Hey, you! Yeah, you, you are going to be fine, whatever you are going through it will pass and you will be the person you really aspire to be. It might be hard, I know. Maybe there are people that are making you feel extremely uncomfortable, you have plenty of thoughts attacking you right now, or you are just uncertain about your future, and it is making you feel anxious. I have been there, you know?
I have been through so many unwanted, scary, worrying, moments so before I touch on “How I Became the Person I Want to Be” I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Let’s look back at the start of my High School journey. I must say year 7 was really… different. Transitioning from Primary School to High School was not the easiest step to take in my life, some of you have probably been there. New teachers, new friends, work gets harder, etc. Now, at the beginning of Year 7, my parents divorced, and things were so much different, imagine living with one parent and having no contact with the other, the parental balance just was not there. I was fine up until year 10. Fast forward to year 10, everything hit me! All the emotions throughout years 7, 8, and 9 were hiding and just pounced on me in year 10. Sadly, because of that, I not only missed having a father, but I also developed social anxiety. Oh, and let’s not forget about GCSE exams. IT WAS JUST INSANITY!
In addition to this, I had a bunch of students “fake caring” about me, in other words, they would ask about my struggles just to, later, make fun of them.
I know I know very weird. Having all of this weight on me was too much, my attendance and punctuality dropped which then had the pastoral worker worried. Her name was Mrs. Grant, after many missed, worrisome days and after a lot of meetings with Mrs. Grants, my teachers, assistant headteacher, it was the GCSE exam result day.
I opened the envelope with my grades, and I have passed. Yes, I have but the grades were much worse than my predicted grades before all of the struggles affected my life.
My reaction was… very emotional. After hearing “Hey Daniel you are a hard-working student” or “Hey Daniel your predicted grades are really good keep up the good work” and then seeing crappy grades is such a painful feeling. I wanted to just give up. Literally, there was no path! On the way out of High School after picking up my grades I ran into the pastoral worker Mrs. Grants which by the way I did not mentioned earlier but she was the most supportive person in my High School. Anyway, I walked outside the school gates, and she stopped me and asked, “Hey Daniel what grades did you get?” I was emotionless that is how upset I was, so I simply replied “I passed but they are bad”. After that, she said something that stuck with me to this day! She said, “Daniel, you are going to be successful one day”, and then she smiled and continued asking other students about their grades.
At that time, I treated that sentence as something to cheer someone up, but it was more than that. That sentence proved to me that words are powerful, and that good people are truthful and never just blab around random things. In fact, her words happened to be true!
After High School during summer break, I took some time to reflect on what is wrong with me (but in reality, nothing was wrong with me, it was just my telling me that). I read many articles about anxiety and mental health overall, finding out about tips on how to overcome overwhelming feelings. Over some time, I managed to slightly gain control of my emotions and struggles, which made me believe in myself, the fog that was blocking my path to the person I have always wanted to be, started clearing up. Later on, during summer break, I enrolled on a College Creative Media Course. I felt like that was the right course for me as I have always had an interest in content production (video editing, videography, animation, etc). The early days of college were not easy. It was like Deja-vu. Keeping the self-reflection that I had done before starting college in mind helped me realise that all of these anxious thoughts were just there random, there was no purpose for them, it is not like the fight-or-flight response where you are anxious and you either have to defend yourself or run away from a problem. Sometimes we feel anxious for a good and natural reason. I am no student with a PhD in psychology (I am still in college ha-ha) but anxiety can actually help us perform better and stimulate action and creativity. My anxiety at the start of college was not naturally good, it simply wanted to disturb me from achieving the things I wanted.
After some time in College, I was getting better day by day (it felt amazing) and I have built a strong and close friendship with my tutor Mr. Polson. One day, I had a very interesting chat with him about mental health and I actually opened up about my earlier High School experience. He was really understanding and said something not necessarily true but inspirational (I want to say that this is not the only inspirational thing about him, I would personally say he is full of positivity and inspiration, that I view him as a definition of success). He told me “People that struggle and manage to find ways to overcome these struggles will be far better off solving issues and problems in the future than those who have an easy life without anything bothering them”. I totally agreed with him, people who go through tough times learn and help themselves in the future if needed. But there are some people who have an easy life and still overcome issues very effectively. So please do not think that since you have not experienced anything bad in terms of mental health you will not know how to deal with problems in the future. I would personally say my tutor’s statement is partially true as we do see that people who have everything done for them (the so called boujee class) tend to struggle more than those who have to actually fight through tough moments. But then again, his statement is also based on stereotypical views which may not necessarily be true. I don’t know, what do you think? Do you find it inspirational just like me? Or disagree. Anyway, back to my story. After many inspirational chats with my tutor, after meeting a bunch of new cool friends, I started to feel like me, the person I aspired to be during those tough times. I felt relieved (like a lot of trust me). My bad grades from High School were no longer on my mind, I had to look forward to achieving the things I wanted (you should too). I knew that there was nothing I could have done about my High School grades, so I focused on obtaining good grades in college. You probably won’t be surprised but not looking back actually helped ha-ha. Now I am not done with college, but I have achieved good grades (the grades I wanted to achieve).
Looking back at my High School life and comparing it to life now, things were so much more different. Seriously, back then I did not know myself, I was just “some person” who struggled a lot and was emotional almost every day. Now, I am surrounded with positivity it feels like a shield protecting me from all the struggles. I have many friends, I am being creative in college and outside of college working on various projects, I have an extremely loving girlfriend (who also went through some tough moments), and I finally discovered myself, I became the person I wanted to be.
I know you might be struggling and if you are reading this and think your struggles are much worse just know there is always a positive path waiting to be unfogged and taken by you. All I want you to do is NOT GIVE UP! I would personally say giving up is not an option. I know everyone is different but based on my experience I need YOU to slow down, take a step back, and try to understand all the different puzzles that are stopping you from accomplishing your goals.
It is ok to ask for help, I’m not saying you should go through your struggles alone, that is what I did. I would recommend that you chat with someone if you are struggling as the recovery process will be much faster. If you are wondering why I have not really talked to anyone about my issues, it was because I was scared. I thought I was going to be judged and ignored so I decided to go through all of it alone.
To sum up, I want to say that I always thought of blogs like this one as bait or a trap. I thought people were trying to get you to speak up, talk to someone, etc just so you get judged by others when you do decide to speak up (it was a very random thought I had in my mind during my tough times). I promise you that this blog as well as others are trying to help you, especially the ones that share truthful stories for example this story. I did not take the time to write this to lie to you, bait you into doing something, or anything negative. I want you to feel better, you do not deserve to feel upset most of the days, nobody does. This applies to everyone who struggles with mental health. If you are reading this just because you are bored or for whatever reason, I hope you learned and took away something from this. I want you to remember that words can be extremely powerful so please do not ignore them, instead, analyse them and maybe it will speed up the process of getting better, another thing I want you to remember is that things are not always going to be easy. It is not like struggling with mental health happens only once. There will be days where you will feel sad, angry, anxious, etc even I feel a slightly negative way sometimes but that feeling tends to naturally go away fast, it does not linger around you the entire time.
I might not know you, but I believe in you. I know you will find the way to your success. It will take time to discover yourself, find answers to why you feel the way you feel, but trust me the feeling of overcoming your struggles is probably the best feeling you will ever experience. Now go become the person you want to be!