the next 5 years, and when I decided to stay on for college I did the same. I suppose I’m a creature of habit, and the more I was left on my own, the more I craved to be alone. It’s a vicious cycle.
At this point I just want to say to any of you who are just starting school or college, try your best to make one friend. You don’t need a gaggle of people around you to be happy, one close friend is worth 10 acquaintances. You never know, you might stay friends for life!
Anxiety has affected my life in many ways over the years, but one good thing has come out of it. My creativity. Because I spend so much of my time locked in my own thoughts, my mind is always coming up with a ton of business ideas, and at any one time I have about 4 post-it notes on my desk with random thoughts noted down. Which is why I want to end today’s post with this:
Is there anything good you think has come out of your anxiety? Let me know below!