Summer already seems so far away at this point. Once school starts again, I feel like routine sneaks back into my life instantly. I must admit, at the end of the summer I am actually looking forward to school. Especially this year, because it is sort of a new beginning.
It’s probably a bit weird, but in many ways, I like school. And yes that probably makes me a bit of a nerd. But I like to learn new things, to develop myself, to have new challenges. I don’t know if it’s the case for everyone, but I just need to have my goals. They keep me going.
I was never ambitious in high school. I just didn’t care. I realize now that I wasn’t being myself at all, I didn’t feel comfortable in that school. I had some great times with my friends, but the majority of it wasn’t nice at all. I guess part of that was up to me, I kinda shut down and kept to myself most of the time.
The first year of university, I still had that same mentality. Sort of. There wasn’t a drive, a motivation. It’s kind of cliché, but I didn’t know who I was, who I wanted to be. I did however feel a bit more comfortable in these new surroundings.
That year turned out to be a very hard for me. I quit college after two and a half months. I had a complete breakdown. At some point I didn’t leave my house anymore, lost contact with my friends. My days were composed of sleeping, sitting and eating a bit.
I told everyone I was sick. I was afraid to say how I really felt. I still am today, I never told my friends what was really going on. After attending the doctor a couple of times, we came to the conclusion that my symptoms are those of an anxiety disorder.
People who have an anxiety disorder are scared of being scared. And I know this sounds odd. But I can randomly and less randomly get anxiety ‘attacks’. If you get these at first, you really think something is very wrong with you. I felt completely lost and sad.
I’m still at a point where I have to convince myself this isn’t something to be ashamed of, because I still am. I feel like people will not understand. For me it felt as a big relieve to find out what I had, what it was, and most importantly… I wasn’t alone.
Anxiety is in essence a GOOD thing. It keeps us alive and focused. If you are walking and suddenly there is a lion in front of you, your body gives you two options: either you fight or you run. Unless you are Tarzan I would say RUN. Now your body pumps adrenaline into your blood. It will pay less attention to your digestion and focus on running fast, to say it in a simple way. This is anxiety. But you don’t notice that you get a bit nauseous, sweaty, dizzy… your focus is on USING the adrenaline to run or fight.
Chances you run into a lion in Belgian are rare. Unless you go to the zoo. My point, anxiety is still there, will still save you, but the lions sort of have almost all disappeared. To give an example, I am sitting on a bus. My body thinks there is a lion. But I don’t see one. I only notice the physical aspects of anxiety. So my head says: huh, what is going on here? I’m getting nauseous, am I going to be sick? Now I am getting scared of my internal feelings. So I just added a second lion myself. Oh no, let’s add more adrenaline. More being nauseous, dizzy, a whole list of unpleasant things. Oh no, this is real! It’s getting worse! Not now! Third lion coming and so on… If you continue collecting lions, you can end up in an ‘anxiety attack’. Which is even more unpleasant.
Luckily I found a way back up, and things are going good again. I really love studying law. However, these anxieties will never go away. Sometimes they are rarely present, sometimes a lot. It’s something I have to accept, and because of these anxieties I do know I’m a pursuant person, who doesn’t give up that easily.
I didn’t mean for this to be a depressive or sad post. But I just wanted to have said it. This is going on in my head, and in many others. Anxiety is present in many people’s lives, and although it isn’t always easy, it proves that we are strong! 🙂