This year, I finished my Leaving Cert. I didn't do the best as I barely ever attended, nor did I study. I knew college wasn't for me, at least for this year. Shortly after completing my Leaving Cert, I became riddled with anxiety, nothing new to me although it hit me like a train once again. It knocked me, stemming from feeling lost, alone, stupid and basically like a bum. I failed a job trial due to shaking at the till with anxiety. I turned down two jobs due to crying in the days come up to the trials with anxiety. I felt as if I would never rid this horrible spell that had suddenly knocked my confidence to the floor.
It's strange, I can remember going red in school, not being able to speak publicly and finding it hard to speak to other people from a young age. Of course, at the time I didn't even know what anxiety was! I just figured I was 'shy' and also 'weird' as some of the boys in my school would call me. Now, at 18 I'm fully aware of my anxiety and have slowly taught myself to cope with it and accept the fact I have it.
It wasn't easy, some days I still feel like I can't do it anymore. Some days I really do ask myself, why me? Why am I like this? I still cry myself to sleep some nights over something I did that day that embarrassed me. What's important is that I always end up reassuring myself that it's okay. It's fine that I get nervous, it's fine I shake, it's fine I go red, it's fine if I can't talk aloud some days. I'm not weird, I'm not different, I'm just me. I have anxiety, just like loads of others in this world. The day I learnt to be okay with the fact I had anxiety was the day I started to heal. I'm aware that some days, I might not want to go out. That's fine. I've also learnt that some days, it's better for ME if I get up, get dressed and just go. I feel satisfaction, I feel confidence and it makes the next time I don't feel like going out, that little bit easier.
Being alone is a tough one for me, something I still struggle with. When I'm alone I find my mind wanders and suddenly, all the tension I've been holding just makes me crumble, I feel lonely, lost and ready to give up. I sleep on that feeling a lot and I know that's clichè but trust me, it works. I wake up the next morning, I start over and I'm never unhappy with my decision to do so.
With patience, days of crying, days of trying to be positive even when I was knocked down, something came up for me. I enrolled for a course in hairdressing, a career I used to dream of doing when I was a child but had let it go. I enrolled in the hope of gaining confidence, while earning money for it and doing something I have an interest in. I went, I haven't missed one day yet and I'm the happiest I have felt all year. School is not for everyone. Neither is college. Believe in yourself, believe you WILL find yourself and your path. Every day will be different, some tough, some amazing, but I learn to that each day, whether my anxiety is taking over or not, I'm still me. I'm still going to succeed in life, I'm still able to be happy, I'm still able to live. No mental illness can stop you from succeeding in life, once you realise this and do your very best to get help, or change your direction, I promise it will work out for you.
This article was written by a SpunOut.ie volunteer. Check out our volunteering options here and get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved.