This Feels like Freedom

Today was my last A-Level exam.


What the fuck???

After 7 exams and the most exhausting and draining two weeks of my life, I’m done. Should I say two years? 7 years? My time in “traditional” secondary education is over. 7 exams, 3 subjects, and it’s over. I don’t know how to process that.

Looking back on it, I worked myself to the ground and I only hope that it was worth it. The exams themselves ranged from reasonably alright to soul crushingly terrible in a pit of fire. I revised constantly – though I must say, it took me a while – and the only thing that existed for the last month, for me, was work and exams and not letting the crying that wanted to get out escape. It all feels strange now – so much of what I did was orientated around trying to keep afloat through it all. Until it was over. Now, it is.

I’m going to write an exam recap – in my typical, “WHAT WAS THIS HELP NO” fashion – and post it tomorrow. Until then, I don’t know what I’ll do. I feel cut loose, with strings of unfinished thoughts trailing behind me. I’m exhausted from a breakdown I had yesterday; I’m just tired in general. I’ve barely been getting sufficient sleep and at the worst points, I felt like I was going to scream unstoppably.

When my last exam ended – Psychology – I cried. I cried when I left the VI unit (place where I do my exams) and I cried whilst I waited to go home, when I was saying goodbye to the teachers who’d adapted my work for 7 years. I cried when I said goodbye to the taxi driver who’d driven me to school, every day, for the last 6 years, when he said I was like a second daughter to him. It was a day of tears that stung my eyes and near-tears that shimmered just behind them. All of this seems bland and blank: I want to have the presence of mind to describe my emotions but that’ll come with time.

Now, I feel listless. The purposeful drive will come tomorrow, when I decide I need to write and read, to sing and to reconcile with people who I’ve needed to gain closure from for years. I’ll get sudden bursts of inspiration; I’ll have a myriad of blogging ideas that clammer to be written. I’ll want to piece together my identity piece by piece. But for now? I don’t want to do any of that. I want to sleep, or feel these overwhelming feelings of complete sadness that have been overdue. Suppressing your mental health through exams is genuinely painful and I don’t know why I did it to such a horrible extent but it’s done now. All I can do is pick myself up after and not lose contact with the world around me whilst I’m doing that.

I’m so tired. I’ve said that already but it bears repeating. Who am I now that I’m not just trying to survive until the end of exams? Who am I now that I have feelings and confusion I can’t understand?

The only thing I regret right now is only being a shadow of myself when I spoke to, and met, some of the important people in my life. I’m afraid that they won’t recognise me now. Saying that, it’s not like I’ll have a personality turn-around, or that ending A-Levels suddenly makes me change. It’s just that I’ve repressed so much of myself to be able to cope that I don’t really know what to expect now. Does that make any sense?

A-Levels were awful; I can’t deny that. However, they did teach me things. I can work if I try and I can get through things, when at times I genuinely didn’t think I would. My mental health gets so bad at times that I feel as if everything’s hopeless and terrible; it only got worse with A-Levels. But I did it. I’m alive. I’m here. Is that enough to be proud of myself?

I’ve missed this blog, writing and feeling like I can truly call my work my own. Primarily, I want to get that back in the next few months. I’m out of the worst now, right?

This doesn’t feel quite like a victory. It feels more bittersweet but I’m celebrating, in my own way. An era of my life is over and I don’t know who I’ll become in the next one. Perhaps I’ll have a major crisis in my mind this summer; perhaps I won’t. I think that now everything is done, I need to start processing.

Maybe I’m on my way to okay, and then on the way to happy. I’ve got the entire summer to figure that out.

Have you had exams? If so, how have they gone?

Love from Elm 🙂

47 thoughts on “This Feels like Freedom

  1. Dear Elm, well done. You’ve got through it. You’ve finished and you’ve done yourself proud. Yes, it’s the end of an era, but now it’s a time of rest and then excitement of all the wonderful things to come. But do rest, it will have taken a huge amount out of you emotionally. Well done, and best wishes from an old bat in London! Katie x

      • i’ve been…busy! not outwardly so, but the last six months have been full of processing and healing for me. and writing, of course, is my favorite solace. how about you, love? it’s always so nice to catch up xx

      • Honestly i’m the same. Writing has been the only thing that kept me together and sometimes, when I haven’t been doing that, I haven’t kept it together. Healing is a slow process and can be really tiring at times but I’m glad we’re both getting there XX

      • and i don’t blame you at all! this is such a crazy time for us and i think it’s expected that we’ll fall apart, at least a little. do you think you’ll blog more now that you’re finished with exams?

      • Yeah, I think so. It’s cathartic for me – I need to process all the things and my blog will help me to do that. Do you find that, too?

      • definitely. to be honest, i don’t think i’d make it through my whirlwind of emotions without poetry! i know you understand that concept with writing, and i love you for it. you always seem to come up with the best thoughts in the hardest times, so i’m really glad there will be more of that xx

      • Same to you!! You always manage to create such beautiful things from the worst of circumstances, enough that it can become your strength too. Thank you xx

  2. Wowww!!! That must feel so freeing and exciting. I guess it’s also a little sad though now that it’s all over too. This post and the way you wrote it, however, was very motivating! Good luck for the future and what you choose to do! 😄🍀

    • Ahhh Shay, thank you so much!!! I still feel so weird but still free as well. How have you been doing? I’m so glad you liked the post!!! xx

  3. Beautiful girl, you need to celebrate. That pitfall you just kept was meant to be crawled out of. Continue to work hard, take your well-earned break from blogging and social media…
    Just rest.
    I suggest that now it’s over, you go and watch some cool TV programmes on the sofa. Don’t eat junk (I repeat, don’t eat junk!)m just chill with your own mind for a bit.
    Talk to your friends, listen to the rain.

    What I mean is, HAVE A BLOODY GREAT TIME! Of course you can ‘celebrate’ – it’s really well-deserved. Best wishes ♥️🌺
    Erin |

    • Your comments have honestly been so lovely to read over the past few weeks and I seriously appreciate them! 🙂 I’ll do my best to relax; I’m going out and socialising tomorrow but for the next few days after that, I’m just going to relax and not stress. You’re awesome! I need people like you cheering me on when I feel low XX

      • Aww! No problem 😉 You are well worth it. I think we’ve made good friends through our blogs! Try, try and try again. Like I said, you really deserve it. Just having little virtual chats like these really make me happy.
        Have a wonderful week ♥️

  4. Huge congratulations on finishing your A Levels, I’ve finished too and it’s a weird sensation (to put it mildly). It makes me sad how much of an impact exams can have on the body but you’re super right about it showing us how resilient we are- that will stand us in good stead in the future!

    • Yes exactly!! We can take what we’ve learned and apply it to other situations 🙂 So glad you’re finished – well done!! What’re you doing next year? xx

      • Yess, it was hard but it’s worth it for that! Thank you, I’m going to Portsmouth University to study journalism with media studies- eeek, how scary aha. What about you? xxx

      • Ooooh, that’s awesome!!! I’m wanting to do English at Birmingham, but I’m going on a gap year 🙂 x

      • I’m going to a residential college for a year to do independence 🙂 it’s at a blind college. What about you?

  5. That’s great, it sounds like your gap year will be really worthwhile ☺️ I’ll be having my first year of uni, scary times!

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