For me, this is not just a blog. This is a way of expressing my inner thoughts in the hope that you can relate to me more, and fill you with hope that you are not alone. Fair warning, this is a personal post so it may get a little deep at times. Okay, it may get really deep but if you follow me on social media, you will know I tend to be pretty heartfelt anyway so this won’t be too much of a shock!
It has been a very pinnacle week in my life, as it has been the first time that I have literally put all of my new found strength, self-belief and determination to the test. Never would I have thought that I would be able to get through such a thing again, as it reminds me all too much of the worst turn in my life so far. Let me take you back to when I last had to sit an exam, well, let me rephrase that, the last time I attempted to sit an exam. 2010, the year that things were never the same again. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, and about to sit my GSCE’s in the final year of high school. After having the last ounce of confidence knocked out of me a few months beforehand, there was no way that I was in any fit state to revise for those exams, never mind sit them. I will never forget one of the days during the period of time I became housebound, that my parents drove me to the school, dressed in the baggiest clothes I owned, as they both hoped that I would be able to take an exam. A teacher came out to the car, and the closer she got, the faster my heart went. My eyes began to fill up and my mouth went dry as I sat in the back sit frozen stiff of taking one step outside the car. Nothing that my parents or the teacher was saying made any sense, so I just sat there shaking my head, cowering away and hiding from view. That was the last encounter I had as a pupil, as I never went back.
Scared from that experience, there was no chance that I would think to put myself in that situation again. Apart from my attempt to take A-levels that same year (too much workload for my cognitive ability back then), I have always opted for courses that didn’t involve taking exams. Yet here I am seven years on as a university student.
When I decided to embark on my degree, there was no illusion that I would have to sit exams, as psychology and counseling is an academic subject. But what I wasn’t prepared to go through the trauma again. How on Earth was I going to get past that tremendous barrier that I have avoided for so long and carry on going forward?! It was exams that were a triggering factor, sparking the real downfall of my mental health. So you can understand how difficult this was going to be for me to get through.
What all of the hardships has taught me, is that there is always a way forward. No matter how dark or bleak in can seem, it is possible to make it passed the pain and come out stronger for the experience. It was my Dad a couple of days before the exams that reminded me of something really important:
“You wouldn’t have chosen to do this if you weren’t capable of doing it”
He is a very wise man is my dad (well…most of the time!)
This was the kick back up that I needed. I had let the old fears take over me as the natural panic of sitting exams set in. I began to doubt myself in the same old ways I used to do all those years ago. But I am not the same person as I was back then. Now there is more bravery, strength, and belief in myself than ever before, giving me the greatest chance of getting through these exams with a positive mindset.
So sitting here in my living room, the day after the exams are done and dusted, I am incredibly proud of myself to have achieved this amazing foot in recovery.
We all have fears, doubts and negative beliefs about ourselves and the way that life seems to have it in for us at times, it was what makes us all the same; human. It is okay to have these feelings, it is okay to admit that it is tough to see a way past the difficulties. Strangely, it is these emotions can spark of the greatest inabilities that we didn’t believe we had in us.
The really important message to take away here is that we have all got the capability to see our that our future is a happier and more fulfilling one. Do not let the past dictate what lies ahead. You can live out your wildest dreams, achieve that ‘impossible’ goal, make that positive change and turn it into a long-lasting one because you have everything you need to get there already.
I am amazed at the outcome of this week and have such great expectations for even better things to come this year.