Halfway There?

A quick side-note before I start: I have had Livin’ on a Prayer stuck in my head for the past hour as I was thinking about this post, simply because of the chorus. Along with book titles and other miscellaneous songs, this one really gets me because WOOOOAAH WE’RE HALFWAY THERE!

Apart from the atrocious posts of 2015, I think that was the worst transition between subjects I’ve ever done. Because yes: I’ve had four exams; I have three left. Isn’t it a time to celebrate? Well… No. It’s a time to update you all.

For the past week, I’ve been in a self-made cave of isolation apart from when I gallivant off to exams. Even then, I’m in a room by myself (and an invigilator). It’s because I Word Process – a fancy way to say I use a computer to write my exams – and I get extra time. It’d get lonely except that I’m usually shouting with frustration. For instance, today, I said “Oh fucking god” when I had to figure out a diagram for Psychology. I wish i was joking.

Until they’re over, I’m not going to contemplate exams too much. I’ve spent enough time crying over my first Psychology exam and then genuinely yelling at myself for misinterpreting my English paper to last a lifetime. It’s so exhausting to keep thinking, over and over, that I fucked up only to be told I should stop it because “you’ll do well anyway.” If I believed that wholeheartedly, I wouldn’t be terrified out of my mind.

Right, that’s enough of that. I’m going to do an exam recap like I did last year at the end. For now, I’m going to do a quick runthrough of what’s been happening. Bullet points are my friend and I got about 5 hours of sleep last night so my mental capacity isn’t great right now.

•It’s Pride Month which fills me with happiness. When I’m done with exams I’ll write some Pride posts but in the meantime, check out Lu’s amazing post on LGBTQIA+ representation in YA, Lia’s Pride Month TBR and Bethany’s post on coming out.
•Speaking of Pride and sexuality, as I said in this post, I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my own identity, particularly my romantic orientation. I really want to make a post about it but long story short, I don’t know what I’m feeling: I know what kind of people I’m attracted to but I don’t know how far my attraction goes or what my limitations are. It’s confusing and I don’t want to commit to a label yet, possibly not ever, but SOMETHING IS HAPPENING INSIDE MY MIND
•I’ve come down with some kind of cold/virus which means I’m coughing constantly and occasionally think that my throat is on fire. Taking exams has been a struggle because for once, I feel very physically ill and my mental health isn’t totally terrible
•I might be getting my Prom dress adjusted this weekend; I’m kind of nervous even though I know it’ll be fine because I’m still not the biggest fan – to put it lightly – of my appearance. I’m irrationally afraid that it won’t fit me after the adjustments have been done.
•The friends I’ve spoken to recently have been amazing. I say ‘spoken to’ because my communication with people has been even worse lately, what with exams and confusion and illness but when I do emerge into the land of technology, I always get surprised at how fantastic people can be. That might sound horribly sentimental but at this point, I don’t care
•I’ve been trying not to implode from work but it’s been a near thing; sleep is elusive but I’m going to try and rest this weekend as much as I can
•Things with Pearl, who I talk about on this page are going really well. I’m still going to wait until after exams to properly process all my feelings but I’m relatively secure, meaning that I’m not screaming or panicking out of fear yet. This is me though, so only time will tell.
•Pearl also knows about my blog but I haven’t shown it to her yet – she found my Twitter (because I don’t exactly do a great job at hiding it) but has respected me asking if she’ll wait until after my exams to look at the blog. There are things I want to explain to her before all of it because my blog, and showing it to people, has always been a private thing and I want to be as careful as possible instead of running headlong into all of the big decisions
•Exams are draining the life out of me because I haven’t read a book in a long while and i miss it. I also haven’t written anything substantial in ages as well but my mantra for getting through this is that I’ll be able to do everything after exams

So, there you have it. My brain is wired for revising right now; I can’t do much else. My energy levels are only now starting to rise as this virus thing clears up. I need sleep and I need it soon otherwise I may scream.

How are you all doing? I miss the blogging community so much. I’ll be back on my game ONCE EXAMS ARE OVER I CANNOT WAIT.

From Elm 🙂

An Update On My Mental Health

I am so tired.

Sitting here in the evening, with everything around me silent, I can’t help but think I should feel calm or somehow rested. I don’t. I feel sad, annoyed, frustrated but yet somehow disconnected. This is how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks and I want to talk to you as frankly as possible, in the only way I know how. For me, blogging about it is the only way I feel comfortable even thinking about my jumbled mind.

3 days ago, I had what can only be described as a mild panic attack in front of my mum. It was over something small: my sister had moved my hair removal cream and had used it. I now no longer knew where it was. I utterly flipped out at about 9 o’clock in the evening: it slowly evolved from me getting agitated about my lack of ability to understand that because my sister has a mental illness, she can’t realise that what she’s doing makes me anxious to me gasping for breath and wailing about how terrible I feel and about how, sometimes, I hate myself. I felt selfish and needy for doing it but in some ways, it was a release of pent up anger and emotion.

I honestly can’t remember all of what I said. I downplayed it but made sure to truthfully tell her that I didn’t always feel like this, that there were days where I was fine but that I did feel anxious pretty much all the time. Standing on the landing, I got upset at how my mum tried to make excuses for both me and my sister. I told her that I didn’t tell my dad much at all (a lie) and that I’d been seeing my head of year about how I felt (a truth but I didn’t tell her what I spoke about). At this point, I was miserable and whenever she tried to hug me I flinched away; I really didn’t want anyone near me, especially not her at that moment because she was so incredibly surprised that I was having this “meltdown”, as she phrased it to my dad in a text later.

My mother is incredibly difficult to talk to and so I hardly ever do; however, afterwards, she suggested I spoke to her more – I think I will. More importantly, she said I should go and speak to the GP and maybe get a referral to a counsellor, or something such as that. Bringing her own experiences into it didn’t help me as much as, I think, she hoped it would because my mind flashed back to the points where she didn’t feel sympathy for me at all and, years and years ago, treated my sister terribly. I had to let it go, though; I don’t hold it against her any more because she did help me by putting things into perspective.

The fact is, I feel like I’m seconds away from falling apart utterly. I’m so sad now that I can’t think properly but I’ll try. Here’s a list of all the things, or as much as I want to say, that are making me anxious, panicky or that make me feel numb.

• I literally have no motivation to do anything at all
• I haven’t read blogs and I have this irrational paranoia that I’m an awful blogger – I know this isn’t founded in truth and may look like I’m crying for attention but I know I’m acting stupidly; you guys have always supported me
• I have feelings for someone currently but whenever I think about it, I want to just sob because it wouldn’t work out; trying anything would be a waste of time and would make things painful and complex
• I’m scared of seeing the GP because if I’m having a bad day and am especially erratic, they may refer me to something which is too serious and if I say the counsellor or any other person, they may think it’s worse than it is – I explained this to my mum
• I don’t understand if many of my thoughts are real or based on truth; I always get scared that I’m making stuff up in my head
• All my work that I have to do is too much, too huge and even thinking about it is panicking me
• I never follow my own advice; I’m a hypocrite
• I feel bad but I’m sometimes unable to deal with people who even irritate me slightly
• The self-depreciating dialogue inside my head has grown so much worse but I never know if I’m just putting it on or what I really feel towards anything
• I’m so, so confused

I don’t know. I need sleep but I don’t know if this sleep will leave me feeling refreshed or if my thoughts are going to crowd in on me again. I don’t know how to write this post so that it’ll alleviate some of my worry; am I going about this the wrong way?

This evening, I also spoke to my sister about it; I’ve barely told anybody else because I just don’t want to think about it. She was great but did point out to me that with my mum, I can’t lash out because that’ll make it worse. People know how sad I’ve been but it’s so hard to go into the extent of why: that I feel blank sometimes and sad the next; that one day I won’t do anything productive for hours and hours and the next I’ll have such good intentions but only complete a few of them.

Now I think on it, writing this post has helped, if only because I’m a little relieved that I can get this out there. This isn’t supposed to make sense; my mind’s whirling and I can hardly think for the worry that I’m running out of time in every single aspect of my life.

I just want to be happy. My head of year said that I need to start actively doing something, just little things to help. On the other hand, before I do anything I have to acknowledge that there’s something wrong. I have to accept that I’m not feeling good and why – or try to piece the reasons together by writing the “stream of consciousness” that this has turned into.

Only when you truly know what’s happening with yourself can you start to implement little things to help. That might involve sorting through your thoughts – something I’m not good at so I understand – but once you have a little idea, you can start to help yourself a bit more. If you can’t do that, others can help; it’s almost good that I had the panic in front of my mum because even for the way she handles things sometimes, she can do something to help.

You can be in control of your own mind; it takes time and effort and it won’t be easy but it can be done. If you feel unexplainably bad, perhaps start trying to work through the reasons. That can be triggered by an event like I had or a sudden realisation: this is you and so I can’t dictate to you how it’ll work. Only you can do that.

Things will get better but it won’t happen overnight. I’m so exhausted but I have to give it time, effort and a willingness to get a little better, slowly. I think I can do that.

From Elm 🙂

I’m a Little Bit of a Mess

Hi,
One thing that people start to realise about me very quickly is that I hardly ever do something someone tells me to straight away. It’s taken me months, for example, to be able to understand I need help and to properly implement that, with the encouragement, logic and screaming of my friends. It takes me a while to do absolutely anything because I try and reason why it would be a bad idea but finally, finally I did something.

This is a really quick post to just say, well, sorry for vanishing off the blogosphere for a few days. I know that this is my blog but I care about you guys and so not reading your blogs or not having the motivation to do it has wrecked my mind a little.

Truth be told, I don’t feel great and I’ve been ignoring it, yet again. I’m still unsure as to exactly why; it’s partly stress and partly that overwhelming terror you get when everything’s too much and you feel cold; you can’t breathe from it. I don’t know. I’m sad when there’s no logical reason why I should be.

Last week, I spoke to my Head of Year and cried my eyes out for 20 minutes. I wasted a bunch of tissues, sobbed, shook so hard that I violently panicked and was utterly unable to articulate what was wrong. We eventually came to the conclusion that I was sad, it was okay but that I was thoroughly unused to not coping publically. I’m going to see her this week too; I’m scared because I know I’ll panic and repeat the words “I don’t know,” “I can’t” and “I have no idea” a lot. I don’t like it. Not having a proper channel for my worries is making me skittish.

I hide things. On the surface, I tell people I’m not feeling good, I’m tired and that I’m not okay but I don’t often say why. It’s a coping mechanism because if I start talking, I won’t be able to stop but it’s also because sometimes it’s effort to trawl through my mind’s complicated maze-like thoughts. I never know what I feel or don’t feel and I’m so desperately sad sometimes that I want to scream, so lonely with no explanation that everything feels hazy.

Everything with which I used to gain enjoyment is now less fun; it’s worrying. I still sing, write, blog, talk to people but it doesn’t have the same fire for me. In my mind, I know it’s temporary, that it will pass and I’ll get that spark of life but for now, I don’t feel happy and I don’t feel like I have a purpose with it. It makes me sad as I want to truly love the things I do.

Luckily, I have something now with which to get this out. My head of year isn’t the perfect solution – she’d tell my parents if she started to worry a lot, which she inevitably will. My dad knowing about my fears is okay but with my mum, she treats it like it’s nothing and like it’s normal, like it’s your average teenage phase. Is it? Am I making this all up? Am I just being an overdramatic lazy bitch? I hope not.

I told her about my blog. I felt like I had to: as it’s a huge part of my life, it’s something that will come up in conversation in order to let her properly understand what’s been happening. As well as that, she’s emailed all my teachers to tell them I’m feeling anxious, all the time because as I said to her, “I feel sad every day.” For now, I’m going to talk about the shallower things to her but when I feel a little more comfortable, I may get onto the paranoia, self-hatred, anger and insecurity. That is, if she’ll properly listen and not brush things off – she has never done that, though, so it’ll be okay.

There are still things I’m happy about, like my friends and the laughter that still comes easily. I’m going to write about the open day I went to on Saturday which made me feel more connected to everything. It’s not all ‘doom and gloom’, as my mother likes to say. It’s just that at the moment, I’m trembling, my eyes are watering and I feel freezing.

If this is the first thing you’ve ever read from me, I’m not even going to apologise and say ‘this is not the usual me’. It is the usual me sometimes and that’s alright. To know a person, you have to know all their parts: good, bad and things in between.

Never apologise for feeling how you do and expressing those feelings; I feel more free and liberated. I didn’t plan this and haven’t thought much about what I want to write. I’m writing this at night, meaning that all my filters are down and I can post this tomorrow without feeling intensely guilty. What is there to feel guilty about, though? There isn’t a thing wrong with helping yourself by telling the people who mean the most to you a little of what’s really wrong.

I still don’t know how I properly feel. Sometimes, you don’t have to know. However, I’m on my way to analysing those feelings. Even though my friends forced me into it, going to see my head of year might just be the thing that forces me to acknowledge that I do have feelings and that I should deal with them, rather than pushing them aside and running.

You’re human. A human can only take so much until they break from the strain of trying to keep things together. Breaking is okay and natural; you aren’t pathetic for it. Telling people you’re an unexplained mess is something you can do. You don’t have to have reasons; you just have to feel. Remember that.

From Elm 🙂

Afraid Of School

It’s safe to say that I really didn’t put enough effort into my schoolwork this year, or my exams in general. I say this to people and they act as if I’m joking when in actuality, I couldn’t be more serious. I screwed up work-wise and also emotionally, was sad, upset and angry at myself the majority of the time and I was the reason I had a shit time.

Writing this the night before school starts, I’m feeling especially scared. I don’t want to get into the motivational decline of AS-Levels, especially after all the shit which kicked off at the start of it. I blame myself – not for instigating it – but for letting it affect me and letting it carry on. This will be a rambling post, by the way, but I need to get my anxious feelings out because otherwise I never will.

I need sleep but I’m sat here worrying about the state of my thoughts. I need to pick myself up but I don’t know how; it’s got to the point where I genuinely don’t know how I’m going to be or feel when I return from school. It concerns me to note that I may either feel relieved and motivated or utterly shit, wanting to sob and just fix all of the things that have gone wrong.

Simultaneously, I want to get tomorrow over with and also I want to stay home. Exciting things may be coming up work-wise and in terms of school but I can’t bring myself to be happy about that because I need to cross the hurdle of not doing work first. If I never get motivated, I’ll never do work and that’s the crux of it. It’s not that I don’t do the work to a worrying degree; it’s that I don’t know if I’ll care enough to get stuff done.

When did this all start? Was it at the start of year 12 when French and personal things were affecting me? Was it around December when I realised that nothing was making me happy and that all the work I was doing was pointless? Was it before that when I had the habit of procrastinating and being lazy or was it before any of my exams, when I was so convinced I’d fail that I didn’t do enough revision?

I know that I can do this but I’m terrified, scared, paranoid and I want everything to go away whilst also wanting to be surrounded by happy things to forget about me. I have no idea what (i>exactly is getting me so worked up. I’m shaking, feel cold all over and my eyes are too widened to cry at the minute.

I can succeed in my subjects but that might be at the cost of my feelings and creative mind; I don’t want that. I want to sing, write, have fun and laugh but now, it feels quite far off. If I can balance work and a social life, everything will be okay but I don’t want to screw up again and make people unhappy.

Tomorrow, one of three things will happen: I will panic and lock myself into a work-mindset at the expense of talking to people; I will have a terrible attitude to work but revel in the fact that my friends are there or I’ll find a balance. I’m hoping it’s the last of these three but who knows?

I’m scared but I can’t let it rule me. I’m going to go to sleep but the thought of waking up tomorrow to face a day of self-induced fear is making me procrastinate sleep.

Sorry for the disjointed and fragile nature of this post. Inspiration can strike me at the strangest of times and I needed to get this written before the thoughts disappeared into a flurry of confusion inside my head. In the morning, I’ll look back on this and frown but for now, it’s the best I can do and that best will be enough.

If you’re returning to school now or did last week, I hope everything goes well! Remember that even if you feel a certain way now, it won’t last forever. You still have time to let yourself be happy: there will always be time for that. Being happy can be better than getting top grades in every single subject.

From Elm 🙂

How My Exams Went, According To Me

In my school, we still do AS Levels despite most of them not counting for anything. If you don’t know, AS Levels are exams you do in your first year of A-Levels which used to count for 50% of your A-Level results – we take the rest of the exams next year and they are what (usually) count towards getting into university.

Mine started on 15 May and ended on 26 May; I had 8 in total after dropping French earlier this year. Unlike for my GCSEs, I’ll write down my reactions to them because after my exams before, I was tired and preoccupied with my emotions going haywire. Take everything I say with a pinch of salt because I’m notorious at underestimating myself and thinking I’ve failed at literally everything you could possibly fail at.

Before pretty much every exam, I looked at the hashtags on my Twitter (shameless self-promotion I’m sorry) and tweeted under some of them. That proved to be… Rather catastrophic at one point, as you’ll read later.

Psychology Paper 1

I honestly don’t think this one went too badly: it was my first one so I was shit scared but apart from a bullshit 8 marker, it wasn’t awful. For me, the main thing that made me laugh in these exams was the jokes afterwards and also the fact that they did a last year’s AQA biology-type thing and shoved a bunch of Research Methods questions in the topic of memory. It wasn’t quite B1 though because it was actually relevant. I do think that I rambled in my answers a bit but it can’t be helped; I don’t think I’ll do terribly on this one though so that’s a relief.

History Paper 1

Oh, no, nooooo! After this finished, I attempted to expunge it from my memory with limited success. Long story short, I hated it and you know what the worst part was?

Before the exam itself, I had tweeted under the hashtag with something vaguely funny or just despairing. Some people liked it – I don’t know who they were – and I was just calmly scrolling through my notifications when my brain came to a screeching halt. Somebody from my school had liked it. From my school and not just any person, no. Possibly the worst person to like it: the person I used to sit next to in history. Just have a look at this page. It took me a while to recover from my panic at the thought of him finding my blog and taking the piss out of me for years. That’ll teach me to post under topic I know not many people do.

Anyhow, I walked into the exam and thought “Oh shit, I haven’t done enough revision,” an observation which proved to be true. The extract question was an utter bastard although everyone found that difficult; the two topics I didn’t want to come up came up on the essay question. I have extra time because I’m almost completely blind and because of that, I rambled a fair bit and started panicking. That’s never a good sign when you’re attempting to write coherently. By the end of it, I was shaking and walked out of the room feeling unconfident.

Critical Thinking Paper 1

Before you ask, I had no choice but to do this subject. Originally, I was going to do Extended Project Qualification ( EPQ), a 5000 dissertation-style project and those who wanted to do that had to also do Critical Thinking. I did the barest amount of revision for it because in this type of exam, you can’t really revise; it’s skill-based.

This was the first exam I genuinely laughed in. The people included a Fitbit employee, some kind of Road Safety Forum user and I can no longer think of Wearable technologies like Smartwatches the same way again without getting angry. This exam was all about components of an argument and credibility with an essay question at the end and unlike with any other of my exams, I got so tired of it all that I dread to think of what the examiner will think of me when they read my sarcastic responses.

I’ve either mildly passed this or failed horribly. I’m not really inclined to care; universities don’t take this subject into account normally but I still did try what I assume is my best. The skills I got are still important, even if unis don’st care, kind of showing that exams shouldn’t just be about getting into university.

English Paper 1

I could have married this paper; it was the brief respite from panic I needed. All year, I’d been preparing for this and I think – maybe, possibly, potentially – it payed off? We studied Othello and 15 poems and both the questions were glorious things. On later inspection, it turns out that I did the opposite interpretation to the Othello question that literally everyone did. I panicked about that and barely told anyone, pretending I’d done what everyone else had. I convinced myself I’d failed but after deliberation, there’s nothing I can do. Yes, I might not have done as well in it but when you think that, my best advice to it would be move onto the next one. You can’t change things and I know it’s hard but I assure you, you will have done well for you no matter what grade you get.

I loved the poetry question, too. It was on my favourite poem and I may or may not have squealed when it came up – luckily I’m in a room with one invigilator and so they didn’t care, otherwise I would have got weird looks that I wouldn’t be able to see anyway. I wrote confidently although I do think I lost my way a bit because I got confused. That’s nothing out of the ordinary though and at least I knew I passed.

Psychology Paper 2

Oh, Psychology, will you marry me? Please? I don’t want to be alone… Okay fine then, you won’t? Typical.

As you can tell, this paper was good. Probably. I don’t want to jinx it; I’m always scared that if I sing praises for myself, I may be horribly disappointed. On the other hand, I won’t sell myself short: this paper went well. The Research Methods questions – which had no elements of Memory in them – were so straightforward I could have cried and the only tricky part of it was the Application Questions, which never fill me with confidence at the best of times. Also, the exam hilarity on Twitter was just as great as last time. I live for it – okay no; that’s sad.

History Paper 2

My history teacher is a beautiful human being – both of them are. Before the first exam, the teacher who taught the unit for the second exam came and chatted to me. I emailed both teachers after the exams had finished to let them know how they went, not exposing my lack of confidence for fear that they’d feel like they hadn’t covered the material enough (they had; I’m just a fool).

Despite the relative pain of my first exam, the second wasn’t as bad: it was like its antithesis. The topics that I adored came up; I could answer the Source question quite simply although I spent ages on it. I think that my higher understanding and better preparation for this made it more bearable because I’m famous for my screaming rants of “I’m NOT PREPARED HELP ME!” As much as it went quite well, I’m still internally sobbing for lack of direction in the essay but I’m going to pretend that it didn’t exist and move on with my life. That’s always how I seem to deal with my problems… Oops.

English Paper 2

“Why?” I screamed, eyes wild with fury. “After the success of the first paper, I thought-” My voice broke as I took a steadying breath. “I thought that maybe it would go as well! No! O, the pity of it!”

This really didn’t go as well as I wanted it to and I think it was the main disappointment of my exams. That sounded awful but we’d had less time to prepare: it was a coparitive essay between Jane Eyre and The Great Gatsby, in addition to a piece of unseen prose. My English teacher for these units is the best thing ever; she really lit up my enthusiasm for the novels and context of them. Even so, I felt vastly underprepared, much more so than my history.

Parts of it went well, such as the essay on comparisons which I had basically planned a few days ago. I laughed in this exam, too, because I couldn’t get over my good fortune. The unseen prose itself contained such beautiful writing – it was from Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence. The issue wasn’t the subject matter or the words and structure. It was my organisation of ideas: I screwed up. I rambled. I ranted. I was the model of what one may term “not coming up with a relevant point and spouting crap”. Am I being overdramatic? Hahaha, no way; where would you get that impression from?

Critical Thinking, Paper 2

This was the most ridiculous and hilarious paper I think I’d ever come across, mainly because I actually found it alright. The arguments themselves were brilliant in their illogical nature: one of them proposed a ban on speeding points you get on your license because crimes were “adding up” with no punishment. The large argument in the Resource Booklet said at one point that decisions should be left up to the experts because in a democracy, people expected the government to make decisions for them. Again, I laughed. Not because it was funny but because I knew I’d have to analyse it.

When we wrote our own arguments, on the subject of “there will always be crime”, I went on a ranting commentary about today’s society and how as long as there are people, there will always be crime… I don’t know. I was sensing my freedom and wanted to put my own, erm, unique spin on things. Like the first paper, I’ve passed or miserably failed; I’ll be annoyed if it was the latter because I really tried in that paper. I hope the examiner, at least, gets a laugh out of my exasperated analysis an analogy.

All in all, exams weren’t that bad. I definitely didn’t try as hard as I could and should have but there’s nothing I can do about that now. I need to remember that pretty much all year, I’ve been feeling miserable and though that’s not an excuse, it contributed to my lack of motivation to revise or do anything much”

If you have exams to go or have done them, don’t give up on yourself. Keep going and remember not to stress too much after the exam. You’ve done it and you should be proud of yourself for completing it.

Don’t scream at yourself if you think you’ve failed”. Failures are never failures as long as you can improve and make something out of them.

From Elm 🙂

I’ll Fail My Exams if I Don’t Do This

Until 26 May, I can’t:
• Post unless VERY necessary
• Reply to comments
• Read blogs much if at all
• Take part or organise any collabs
• Seriously. No “HAHAHAHA let’s take a hiatus and post a week later!” like last time

Why do I need to do this? Simple. My exams start on the 15th and I. Have. Done. Fuck. All. Revision. I mean that. I’m screwed.

You know when you make up excuses as to why you can’t work, then you get so stressed at how much you have to do, then you can’t do it? That is me. What is also me is convincing myself I’m totally fine and not feeling shitty constantly in order to actually get stuff done.

This is necessary. This is one of the most necessary things I’ve ever had to do. I watched this video earlier and got hit with the reality of everything. I’m not doing enough. If I continue like this, I. Will. Fail. No “But you’ll do great!” about it. No “But you ARE doing enough work!” I’m not and I know it.

If you need to contact me, I will be around – I’m not just utterly abandoning. My email is always open or you can message me on Twitter but I’ll be checking my emails more often. I actually can’t read comments or blogs because I’ll get pulled back in; that’s what happened last time.

Bye for now, everyone – see you on the “other side”, if you will. You know I love you and this blog means the world to me but I’m terrified right now and need to do intense amounts of work. I am very lazy and unmotivated; that must change. FUCK, I only have three weeks left.

Keep going and staying as you are. I hope that pushing down everything and replacing it with a good work ethic won’t damage me afterwards: I’ll be fine.

From Elm 🙂

Should you Do Something Even if You Hate It?

Yesterday was a great day: I felt positive, happy, did work (understood my psychology and history) and I was held up by the thought that for the whole day, I’d felt alive and like I was in control. Recently – and by that I mean for the past few months – I’ve steadily been feeling less connected with my emotions; numb, if you will; growing slowly more unfeeling and scared because of it. Yesterday was a change from that.

Today started off the same – a bit dulled – but it was still alright. I had great conversations with Swan, felt passionate about Othello and English and laughed in Psychology with the new, casual friends I’ve made.

That shattered, at lunch, for one reason: French.

“I fucking hate it.” “God, I wish I’d done Philosophy, or Politics instead.” “If I could go back and change my options, I honestly would – I know loads of people say that but I mean this.” “I’m not passionate about it any more.” “I can’t do it – I just can’t – I want to cry whenever I think about it.” “I love the concept of it – languages are amazing – but studying it sucks the energy out of me and I hate myself for it.” These are all things I’ve been saying about the subject, with more and more insistance, increasing in frequency after the soul-destroying disaster that was my mock.

Today I broke down over it – it was like the final straw. I do Peer Mentoring for this lovely girl a few years younger than me, but I couldn’t do it this lunch. It was partly because I felt shit, but also because I’m tired, confused, and I feel ill, but that’s a whole other story. I hope that she’s okay; I feel rubbish for not talking to her because she might have needed my help nd.

I went to the VI unit – building for visually impaired people where they prepare our work – told the teacher who helps me find my Mentee’s form room that I just couldn’t do it because of stress, and then opened up to her about the french problem. They all knew I was stressed, that I disliked french, but today was the day I truly told them how I felt. After that teacher left, I explained how awful I felt to the teacher who prepares my French work, and one of the other teachers there. Then, I cried through my words, just feeling guilty and hollow.

Essentially, I don’t think I can carry on with French, even to the AS exam. Every time I think about that subject, I panic, cry and don’t do the work. Not doing the work makes me panic so much that I then can’t do it, but there are other reasons.

In French, we study a film. I’m blind, and can’t see enough at all to, well, read the subtitles. The film’s in French, English but also Spanish (which I have no idea how to speak apart from some simple phrases). It would be bad enough if I just didn’t understand what was going on scenery-wise, but not only did my dad have to try and explain what was going on with that as well, he had to translate a few key passages using the subtitles. Plenty of VI people have done french and other languages for A-Level, but I’m just bad, and my mental health was low anyway. That sounds like some fucking stupid excuse.

How do I explain this? Right, so imagine you’re blindfolded and you have to listen to something. It’s in a foreign language, a few English words scattered here and there but mostly in a different language. You watch it with your dad and you think “Okay, I think I get the plot?” You watch it with your class and a funny scene comes up; they laugh, and it takes you 10 minutes to get the context of the joke, understand it, and then understand why it’s relevant. The teacher tells you, “Here are some filming techniques!” Oh great, you think, but what does that mean? Why? You find out the plot, have to learn it and then someone in your class says, “Remember when the main character did that?” Did what, and when was that, and when was the significance of that, and oh god oh god oh god!

When I write about this film, I write what people tell me to write. Either because I’m incapable or because of partly the blindness, coming up with good points based on scenery, characters or anything like that is a struggle. I just don’t understand it, and writing, reading, listening or anything has turned into a chore, something I dread, and it ultimately makes me hate myself because I convince myself I’m some sort of failure.

It’s not only that: the workload is awful. I do three other essay subjects, and they’ve all been affected because French takes up my time, and I always stress I’m just not doing enough. This year has been the worst, academically and personally, for me; my enthusiasm has gone, my mental health is unpleasant, I feel like crap all the time and I can’t seem to shake a feeling of worthlessness. I only wish I’d caught this at the start of the year but at the start of the year, I was much happier.

My friend Laurel, who sits next to me in French, found me after class today as it was the end of the day. She’s also thinking of dropping it, and we walked down the corridor, as I was trying to explain an abbreviated version of how I felt. The wind, as we walked outside, threw my hair around and we stood facing each other, she patting my arm as we said goodbye because she could hear the deadness in my voice.

The thought of going to french lessons makes me feel sick. When I come out the classroom, usually I’m upset, or dead inside – as I am right now, numbed to it. I got so stressed about the speaking exam and how I hadn’t prepared for the practice one that I bent my fingers back, twisting my wrists and gasping for air, trying to tell myself I was fine, that I was just being pathetic.

I can’t do it any more, and I’m gripped with this awful desperation. If I continue with this, I’ll break down, cry even more than I have, and I’m just scared of slipping even further down the crap health ladder. Then again, am I making this out to be worse than it is? If I drop it, will everyone hate me?

I’m speaking to a more senior staff member tomorrow, because I’m too nervous of talking to the french teachers. They’re amazing people and I adore them, but if I explain it to them, they’ll try and convince me to stay. They’ll give great arguments, or say, “Just stick it out to your exam!” I genuinely don’t know if I can do that, but if I told them, they’d convince me I could and then I’d get even worse, because I’d have to prove something.

Pros of dropping French:
I’ll be happier
There’ll be less stress
I can concentrate on the subjects I want to carry on with
I’ll have more time for myself
I may hate myself less

Cons of dropping French:
My french teachers and otherteachers will be disappointed in me
It looks like I’m giving up after having not tried it
I’ll lose credability for not carrying it through to the end
I may regret the decision
My friends and everyone else could think I’m a failure
I do enjoy the idea of French

As I sit in my bedroom, hands shaking and feeling cold all over, I ask myself this question: is it worth feeling this miserable, panicking constantly and worrying, for something that won’t affect your future much after you do it? Is it all really worth it if everything else is being brought down by it? Is it too late? I don’t know. I don’t think it is, and that’s terrifying.

From Elm 🙂

A Really Speedy Quick Update

Hey hey, I’m running on a rare burst of adrenaline because I had an exam today.

Yeah, only I could get an adrenaline rush from having a mock – did I forget to mention I have three mocks this week? Whoops…

Said mocks are why I haven’t been posting, replying to comments or reading blogs for a few days. I’ve been revising – erm I mean trying to revise, crying and going through a few bouts of self-hatred – and today was my first exam. All yesterday I was freaking out, for no good reason, though I didn’t do enough revision in the same way I haven’t done enough for my mock tomorrow. Well done, Elm.

Today was English; tomorrow’s History and Thursday is Psychology. English ITSELF went well: we had a question on poetry, and one on unseen prose; the former went much better than the latter. It was mainly because in the middle of writing a great first paragraph, my fucking computer froze; I had to write that paragraph three times and by the end of it, I got sick of it and started to write crap. That was even more noticeable in my prose analysis, what did I actually write? Who bloody knows – I spent 2 and a half hours writing, because of extra time and the fact that my computer took half an hour to gets its shit together.

I’m dreading the History tomorrow; the English Revolution and Germany from 1871-1914 has never caused me such anguish. From Bismarck to Bethmann-Holwegg (how do you spell that UGH) to screaming about Caprivi’s New Course, I’m very done with the past.

Have you guys had mocks yet? I’m so bad at revising, because no one will revise with me and people from other schools are doing different courses.

Oh, and I had a minature breakdown today because of French which makes me want to lock myself in a very small room and never come out, but I’ll talk about it once mocks are done. God, I’m tired and so behind with everything.

From Elm 🙂

My Battle Plan for AS Levels

Imagine this: I’m the general of an army. (Stop laughing; I know it’s funny). My army is comprised of all of the strategies, tips, revision notes and motivation that I have. My enemy? A-Levels, that I’ll be fighting – I mean taking – in a year and a half.

Right now, I’m trying to deal with the baby version, the battle before the real one; it’s the one that’s so difficult but afterwards, an even worse foe comes along and goes “HA, you thought that was bad? Good luck!” And no, I’m not having a nervous breakdown just thinking about it. Where would you get that impression from?

Today, I had a panicky moment in terms of my work ethic and everything else. We had a double feature lecture, in which we were talked to about how to deal with revision, and how to get on top of things before our exams. Because of that, and because I realised that I haven’t been doing enough, I’ve compiled a little list of what I’m going to do. This time, I’ll stick to it.

1. Make better notes
I consider my notes to be rather bad, in that I write in full sentences and put so much detail in them that whenever I look back at it, I feel overwhelmed. This rigorous screaming of everything onto a page got me through GCSE, but because of the amount of work and the level of it, I need concise things to work from. Upon realising that all the notes I’ve made were in my usual style – writing everything and then feeling sick whenever I thought about it – I blinked, froze, and shouted: “NO, why did I do that?” Maybe my notes are alright, but they’re not alright for me.

2. Read over said notes and actually understand them
When I get home from school, I’m usually either too tired or too dispondent to read over what I wrote in lessons. That’s partly because I get exhausted when thinking of my notes, but also because I lack the drive to bother. That is bad, because if I want the information to be absorbed into my brain, I have to properly make the effort to learn it. Reading over them isn’t enough: I also have to fully understand the concepts, such as political policies of Bismarck, or why Anne Sexton used a specific technique in her poem.

3. Do productive work outside of lessons
We were asked in an assembly a few weeks ago: “Do you do proactive work or retroactive work?” The former being work that the teacher hasn’t set, and the latter just doing what’s asked of you by the teacher. I do the former, but not enough, and it irritates me. I need to really start doing extra work for french especially, and further reading for history and english, as well as everything else. It feels too much now, but if I take it a little at a time, I can manage; we’re told to do so much already, but doing more will enhance my understanding of the subjects I’m doing.

4. Actually talk to teachers
Since I started secondary school, I’ve had a few issues with asking for help: I think that I’m wasting their time, that if I tried harder I’d understand it, or that they’d think I was stupid. It’s resulted in a lot of tears on my end, and frustration on my teachers’ end, and it’s only recently that I’ve felt comfortable enough to voluntarily approach my teacher. All of them are lovely people and understand how hard A-Levels are, so if I talk to them more, I’ll feel more at ease and better about the work, rather than drowning in a sea of crappy worries. They’re not terrifying, though some I prefer to others, but still: they can help and I should remember that.

5. Don’t over-work
As soon as I wrote this down, I burst out laughing because I’m the queen of over-stressing and never giving myself time to relax. I’m still working on that, rather unsuccessfully, but here are some things that may make me more calm:
1. Seeing friends at weekends
2. Going out for walks
3. Increasing my independence – going on trains, cooking, walking around by myself – all of which are more difficult because I’m blind and never did those things in the past
4. Take BREAKS from revision and working
That will help me, because life isn’t all about constant schoolwork.

Hopefully, these will get me through AS Levels, and A-Levels too. If I can keep to these, I won’t be crying constantly from stress like at GCSE, and I’ll be more motivated. By doing all of this, I can feel more organised, get more motivated and do more work.

It’s simple, or it should be. From now onwards, I’ll be better about taking the initiative in studying.

I can do this. I hope that getting a handle on school will help me to cope with my terrible feelings right now, and the inadequacy I almost always feel. If I can prove to myself I’m good enough in this, I can prove to myself that I’m good enough in anything.

From Elm 🙂

It Feels like I have So Much to Do

Hi guys! Short post, because I’m half-stressed.

Today, I’ve kind of roped myself into doing a lot of stuff – most of which could be done at another time, but because I’m me, I’ve decided I need to do them all NOW. What a sensible decision, Elm!

First, I need to re-do my about page. As much as I love the page, it’s just not ‘me’ any more – it partly is, but I just want to write it again to put a fresh spin on things. I want to put more of an emphasis on how I’m always here to talk to anyone who needs it, and to REALLY explain who I am. Is that a good idea?

I also REALLY need to update my page about who’s who. It’s horrendously out of date; there are people I mention on my blog that aren’t on that page, and also, situations – especially with Ash – have changed. I mean, Rapunzel isn’t even on there! That just shows you how much I need to do to get it up to scratch. As well as this, would it be better to have the names in headings rather than in bold? I can’t do visuals – sorry!

Because my school is evil and the jump from GCSE to A Level is huge, I have a ton of holiday homework to do. I’m going to hold off on the English until I see Wren, because I honestly don’t understand it. However, I have a 60 page (though the pages are small) French grammar booklet that I need to start today. Yes, I have the whole holiday, but if I don’t start now, I’ll NEVER start. Stress is mounting, so I need to de-stress myself.

In addition to that, I’ve scheduled a call with an internet friend (I mean I said we should call in about 10 minutes after he asked) so I’m mildly freaking out about that. I don’t know him that well, but hopefully, through this, we’ll understand each other better. Later on, I need to call a few other people because I did promise. GOD it feels like I’m popular, but I’m really not; trust me!

Okay, Elm, breathe! All I have to do is think logically and calmly, and it’ll all be fine. Wooo I think I’ve put too much pressure on myself.

Alright, I’m going to call this friend now and after that, do my french grammar booklet. If things get too awkward, I’ll plead that I have to do my homework because of stress (not a lie). It’ll be okay.

Today, I’ve already spoken to Tara about books and life, which was so so amazing. This afternoon, I also opened up to L about what’s been going on recently. It was such a relief to finally talk to him about it – I may have nearly cried, but it made me feel better.

What are you guys up to today? I think I need to just relax.

From Elm 🙂