Thursday, 19 November 2015

Speaking In Front Of The Class!?

This time 2 years ago, or even 1 year ago simply the idea of speaking or reading in front of the class would strike fear into my heart. I would never even put my hand up in class and when I had to read something I would go bright red and stutter on the words even though I could obviously read very well, but for some reason I could not even get the words out quickly enough.

Today I had to read a paragraph from the textbook in Psychology and what I didn't realise until after I'd finished reading, was that I wasn't anxious or red in the face, or sweating or stuttering. I'd read the paragraph without having to stop to find the words. I'd just read it without even thinking about the fact that I was in a classroom with other people looking and listening.

Since starting sixth form I put my hand up to answer questions multiple times in a lesson and I get that satisfying feeling of getting the answer right. And for the first time I don't get embarrassed if I get the answer wrong, because it doesn't bother me anymore. Although my Psychology class only has 6 people in it and my R.S class only has 10 thats still more people than I've ever felt comfortable speaking in front of before.

I guess if I look back just 2 years to when I was in year 11, I'm almost a completely different person. I'm so much more confident in myself than I've ever been before. Actually I wouldn't say I'm a completely different person. I'm still the same person but all the stuff I wanted to do and say before but I couldn't because I was so anxious, I do and say now. I just wish I was able to find my confidence when I was going through high school because if I'm honest, I might have actually enjoyed it.

I'm not saying that anyone who doesn't like speaking in front of a class should just go and do it. I think it's up to you what you want to do and what you don't because there's nothing worse than having other people telling you what YOU should do. But if you feel like you can just do it once, I would go for it. Even though, in that situation I never did, I wish I had. But at the same time,if its something so scary then don't do it. But it is very satisfying when you answer a question and you're right :)

I hope reading this little story of mine has given you some hope that you won't always be stuck with anxiety and I'd love to know whether anyone has had any similar experiences. So please leave a comment below if you want to because that would make me super happy :)

Thanks for reading,

Bye x

Monday, 16 November 2015

Too Much Work!

I have now been going to school all day, every day for a good 3 or 4 weeks now. Which is 8:35 till 4:25. Now I am only doing 2 A-levels which is less than most people but that is still A LOT of work. I have about 3 free-periods every day on average and I am still working all through most of them. So that is constant essay writing and reading for almost 8 hours every day. Excluding break and lunch of course which mostly consists of eating cake and drinking coffee from the new fancy machine we have at school. But when I get home just before 5, I am mega super tired which gets hard when that is every day.

My tactics for dealing with all the work is trying to get all my school work and homework done actually at school if I can, which is usually doable. This means that when I get home I can just chill out an watch tv or play on the computer or eat crumpets. I also have a shower when I get in from school because its just really nice to have a warm shower (because I don't have a bath) and get into my pyjamas as soon as I get home. I also try to be in bed with the lights off by 10pm since I have to get up at 7am and I need my sleep! Sleep is your friend so the more sleep the better in my opinion :)

That was a brief little summary of how I deal with the amount of school work there is at A-level and general school. I hope you enjoyed it

Thanks for reading

Bye x

Saturday, 10 October 2015

All Day!

Soooooo I've been going to school everyday for about 5 weeks now, and on Thursday I had my first full day, doing all my lessons, staying right through till 3:30. I had 3 lessons and I also helped with the R.E conference taking people round. And I even told off some students from other schools for going out of bounds.

For me, going in for a full day so quickly is a HUGE achievement. I haven't had a whole day in school for about 2 years. And just 5 weeks into a new school I'm doing what I couldn't even do at a school I'd been at for 5 years!

The friends I've made have been so kind and understanding towards me which has helped SO MUCH. The school haven't been on my back about attendance either I've just been allowed to come and go as much or as little as I want. I've been staying for lunch as well pretty much everyday for the last couple of weeks.

I'm so happy and proud of myself :) This week coming up I think I'm aiming to do 2 or 3 full days. And to be honest the thing I'm finding the hardest now is having to get up early to get out the door at 8:00 every morning! But I can get coffee at break times so that keeps me from falling asleep mid way through a lesson xD

Thanks for reading x

Bye x

Monday, 31 August 2015

Managing Back To School Anxiety

There are just a few days until a new school year begins. This is pretty much the first year in my entire 12 year school career that I haven't been completely anxious all the time for the whole week before school. And even though there isn't that anxiety there for me this year, I know that for loads of people, that anxiety is there. So I wanted to share some tips for managing it.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the worst thing for me was that I kept it bottled up until literally the day before school. You think, at the time you just need to get on with it because it always happens and you don't really know any different. But if you just talk to someone, it will help. It's very likely that your school has a support centre kind of thing. And if you just tell your mum or dad they can talk to the school about it on the first day, maybe even before, if your school has a non-pupil day before term starts. Which is exactly what I did 2 years ago when I was going into year 11.

When I was about to start back in year 11, I'd just received my Physics GCSE result which was below my target grade and I was worried that I'd get in trouble for not getting the result the teachers said I should've got. I realise now, that the grade I got was still good but when you see that target grade on a piece of paper and then your actual grade next to it, it seems like a huge deal. 

If you're worrying about forgetting something you need for school, make a list. I don't know about you but making a list in a super nice notebook is quite satisfying. And even once you've made your list if you're still in doubt ask someone else if they they can see anything you've forgotten. And I've found that I remember everything thats actually really important (pencil case, bag, folder...).

I hope that those couple of tips I shared will help a bit. If anyone wants to ask me a question about going back to school feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to get back to you.

Thanks for reading,

Bye x

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Starting A New School

I know that it's not like I'm moving half way through the year. But it is still technically moving schools. Most people from my high school split between three of four different colleges, so there's a fair amount of people who know each other moving to the same school together. But I went into my new school not knowing anyone at all. I could've gone to the same school as everyone else, but I didn't like the college. So I didn't.

I think one of the things that stops people from moving schools is the fact that they won't know anyone. But that was really not an issue for long. And to be honest, I really did make friends a lot quicker than I thought I would.

If you're unhappy at your school, don't stay put just because you think it'll be harder to move. If the place isn't right for you, find a place that is. You shouldn't have to be miserable and anxious throughout your whole school life.

Don't get me wrong, I made some great friends and I did have some great times with them. But like I've said before, being happy with your friends at break time is one thing being happy with school itself is another thing. I still keep in touch and meet up with my friends from high school, even though we don't go to the same school any more.

My advice to anyone who is unhappy at school and is thinking about moving. Just go look at a few schools. You will know pretty quickly whether that school is right for you. So just do the right thing for you. Don't be unhappy just because it feels like the easy way at the time. You'll be so much happier at a school that's right for you.

I hope this helped some of you if you're unsure about what to do.

Thanks for reading :)

Bye x

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

2 Years Later

It's taken me 2 years, but yesterday I spent a whole day at school. From 8:30 till 16:00. For a long time I honestly never thought I'd get to a point at which I would go to school and genuinely enjoy it completely. One thing is enjoying spending time with your friends at school. But for me there was always that anxiety at the back of my mind.

I'm starting at an all girls school, which generally means that lessons are quieter and the classes are smaller. The school goes right from reception to the end of sixth form. So there would be girls in the sixth form who might have been at the school for years already and some won't have been there for so long.

I was kind of nervous yesterday because I knew I would be the new girl. It just happened that the girl sitting next to me that got talking to me and introduced me to the rest of her friends. They were all really nice and I found out that they were pretty much doing the same subjects as me, which meant I would already know people in my lessons.

In the morning we had a study skills session, one of the things we had to do was write down 3 of our interests. It was then that I found out they were gamers just like me. Real nerds actually. I've never met any other girls who play video games, so as you can imagine I was over the moon. I already had so much in common with people I'd only met an hour ago.

In the afternoon we had a trip to the beach for the year group to get to know each other. There are only about 30 girls in my year so it was a nice group size. Even though everyone split into their little group of friends. We were able to go to the ice cream parlour to get an ice-cream, which is not anything I've ever done on an induction day before!

I had the best time yesterday. I finally felt like I was like everyone else, and that I didn't have to hide my anxiety away like I've been doing for years. It was just really nice to not feel anxious all the time.

This is a fresh start for me, I can be open about my difficulties, but leave the past behind.

This is going to be a GREAT couple of years.

Thanks for reading,

Bye x

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Why Dogs Are The Best!

Up until about 6 years ago I was absolutely terrified of dogs. Right from when I was little I wouldn't even walk past a dog, not even one that was on a lead. My Dad would have to carry me, that's how bad it was. When I was 10 my family decided to get a dog to hopefully help me get past my fear.

So in November 2008 (I think) my dad took me to visit a 13 day old labrador puppy. I knew right then that she was the dog for me. She was so small that I could hold her in two hands and she hadn't even opened her eyes for the first time yet.

10 year old me and 2 week old Leia :)

I think that day was probably the first time in years that I'd even touched a dog and now I was cuddling my own puppy.

We decided to name her Leia (like Princess Leia from Star Wars).

A few weeks later we brought Leia home for the first time and although she was still a baby she was already a giant for her age. And as most puppies are, she was bit crazy and liked to play bite a lot! Which, as you can imagine, was not ideal for me. We had this thing called a pet corrector which is basically an aerosol can that just sprays air at the dog, which makes them jump a bit. It's absolutely harmless.This was very useful for me to have because if Leia was trying to bite or was being a bit silly I could just spray it and she would stop.
2-3 months old.

 As Leia grew up I became more and more confident around other dogs. And now, 6 years later I absolutely love dogs and I honestly will never live without a dog in my life! I read books about dogs, when I see a dog out somewhere I always want to go as stroke it and find out what breed it is.

I love Leia to death! She is the most lovely, caring and sweet dog in the whole world even if she is a complete giant beast of a dog! People think she is a boy because of how huge she is!

I am not too big for this chair!
 When I'm having a bad day Leia is always there to give me hug or sneeze in my face. When I'm stressed or anxious I just need to sit with her and I feel calm again. Spending time with my dog always makes me very happy!
6 years and 3 days after I first met Leia!

For me, spending time just sitting with my dog definitely helps a great deal with my anxiety and stress levels. I don't ever need to say anything to her and she never says anything to me but Leia always seems to know when she's needed. I can just sit with her, quietly and I don't have to talk about what's got me down, or anxious, or stressed.

 I'd like to know whether any of you who have a dog feel the same way about spending time with your dog as I do. I'm pretty sure that it isn't just my dog that is amazing!

For anyone out there who is scared of dogs, I can totally sympathise. And I would 100% recommend getting a dog from a puppy if you want to overcome your fear. Not only did I get over my fear but I got a best friend in the process.

Thanks for reading,

Bye x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Keeping Calm: Art Therapy

For ages I was looking for something that I could do to help me when I'm feeling stressed and anxious. I just happened to be looking on Twitter and saw a link to the Art Therapy Colouring Books. So I ordered one of the books and got myself a nice range of colouring pencils.
This is the book!

And honestly, it's amazing. The books are designed for "grown ups". There are so many different designs, that are really detailed so each page is something you can spend time and concentrate on. So far I've only completed one page completely and it took me a couple of days to do it.
I went for an ombre look for my lion.

I think that because I'm concentrating on the page it makes me feel less stressed. It's the sort of thing that you can do whenever you feel like it, and you can pick and chose when you do it. There is also a section of the book for doodling.

Here is the link to the specific book that I have:

There are also a few other books from the same author that have slightly different colouring pages.

I ordered my book from Amazon for £9.09.

I know that there is also a quite big selection of art therapy books available in store at Waterstones.

These books are great and there is something for everyone and I highly recommend getting an Art Therapy Colouring Book. I love mine so much!

Thank you for reading!

Bye x

Friday, 5 June 2015

Food Tech Fiascos

Ok, I can't be the only one who hated Food Tech can I? I know that there are probably lots of very nice Food Tech teachers. However, my Food Tech teacher was an awful witch that inspired fear into every single student in the whole entire school!

When there was a practical lesson she would walk round while we'd all been ordered to be silent and she's stop behind you and just look over your shoulder. In my head I would be praying that I wasn't doing anything even slightly wrong. If anyone did ANYTHING wrong she would shout; loudly. Honestly, to this day I have never heard anyone shout like that woman could. You could hear her voice from half way down the hallway, while in another lesson.

I would also pray that I'd got all the right ingredients for that lesson. Even missing one tiny little thing, like salt or a herb seemed like the end of the world and would result in death by humiliation! There was also the time pressure. You have to get in the classroom, prep your work station, prep the ingredients, put everything together, cook it, wash up, clean the work station and put all the equipment back in the right place. All in under an hour. That rarely happened. If I had Food Tech before break time I would probably miss pretty much the whole break because I hadn't finished.

Luckily, I found a solution to this very stressful situation.

1. Having the exact amount of what you need, pre-weighed at home the night before.

2. Chop the ingredients at home before the lesson ( I did it the night before).

3. Read through the recipe a few times, or do a practice run of cooking it so you're familiar with the recipe.

This way when you're doing everything super quickly, your teacher will just think you're really good and you'll end up getting finished much quicker than you would otherwise.

Now, here's the funny bit. At the end of year 9, my school held a celebration evening for year 9s. There were awards for each subject for whichever student had stood out for their skill at that subject. Ironically, I won the Food Tech one! It was my most hated subject right from the first lesson in year 7. And I'm pretty certain that I won the award because of my little tricks that made me look a lot better at it than I actually was!

If Food Tech is a subject that you hate, try using my tips and let me know whether they helped.

Thanks for reading, 

Bye x

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Everyone Has The Right To Go

I'm sure that I wasn't the only one who was often told during a lesson that I wasn't allowed to go to the toilet. Teachers would say "you should have gone at break time". Even though break time was 2 hours ago, for some reason that was a valid reason. Every time a teacher said that to me I felt like saying "I didn't need to go a break time, I need to go now". I never saw how a 2 minute toilet break would be such a huge issue.

I would actually be going to the toilet between every lesson, just in case because I knew that there was about a 90% chance that I wouldn't be allowed to go during a lesson.

Even when the toilets were literally about 5 steps away from the classroom, it was still not allowed for anyone to go. Come on teachers, what do you want us to do? Wet ourselves in your lesson? I'm sure you'd love that.

Also, on hot days there is always a notification at the start of the day to make sure you drink plenty of water. Why tell us to drink lots of water; then when we inevitably need to go to the toilet, tell us we can't go?  I would often go all day without drinking anything at school, just so I wouldn't have to go to the toilet.

The teachers think people just go to the toilet to hang around and skip lessons. There are people that skip lessons, but they obviously don't go to the toilets to do that. When one of the sets of toilets were renovated the school decided to put no wall on the front, and no mirrors so that people wouldn't hang around between or during lessons. Who's stupid idea was that? No one is going to want to use toilets that mean EVERYONE in the hallway can hear everything. No one wants to hear other people going to the toilet.

You've got to go when you've got to go right? So why aren't we allowed to? We also deserve some privacy.

Thanks for reading, please let me know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

Bye x

Monday, 25 May 2015

Why Nobody Talks About It

Generally, no one talks about anxiety and metal health because there is such a misconception about mental health in general.

I know that the main reason why I haven't really spoken to many people about my struggles with my mental health is because people are very quick to judge. They think if you can't see something then it's not real and you're just making it up.

Very early on in my start at high school, I even had a doctor telling me I just had to pull myself together and I just go to school. A trained doctor was even telling me this, someone who is supposed to understand and help you was practically telling me that I was being stupid. If a doctor couldn't understand, how could I expect my peers to understand?

Believe it or not, I've even had people who were supposed to be my friends telling me to get on with it.

During my GCSE's someone who was supposed to be my friend, said that they didn't think anxiety was a real thing, they said that everyone gets nervous and you just have to deal with it. At that moment, I no longer considered them my friend.

One of my closest friends in year 7 and 8 would force me to perform in front of the class in music and drama, because according to them 'it's good for my confidence'. Which it definitely wasn't because every time I had to do it, I'd go home crying. You wouldn't tell someone in a wheelchair to get up and walk. That's what it's like for someone with anxiety to stand up in front of a room of people. A mental barrier is just as bad as a physical one; the only difference is that you can't see it.

If people were just a bit more understanding and open minded about mental health, then maybe more people would actually talk about it and not feel like they're the only one.

Thanks for reading x

Feel free to leave a comment below. I really appreciate everyone's support. x

Bye x

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Virtual Life VS Real Life

If only life was measured in XP and levels. If it were I’d be a pro at life. One of my greatest hobbies/ passions is gaming.  My favourite games are World Of Warcraft, (WoW) Hearthstone, Heroes Of The Storm, Skyrim and The Sims; World of Warcraft being how I spend most of my time (bad I know).

I’m good at WoW; I’d even go as far as to say I’m quite brilliant at it. I’ve put many dedicated hours into making my character better, whether that’s getting good gear, gold or practicing running raids and dungeons. And I like to think that I’ve mastered the art of moderating raid chats, which at times can be a very unfriendly place.

I’m also in a social raiding guild, which is ironic considering I have social anxiety. I chat with my fellow guildies quite comfortably in guild chat. It’s easier for me to talk to people if I write what I want to say. So therefore in-game chat is much easier for me because I don’t have to worry about the other people because they’re not standing right in front of me.

I know that in real life you do get better at things by practicing, but in life you can’t measure your success by what ‘level’ you are or XP. But for me, if I’ve had a tough day or something is making me anxious, gaming is an escape for me because I can just log on and anything that’s happening in real life is irrelevant in game.

Thanks for reading, if any of my gaming words confused you please see below for a little dictionary.

Bye x

Gaming Terms:

XP- experience points, when you get a certain amount of points, you level up.

Guild- A group of players that can chat together, as well as run raids to earn achievements.

Raid- A group of 10-25 players who work together to defeat various bosses and NPCs (non-player characters) for rewards, such as gold or gear items.

Dungeon- A small raid type instance typically containing 5 players who aim to defeat easier bosses and NPCs for less powerful gear rewards.

Guildies- The other people in your guild. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Those Teachers...

I found that in high school, although there are some very nice and understanding teachers, there are also some awful, mean teachers. Those teachers that single you out in front of a class of 25+ other people.

Those dreaded moments in the lesson when the teacher asks a question and no one puts their hand up so they pick someone to answer the question. It seems like even though you're trying to look as if you're doing your work so they won't pick on you, they do it any way. Is this like a weird sixth sense that they can almost feel the anxiety radiating from you and think 'I know, I'll be really mean and pick on that one person that is the least comfortable speaking in front of people'. Why? Just why?

My GCSE maths teacher had this pot of lolly sticks that we each had to write our name on one and when there was a question, she would pick a lolly stick from the pot; and the name that is written on it is the person that has to answer the question. In what universe is that idea, something that ANYONE would enjoy, well it isn't. Even for people that don't mind speaking in front of the class that's a bad idea.

In that case there is no technique to avoid being singled out, which sucks. But if the teacher just chooses someone to answer then there are a few techniques that i've picked up.

1. Look as if you're working, even if you're not. Pretend to be reading your work.

2. Don't make eye contact. This works especially well, if you have a teacher that hasn't learnt everyone's names yet. If they can't get your attention, they can't pick on you :)

3. If you have a dictionary handy, look like you're reading that. This works especially well in Foreign Language and English lessons.

4. If you have the choice where to sit, sit in the middle row. When teachers are looking for someone to pick on, they either look towards the front or the back. Because people look to hide at the back, and teachers know that. People at the front are easy targets because they're right there and easy to point at.

These are my tips and tricks for getting through bad lessons, with those teachers that are just mean. From 5 years of practice, one of these will work most of the time.

Thanks for reading

Bye x

Friday, 15 May 2015

My Fresh Start

This week I started sixth form. After almost a year of being completely out of school, not only did I go back; I started over. A brand new school, and a brand new start. I don't know anyone there and I've only been there a few times, but I feel happy about going and when I think about starting full time in September; I'm excited.

For the first time in over 10 years I look forward to going to school. It's a weird feeling for me because I don't remember a time when I really, genuinely enjoyed school. I've never liked going, thats just the way it's always been for me. Wake up, get through the day and go home.

I think I've always known that most people don't feel like I do, but it wasn't until I started hight school that someone was finally able to tell me what was 'wrong' with me. I have anxiety. It's hard to try and explain to people who don't have it what it feels like. Believe me, I've had to explain it to a fair number of people over the last few years.

Looking back most of my time at school was coming up with excuses to tell people why I wasn't in that french lesson, or why I did my english presentations after school when everyone else did theirs in front of everyone during the lesson. And even if I did tell people they would have to be someone I trusted a lot, because rumours spread quickly in school.

People think that if you have mental health problems that means you need to be locked up because you're some sort of crazy weirdo. But thats not true at all, and I wish people would realise that; because at the end of the day your mental health has just as much of an impact on you as a physical problem is. Just because you can't see something, that doesn't mean that its not there.

There's more to my story than just a few paragraphs of writing. So I guess I'll just have to do more posts about it.

Thanks for reading x