Without blowing my own trumpet I have always been moderately intelligent & very much a hard worker. Education didn’t come easy to me but I was always above average- I worked extremely hard to perfect myself. I have always loved writing therefore doing an English degree was an obvious choice for me.
High School was hard. The best and worst time of my short life.
My first ever anxiety attack was the year of my GCSES in my English class- my teacher screamed, I was at the front of the class and seemed to get the brunt of her spitty screaming. I thought I was going to be sick, All I knew was that I had to get out the class I thought I was going to be stuck being sick in front of the class. Ironically English was my favourite lesson, all my friends were in this class, we had a lot of fun, but we also were top set so were pressured more than we needed to be, fun wasn’t allowed, stop talking- it was all about getting an A or A*- to be honest every subject I did was like this. Grades are important but honestly nowhere near as much as they pretended they were in school. My mental health was torn apart from the pressures of getting good grades for the school. I put so much pressure on myself, I knew I could & should do well. I revised an obsessive amount, all day everyday. I was becoming very anxious & it frustrates me still now to know I spent so much time working so hard and didn’t do as aswell as I should have due to my own anxieties.
– Friends: In school some of the people you think are going to be your ‘friends’ for life, frankly aren’t. School was a super sociable place which was great. When I was well I had so much fun, had tonnes of friends. I met such a mixture of people: all cultures & financial backgrounds it definitely helped sculpt who I am now & what I believe in. There were some truely lovely friends I made in school- who now I have little to no contact with-I’d like to be in contact with them now, unfortunately being mentally unwell I pushed people away. Took a lot personally. I’m not really that person anymore & at the time I didn’t really see things from any perspective other than from my own. High school has ALOT of pressures to fit in. People do what they can to please the ‘leader.’ Boarderline bullying. Subtle bullying as I say. If you’re in a friendship group then it can’t be bullying right? Wrong. People want to please, if that means being nasty to someone to impress others, they will. You could be the loveliest person in the world when you’re young but fear of not being in the ‘ popular’ group simply means you will do anything to make yourself the funny one, the most popular person, you don’t voice your own opinions even if you disagree with what is being spoken about. Atleast in my experience anyway. There is a lot of bitchiness, girls get a lot of hate in school and should have each other’s backs, unfortunately we were all too young to know this.
For around two years I was having 3,4 panic attacks a day – and when I say a panic attack I mean, I’d pass out, drop to the floor, hyperventilate so much I’d throw up, poop myself, have pins and needles all over my face & hands & not be able to see anything- you get the picture. Some friends were great. Some not so much. When you’re young and struggling to understand what’s going in yourself it’s a scary concept knowing your friends don’t really know what to do either. I was left alone hyperventilating on the floor many a time. I became friends with people I probably wouldn’tve been friends with if I wasn’t found by them on the floor multiple times. It was annoying I get it. At the time I took it to the heart. Now, not so much I can see that the social pressures of school means you are there to have fun with your friends and look cool- not sit with the weirdo collapsed on the floor for the 3rd time that day. I was no longer fun- I was more serious- boring! So to those few old friends that checked up on me even if it was just once it meant a lot. I think about you a lot.❤️ I don’t hate the people in school who treated me badly. How could I expect others to understand what was going on if I didn’t know what to do myself. They were young. They didn’t mean it. I just hope if anything as crappy as those few years of my life happens to them they have a good support network. Good friends and perhaps more knowledge now. This post would be fabulous to read if you’re still in school & your friends are ‘being a bit weird’ ‘not talking to you’ ‘not coming to school’ ‘cancelling plans’ etcetc…
– Grades- I have always set myself very high expectations & I used to meet them. It is through being mentally sick where my A grade would slip to a B grade then my B grade to a C. The amount of pressure put onto school kids these days is crazy, let alone the added pressures I’d give myself. (I’d like to do another post on anxiety techniques and stuff like that as now I feel like I’m out the other side and my anxiety disorders don’t effect me in the same way on a daily basis).
Teachers always used to say if you put the work in then you’ll get the results you deserve. I disagree. That’s not the case. Yes you need to revise, but don’t over do it, don’t doubt your first answer in an exam, always have time for fun & relaxing aswell as studying. Guilt comes from doing no work at all. I was so overwhelmed-stressed. I did 10 subjects, was taking my Grade 7 Clarinet & living the life of a teen. I was predicted 10 A’s & A*s- despite the efforts I put in, my anxiety took over. I was diagnosed with panic disorder the year of my GCSES & received A*, A, A, B, B, C, C, C, C, D- or something similar. (I tend to block this time of my life out) Now these grades sound okay still. The pressure I put on myself meant that I did not get C’s. I wanted more than that. I wanted A’s. Acheiving a B wasn’t an achievement for me. It sounds so silly now as no one gives a flying monkey about your GCSE grades & to be honest no ones really asked for my Alevel results either! Why as an anxious 16 year old I was brain washed to think my whole life depended on 23 exams in the space of a month is beyond me. I passed out or had a panic attack in pretty much every single exam I did. Walking to school everyday I’d be sick, poop myself or simply have a breakdown and not be able to walk anymore. I was agoraphobic by this point. (Big open spaces, people, the outdoors NO THANKS) My amazing friends mum drove me to school a lot during my exam period and I am eternally grateful. She drove from the opposite side of town to pick me up. It was the little things that helped get me to school. Yet anxious little me still felt ridiculously claustrophobic in her car & if the windows weren’t open I’d start having a meltdown.
– Teen stresses: I felt I was so unattractive. Anytime I got a spot I’d be so self conscious of it. I’d carry blotting sheets everywhere (scared my nose would get oily) I had really bad excema on my eyes, although honestly I’m sure it wasn’t actually that bad! I’d have perfume, deodorant and body spray to hand- I didn’t want to be the smelly girl. My boobs were huge I was an E in year 7 & all the other girls still had little crop tops. I honestly was sososo sweaty all the time I’d never take my blazer off incase I had sweat patches?! I’d rather sit and boil. Although we did have stupid rules about Blazers in our school and they were very rarely allowed to be taken off anyway. PERIODS!!!! (I’m going to do a lovely post about this soon for those of you who are embarrassed to talk about women’s anatomy and nature – grow up or steer clear of that post!)
– Achievements: Don’t get me wrong I loved school, I was a huge goody two shoes… always the one winning every award, getting all the badges & having their work printed out and handed to other students- it was embarrassing, I wasn’t proud I was embarrassed. Be proud of how well you do. As I’ve got older I’ve realised it was not the norm to be on every sports team, partake in drama productions, play instruments etcetc.. be proud you learnt these things. Be proud of your hobbies in school. You’ll miss them tonnes when you leave. I was the captain of the hockey team for 5 years of school. I haven’t played since the day I left. I wish I kept it up, I tried to attend hockey practice at uni. LOL my body didn’t like that- couldn’t walk for two weeks no joke. I loved it though. Having a chronic health condition means I cannot play hockey, netball, basketball anymore- hopefully in the future I’ll get better but for now there’s no way. I wish I kept them up for longer after school.
– Teachers: Now there’s definitely the good ones and the bad ones. Being a teacher is hard. It sucks. You don’t get paid for the amount of effort, hours and love you put into your job. My mum was a teacher for 22 years and never ever would I be able to do it after watching the 7:15am-19:00pm days she’d be working, let alone the whole evening of marking to follow. I applaud anyone who manages to get through a teaching degree and into class.
To be a good teacher you need to love it from your heart. I had a few teachers in high school who I’ll always remember for this. The ones who scream down the corridor are frankly a joke. There were teachers who really cared, they knew their students and what worked for individuals. The ones I remember are the ones who set aside their classroom at lunchtime for you fill it with fairy lights, blankets, meditation music- let you cry to them all day everyday, let you miss lessons because they can see you’re too stressed to go, sit with you while they paint their nails in their free period. The teacher who’d sign you off all day because they know you’re feeling overwhelmed with a project- the ones who’d find a one to one to sit with you for days on end helping you emotionally and educationally with coursework. These teachers although probably would get in trouble for all these things. They were the best teachers. You’d learn the most in their lessons because of the upmost respect you’d have for them. Screaming at me is either going to make me laugh at you and not do work or cry and not do work. You won’t win.
As a teacher in a Secondary School just know the kids are going to talk about you. Positively or negatively. If you spend all day reading from textbooks or whiteboards, screaming, reading grades out infront of the class, picking on the quiet kids with anxiety to speak out loud. You’re an imbecile. No one will like you. People won’t learn anything. You’ll destroy self esteem. Get creative, make learning fun. I have a handful of teachers in school I remember for simply knowing their students & not just their name. Having a good lesson plan that doesn’t revolve around revising for an exam in a traditional sense.
– Now: Things do get better. They will get better. I’m a different person now compared to who I was. Feeling rubbish doesn’t last forever it comes in waves. Make the most of your school experience, be happier in yourself and have your own opinions on the world. Join every club you can, if you don’t like if after you’ve tried it find something else you might enjoy. Keep it going after school if you can. Live and learn. Don’t be embarrassed of enjoying studying, just because it isn’t cool. Don’t be agreeable just because someone doesn’t like a subject or doesn’t try in a subject doesn’t mean you should be the same. English. No one liked it. I loved it- I studied it at degree level. I feel like I definitely wasted the last two years of school feeling anxious and sad instead of throwing myself into things- getting chatting to boys, going on more days out with my friends & enjoying time as a teen properly. Don’t regret anything x