//A not-so-happy ending?//

I really, really wanted to write a “its-the-end-of-the-acedemic-year-let’s-look-back-on-all-the-positive-things-that-have-happened” post, considering next Thursday I will receive my mock A Level exam results and it’ll be the end of term – aside from a few days of UCAS/univeristy application stuff, but the truth is I don’t feel happy, or relieved, or stress-free. If anything, I sort of feel kind of numb. I think with the hustle and bustle of the exam period, it’s easy to get caught up in things and distract yourself from how your emotions with the insurmountable workload that A Level revision encompasses, however since the exam week (a.k.a. last week), I’ve had more time to pay attention to my emotions and I guess you could say they’ve hit me in a sort of “wave”.

Now that the exams are over and I don’t have to worry about revising countless lists of French vocabulary or learning the order of British 20th Century Prime Ministers, my mind has found the time to start fretting over other things. One thing I’m really worried about is going on a college tip to France in two weeks. Although I am very excited, I’m also so worried that I’ll end up not enjoying the trip because I a) won’t be able to cope with the heat in Marseille, b) will panic when trying to speak French to native speakers and c) will be left out because there are only five other people going on the trip – collectively a trio and pair of best friends. I feel like I’ll just be left out of the group and be that person that no one really talks to and just tolerates because they have to, and honestly I’m becoming so irrationally paranoid about how hot it’s going to be that it’s driving me mad.

Secondly, I’m actually really not looking forward to breaking up for summer. I’ve already drifted apart from loads of my friends this year, and I feel like because they aren’t forced to put up with my on a daily basis at college, they’ll all just forget about me and I won’t see any of them throughout the summer. I do have a group of friends that I am closer with and meet up with every now and then, but they’ve all recently got into relationships and even now I hardly see them or talk to them because they’re preoccupied with their boyfriends/girlfriends, so who knows what it’ll be like over summer. I keep having those days lately where I feel like my friends don’t actually care about me and would much rather that I wasn’t part of the “group” (or rather my brain keeps telling me to feel this way). I’m sort of fed up of every time when someone says hi to me or talks to me my brain telling me “oh they don’t like you really they’re just doing that so as not to seem rude” or “everyone talks about you behind your back” etc. I guess I’m just feeling kinda lonely as even my closest friends don’t spend as much time with me or talking to me as they used to as they’d rather send their time with other people. I’m just worried that I’ll become isolated over the summer which will NOT be fun.

Then recently I keep being really hard on myself, like today in French I kept thinking “there’s no way you’ll be able to do French at uni if you can’t even say a few words in class” and I’ve just become really doubtful of my ability to do anything. It’s not that I don’t want to speak up in class more – and not just in French – it’s just my brain is kind of “bullying” me in the sense that everything I want to do or say, it mocks and puts me down to the point that I just don’t bother because I’m scared that everyone else will judge me the way I judge myself. ARGHHH CONFUSION.

Finally, I’ve been very sad and emotional over the past week because last Friday, my good friend returned home to Italy after completing her year of studying abroad at my college. I’m so, so sad that I might not be able to see her again, or at least for a long time, and I miss her terribly already. College isn’t the same without her around – she is such a lovely, funny, caring person – something that is rare nowadays. I know we can keep in touch over the internet, but it’s just not the same. 😦

So yeah, although I should be really excited that my first year of A Levels is over, and I can spend the summer having a well-deserved break, I’m just not. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll feel better, but right now I’m just so exhausted and not going through a great mental health stage, which isn’t really how I wanted to end the year.

I hope next week I’ll be back with a more positive post, or maybe before then, but until then have a lovely weekend guys. 🙂

 

//Your life IS worth it//

I remember being 12, when I couldn’t wait until my 13th birthday when I would actually become a teenager and embark on what I thought would be the most amazing adventure, full of new experiences and new people. Five years down the line, I can say that I have had many extraordinary experiences and had some incredible times like 12-year-old me expected, but without a doubt I’ve also had some pretty low points, which I certainly wasn’t expecting. I think being a teenager is one of the most difficult phases of our lives, with pressures from school, family, friends, future plans – not to mention the challenges we face as our bodies and identities change and we discover – or start to discover – who we truly are.

To be honest, there have been times more recently where I have contemplated ending it all, because I didn’t see how all of this struggle would be worth it or how the future could possibly offer me anything to look forward to. I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I ashamed of all the low points I’ve experienced in my life because I know that there are many teenagers out there who will have felt the same way as me at some point in their lives, and that’s okay, because we’re all in this together. I am not alone in this, and neither are you.

I think it’s important that we talk more openly about our feelings. After all, no one tells you life will be easy, so why should we stay quiet to keep up appearances, when chances are most people will know where you’re coming from?

So this is me, talking about how I’ve been feeling recently, because I know that being open about this will not only help me, but there’s the possibility that I could help someone else too. So if that someone is you, if you’ve ever contemplated if your life is really worth whatever difficulties you may be facing, then I want to tell you that it is.

There are hundreds and thousands and millions of people who have gone through what you’re going through and made it out the other side to live happy lives. That doesn’t mean your struggles are any less significant, it just means that you can do this, because you are just as strong and just as worthy of happiness as every one of them.

One thing that gets me through hard times, is remembering that everything I’m going through now will help me to become stronger in the future and make me a more compassionate person and remembering all the things I’ve gone through in the past – however big or small – that felt impossible or unbearable gives me faith that I can get through this, as can you.

Sometimes it can be difficult, even impossible, to imagine life could possibly get better and how you could possibly feel genuine happiness. When it seems like everyone around you has got their life together, and you’re just stuck in a downward spiral of negative thoughts, it will be hard, but oftentimes people’s lives don’t seem as “together” as they do from the outside so you are most definitely not alone.

Within your teenage years it can feel like your under too much pressure from all angles of your life for such a small period of your lifespan, and I’m not going to deny that because it’s true, but what I will tell you is that you’ll some out the other side with so many happy memories of all the incredible things you did and all the fun you had, and you’ll take away from the low points a greater understanding of what it is to be human, a greater compassion for others and a greater appreciation for all the little things in life that have the power to make you happy.

Basically, I’d like to tell you that your life is worth it, you are worth it. You all have amazing futures awaiting you and you have so much potential that you will achieve in one capacity or another. You will meet people who appreciate you and love you. And if it feels like some things in your life aren’t going the way you want, it’s never, ever because you don’t deserve it, or deserve to be happy, it’s because you deserve so much better than that, and it takes time for life to give you what you deserve. But I can tell you that it will be worth it all in the end.

I hope in some way this may have been helpful to you. If not, it has been helpful to me to be more open about my thoughts and this is something I will look back on in the future to remind me of a time when I felt like life was unbearable, but searched for a more optimistic outlook and struggled on through. If I can, I’d like to say that I’m proud of myself for writing this. It’s not the most coherent or logical pieces of writing, it’s just me trying to reach out and make a difference, because if there is anything that my recent mental health has taught me, it’s that I want to use my voice to show others that they’re not alone.

 

//My experience of educational-related stress//

​Stress. It’s something that most of us will suffer with at some point in our lives, and something that I feel we don’t talk about enough. I mean, it’s almost become something meaningless that sort of crops up in any general conversation about school or education – for example sometimes I’ll have a catch up with friends I don’t see often, and we’ll ask each other how college is going and just give a generic reply of “oh it’s okay, apart from the stress” but never elaborate on the stress, and I think it’s something that we should talk about more, because it can have huge impacts on the lives and health of young people.

It’s no secret that education has been reformed over the past 10, 20 and even 50 years, and I don’t know about other countries, but from my experience here in the UK, education has definitely become a lot harder, especially the examination system, and this has lead to a simultaneous increase in the amount of pressure and stress young people feel. 
One of the hardest things about trying to cope with educational-related stress as a young person, is that it’s hard for our parents to sympathise with us and really understand what we’re going through, because certainly in the case of my parents, education was a lot different back then, and although they still had some exams, they can’t remember having to work constantly, or revise for a prolonged period before their exams. For example, sometimes I get so stressed about the amount of work to do, that I can’t physically do it because my stress starts to affect my mental well-being, and I just don’t have the energy to work, or can’t focus on anything, and end up in a state of panic. In these times, my parents suggest to just take a break, postpone my work and tell me for the 1 billionth time that I spend far too much time working than is necessary. For me this just makes the situation worse, as postponing work just means it keeps piling up and up until I’m stuck in a situation where I just have too much to do in a the amount of time I have, and telling me I work too hard just makes me agitated, because even though I do do a lot of work, there is still so much more I need to do, I am no where near on top of my studies and the work I am doing isn’t effective as there is so much information I need to know that I can’t physically cram it into my brain – I basically forget everything five minutes after revising it, and my parents don’t understand that. 
I suffer from stress to the point where I constantly feel on edge, as if I’m about to snap at any moment, whether that be shouting at someone for no apparent reason or bursting into to tears. I’m sure I’m not alone, in fact, I know I’m not alone, because my friends and you guys are the only people who understand the stress we’re put through because of education, and we’re all too preoccupied with our own stress to help each other more than offering a few comforting words of “it’s okay, I understand”. 
I think it’s important to talk about stress more, because then maybe (it’s a long shot but we can hope) the government will realise that the pressure that the education system puts on us is not healthy. 
Honestly, I don’t know how long I can go on like this, stuck in this constant spiral of stress and fear. I don’t even know if I’ll pass this year or end up having to retake, I’m working as hard as I can, and as my parents say that’s all I can do, but the truth is it just. Isn’t. Enough. Not according to the new A Levels system anyway. And I know grades aren’t everything, but the constant fear of failing is always in the back of my head, because it’s been drilled into us for years that we need to get good grades. 

I’m not really sure what I wanted to achieve out of this post, I just wanted to let you know that if you too are suffering from stress, then you are most certainly not alone in this.