I started this post in the break between lessons and very quickly realised that my brain was too scrambled to finish it in 20 minutes. It’s the first time I’ve been given proper room to breathe (most of it was purposeful because I don’t want to be alone right now) and so I thought I should update you all – or try. God, where do I even start?
I moved into blind college last Saturday – you can read about how I was feeling here. Over the last week, I’ve managed to have two mental breakdowns, make a few really solid friends, actually keep on top of my work and also to go to a University of Oxford open day (what the fuck am I doing?). All in all? It’s part success and part shrieking confusion. As usual.
How it works here is a bit different to how it is in mainstream (Sixth Form). It’s residential, meaning that we stay in halls – I’m staying in the over 18s hall – and we have all our lessons on the college campus. The huge difference is how few students there are – I’d say that there are fewer than 100. Mostly, that’s what I’ve been struggling with – the small environment, the potential drama, trying not to get overwhelmed and everything else that comes along with that.
Here, I’m doing a Performing Arts course. That’s going really well – I’ve managed to understand the course, keep up with work and actually get on with the people I’m with. However, I’ve come to realise that I’m not confident at all but that I’m really good at faking it. It’s been so easy to pretend I’m fine, that nothing properly phases me but the truth is that right now, things don’t feel good and I don’t know what to do about it.
It’s not that I’m not coping. Well, I am coping but only just about. It’s so hard to juggle everything – classes, spending time with people but most of all, keeping up with my out of college friends. I’ve barely had time to think or message or anything; the main sources of my panic are coming from feeling immense guilt over not talking to people. I just don’t want to lose anyone because of not communicating well.
I’ve tried not to be alone. That involves spending time with people pretty much constantly, to the point where I now feel weak and drained. I put around 40 different faces on in order to feel somewhat put together. I’ve made a couple of really good friends and on top of the friends I already had who were coming here, they’ve kept me going. At times, I’ve been unable to function – finding it hard to eat, to speak to people or to even breathe properly – but I do have support.
I suppose, the good thing about this place is that you can’t really avoid people, meaning that somebody – at some point – is going to pick up on the fact that you’re feeling shit. Yesterday, I went to see the college counsellor who was really helpful; now I have more of a plan in place for any counselling sessions. However, I didn’t quite process any of my emotions, which resulted in a delayed reaction that I couldn’t stop. Later that day, I had to walk out of my last lesson of the day because I was wildly panicking; I went to the residential support team who are in my hall and absolutely wailed to one of them. It’s been a long time since I’ve cried that hard at somebody and it was therapeutic, to say the least. Despite that, I’ve been feeling alone and like nobody wants me here. That’s ridiculous, I know, but for some reason I can’t stop those intrusive thoughts.
Honestly, I am having a good time. I’m just overwhelmed and dealing with some pretty horrific emotions: often, around this time, I have a pretty rough time mental health wise. It’s difficult not to feel unhappy when I’m surrounded by so many things that make me hide it all until it comes out in a disjointed post like this. The fact is, I’ve been having some horrible days but there are positives.
I’ll be okay – I can’t even pretend to be functioning normally right now but the difference to the usual is that I know I have people to talk to. Coming here was the best decision; it’s just taking a while to adjust and on top of my existing shitty mental health, it’s a lot to take in.
At some point, I’ll write a better explanation post. Writing coherently takes too much energy at the moment. For now, I hope everyone’s okay – I’m sorry I’ve been so absent. Stay safe and stay happy.
Love from Elm 🙂