Scars

I haven’t responded to a Daily Prompt for ages. Ages and ages. Today I stumbled across it when I came here to write a post. It fitted my thoughts and feelings perfectly. It summarised what I wanted to write, so I am using the Daily Prompt today. It means I have to think a little less, and that will help.

I am revising for exams at the moment. One of my units is, essentially, about the brain. That of course means studying mood disorders: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, the list goes on.

I find the brain so engaging and interesting and mind blowingly cool (excuse the unintentional pun). But that doesn’t make some of the topics any easier, when I have to revise them over and over again. Studying the brain makes me revisit memories, scars, I guess that you could say. It makes me remember things that I try my hardest not to think about. It pulls at my heart and pushes me over, and it breaks me. I’m trying not to let it break me. This is science, and it doesn’t have to involve looking back at the things that hurt me, but it does. I just can’t help it.

Leavers dinner, afternoon’s in coffee shops, summer drives, tears, late nights, fear, worry, love, pain, friendship.

It hurts. I’m trying not to cry. I have to take an exam on this. I have another three weeks of revision to get through before that exam. But memories are impairing my revision, and I need someone so badly to come and hold me and tell me that I don’t need to worry about the past. I want to be safe, and I want everyone else to be safe. But nobody is ever really safe. Everyone is haunted by their past, scars never go away, mental illness doesn’t go away, and it makes me fear for so many people in my life.

5 days later

I have had a headache for five days. It’s probably a tension headache, or maybe I just need an eye test, but it’s agonising. It’s sitting in the back of my head, refusing to budge no matter how much water I drink or pain meds I take. I gave up with the pain meds 2 days ago, but I have a Skype meeting this evening that I cannot miss, so I’m going to try again.

It’s exhausting, I have too much to do, and I’ve just dissolved into tears. I’m going home tomorrow, but I’m off to volunteer for a week on Sunday. I’m only home for 24 hours before I need to be a responsible adult, and I can’t go feeling like this.

I can feel my shoulders raised, but I can’t relax them. My head is excruciating, and I really am not coping this evening. I need a hug, that’s the only time I’ve ever been able to physically feel tension swim out of my body.

I want to go home. I want to go to bed. I want this to go away. I have too many other things on my plate right now.

Rock Bottom

I’ve hit rock bottom. It’s strange, and it’s scary, and it’s a place that I’ve not been for months and months. I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit.

I’ve been confident and happy since I came back to university. I’ve tried and I’ve worked and started every day with a positive attitude, and it has gone superbly. I cannot believe the change within myself, and I love being so happy and carefree. It’s been beautiful.

Last week, I started exams. Exams have always been a rocky subject for me. They’ve always been the thing that has ground me down and broken me into tiny pieces, crushed me so that I am no longer able to think straight, reason straight, or even eat straight. Balls of stress build in my stomach and take over me, and every second of every day is ten times harder when fighting back tears and forcing myself to eat when I feel the constant queasy sensation of nerves for weeks and weeks upon end. Spending time with other people is simply not an option, and I find myself slipping into a dark abyss, screaming and struggling for someone to rescue me.

But not this time. I’ve done very well so far. The positivity has reigned, and I’ve made it through with hunger pangs, heathly snacks, regular meals, lots of sleep, evenings with my flat mates and revision. I took my first two exams, the second of which I was extremely confident for. I’ve never gone into an exam feeling confident, or gone into an exam with no nerves at all. I was surprised, so surprised. I was struggling with tiredness before I got there, but I was confident and a day in bed didn’t seem to matter, like it would have ripped me into guilt before. It was weird.

The exam didn’t go so well, and I left in tears, my confidence crushed. That was Thursday, and I’ve still got the hardest two exams ahead of me. I feel defeated, and I’m not sure what to do. I’ve tried to carry on, but eating is getting harder, and whilst I enjoy time with my flat mates, the pit of nervous guilt I feel later has been haunting me. I’m not sleeping well, at all, and slowly but surely the familiar ache of the exam season has returned.

This evening, I hit rock bottom. I feel like I’ve fallen to the bottom of the pit. I can’t see a way out, and I know that if I took the two exams I have this week right now, I’d fail them. That’s not just the pessimist in me, that’s the whole and honest truth. And I’m terrified, because academically, I’ve never failed. My academics have been something I’ve been able to rely on, results, whilst terrifying, a strange familiarity in my often crazy life.

Now, I’m not so sure, and for the last few hours at least, I’ve not been coping. I’m not sure how to change that, and I know I won’t wake up tomorrow being the confident one again. The pit is back, the fear is back, the guilt is back, and I have no motivation. I can’t make myself work, because it’s then that I remind myself of just how little I know. I’m very very afraid, and I wish there was someone who could help me.

I’ve realised that I’m very alone. In my waves of confidence, I’ve forgotten how to speak out to those who mean the most to me. I need to talk to my best friend, and I thought I had tried but I’m not sure that I have. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, maybe she too was fooled by my recent waves of confidence and thinks this is just a wobble. Maybe she’s just busy.

I don’t know. I don’t know how to feel about this. Life isn’t as easy when your confidence is gone, and I don’t like being rock bottom.

Five days and two exams to go.

Help me, I’m terrified.

The Beginning of the End

I guess that you could say that today is he beginning of adulthood. I’m absolutely terrified. Today, I lost my security blanket. Just thinking about it is bringing me close to tears. I’m afraid to admit, even to you people out there in cyberspace, that this afternoon I’ve waltzed around the house singing at the top of my lungs. Of course, I was singing to hold back the tears. Distraction, and something else to think about for once. When I cooked dinner, I nearly slipped. I sang louder. I was okay.

Perhaps it’s more than just today, and it is more of an acumulation of things that has made me so upset. I’ve been starting to ‘think’ for a few weeks, and the pulling away of my warm and fluffy blanket this morning has sent my brain into spiral mode, thinking and thinking and thinking.

It would be a lie to say that some of that is not happy thinking. I remember some things and I smile, like getting drunk with a teacher and how amazing my design teacher was when I did my GCSEs. Things like getting my grade seven flute and a design student of the year award are awesome. Equally though, I hate this time of year. Summer, when you’ve been in school for 14 years, is a time of endings. It’s a time of moving on, growing up, and as of last year, it’s a time of horrible memories. But I don’t want to talk about leavers. I should, but that’s irrelevant.

I’m not leaving this year though, I left school last year, and not much will change when I go back to university to start second year. But the staff members who provided security to me  in my last few years of school and especially this time last year are going. Although we may say we go back to school for flute lessons and DofE, we know that we go back for safety, in reality. We go back to see familiar faces and to ground ourselves in knowing that however stupid adults are, there’s some who care, and when we were in school, there was someone to look after us, and if we ever really needed it, they’d be there again. But those people are leaving or have gone. As of September, we will have no reason to go back to school. We are loosing our safety blanket, and our school era is well and truly ending.

I feel horrific. I don’t want to grow up. All my life adults have let me download, pressured me, never understood me, and placed unrealistic expectations on my shoulders. I don’t want to be an adult, and I am terrified of not having those few who do care to keep me safe. People don’t want out for you when you grow your, only those cloest friends, and theh may be hundreds of miles away. Adults go it alone, and thinking about school and growing up is hurting inside.

It’s the beginning of the end. The beginning of getting old and growing up. As a kid, I used to cry on my birthday for fear of getting old and dying. That fear has never felt as real as it does now.

I’m losing the adults who care, and I’m terrified of loosing my best friend. I’m worried about her, and I wish she knew how much I care about her. I’d never tell her this, but there’s times when I hug her and I squeeze extra tight in the hope she’ll realise just how much she means to me and that I’m always here to fight by her side. She wont know, ahe probably thinks I’m clingy. Sometimes it may be because I need her to hold me tighter and to make me feel safe, but often, I’m just trying to show how much I care. Words were never my forte.

I don’t want to grow up. It doesn’t work like it does in fairytales. It’s just not that simple, and I’m not ready to face the real world yet. And I’ll never ever be able to face it alone.

I hope that forever I can keep my best friend, and we can be young together. We can be the adults for each other, taking it in turns to be care giver and taker, like we have been so often when the adults in our lives have failed us. Sometimes, we’ve cried together, but we made it. I hope that the beginning of the end, and really being an adult won’t be too scary. I left school a year ago, I turned eighteen ages ago. I should be fine. But I’ve learnt thay life is never that simple. There’s always a mountain to climb. Now it feels like I’m leaving, and it’s like last year all over again.

I need to talk. I really really need to talk. I need to take time to think and accept. I need to understand everything, not just leaving school and these teachers leaving. There’s lots of things happening to and around me right now that I need to contemplate. 
I hope it’ll be fine. I hope she’ll be okay. I hope I have chosen the right path and am doing the right thing. I hope I can smile and have fun. And if I can continue to hope, it will be fine, because without hope, we are dead.

Miss You Already

Have you ever had this thing where someone doesn’t realise how much they mean to you? Where they’re simply obvious to the impact they’ve had on your life? They just don’t get it, and you feel a bit silly really for feeling the way that you do, but equally, there’s nothing you can do to change that feeling.

Tonight, as a I said goodbye to a girl who I may never see again, this happened. I was trying to pull my ‘I’m perfectly fine’ face, but it must have been pretty obvious that I was fighting back tears. She held me super tight and said goodbye three or four times. But she asked if I was okay. She asked if there was something I needed to say, or something that was bothering me that I wanted to tell her about. I shook my head. What could I do? I couldn’t stand there and say ‘Yes, it’s you. I don’t want to you to go, I’ve no idea how I’m going to manage second year without you. Who will leave me giggling for hours and text me before each and every exam to say good luck?’ I think she was worried about me. She genuinely thought there was something wrong. I just didn’t want to say goodbye. I watched her walk away and as soon as she was out of sight the tears began to slide down my cheeks.

She’s had a massive impact on me in the short time that we’ve been friends. She makes me laugh and smile and it’s fun to be with someone who hasn’t figured out all my little quirks yet and so treats me at face value. It’s fun to have someone to have fun with, and it’s amazing to spend time with someone who loves Guiding just as much as me, and thus is rather similar to me.

I think I may have said before that it was time to say goodbye to someone. Today was that day. We had a mutual event this morning and this afternoon we headed to her house at about 3pm with no real plans but to have fun. We made fudge, watched a movie, walked through the coolest tunnels I’ve ever seen (lights and classical music!), found a geocache and wrote our names together in the book, took the obligatory selfie, and walked into town to eat fish and chips on a bench. It may not have been the meal or night out that we had originally talked about, but it was cool. We talked non stop and had a chance to have fun and most importantly, gossip.

She’s awesome. Anyone who claims that growing up isn’t a requirement of life at all, not even eighteenth birthdays, 21st birthdays, or graduations, is worth sticking around. She’s made me smile so much this year, and my heart is breaking to watch her go. Next year won’t be the same. She won’t be here. The friendship may not have been long, but it has been amazing.

Goodbyes are horrible. This goodbye hurt. In fact, this goodbye hurt nearly as much as the goodbye I said to my best friend last summer. It’s not often you find a good person. It’s not often you find someone who really cares. I may never see her again, and that’s tearing my heart apart. In two years, she may not even remember my name. But I’ll remember hers. She may not realise, but she’s made the last few months so much easier.

I need a hug. The halls are empty, the silence is deafening, and it feels like the tears might fall again.

Goodbye, and thank you. One day, I hope I can be like you. You’re amazing, and I really truly mean that. I wish I could tell you that. I wish I could tell you how good you’ve made me feel recently. But I’m not brave enough, and so the goodbye was simple. It’s done, you’re gone, I miss you already.

500 miles

Yesterday, I needed someone. Yesterday, I cried for four hours solid. Last night was terrible, and I needed someone to stand beside me and prop me up for a while.

But there was nobody there, and I remembered how lonely university can be sometimes.

After a couple of hours, I decided to contact my best friend. I didn’t want to panic her, or worry her. It’s too close to exams for me to mess up her life again, but I just needed to hear her voice. I know that there’s nothing she can do from 500 miles away but I needed to know that somebody cared. I tried to keep my voice as even as I could. I didn’t want her to know that I was crying. I told her that I just wanted to say hi, but she was busy. She said she’d call me back later, but I knew as soon as she said it that she wouldn’t. I didn’t rest any hope on it at all like I may have done in the past. She’s rubbish at getting back to me sometimes.

I continued to cry for another two hours. I breathed deeply, I stood and talked to myself in the mirror, but nothing helped. Nothing made the shooting pain go away, and I cannot remember a time when I felt so alone.

I’m fighting with myself about if it’s okay to call her again today. I don’t know if I can afford to screw over her chances like I have so many times before. I don’t know if it’s time for me to grow up and face the world on my own. I don’t know if I should pretend it’s all okay, plaster a smile on my face, and get through my exams before I allow myself to think and feel. I don’t even know what I’m capable of.

I’m just in need of a friend, and it’s a friend that I couldn’t find last night. In my heart of hearts, I need to tell someone what is making me so upset, but I just don’t want to worry her. She’s busy.

But in reality, I know that I need her to find half an hour for me, but I don’t know if I can ask her to do that. I need her to listen, I need her not to get frustrated, and I don’t even know if I really need advice. I just need to know that someone’s there, because this isn’t an easy situation. Perhaps I’ll call her again at lunch time to say hi. I probably won’t though. I don’t know if she caught on. I don’t know if she’s just too busy. I don’t know if she’s completely oblivious, but it’s times like these when I wish someone like her noticed, someone who I trusted. I wish someone would ask ‘are you okay?’.

She said she’d call me back.
She’s 500 miles away.

It’s been a while

It’s been nearly two weeks since I last wrote a blog post. That’s an awful long time for me. But I’ve been very busy, and very happy, even if a little confused at times. I’ve come back today, with a desperate need to write, to find seven draft posts, each just a title. Most of them, I don’t know what I wanted to write about. I’ll keep them though because maybe it’ll come back to me.

But I am here. I never go anywhere. I’m always watching and reading, and whilst I know that with a free evening ahead and tomorrow off, I’m likely to get pretty deep tonight, there’s a chance that you’ll see the shining light of happiness that has been the last two weeks, too.

I won’t make promises. Let’s see what happens. I love reading about you, and I’m sorry it’s been a while, and I’m sorry for the onslaught that I’m probably about to produce.

Just breathe, relax, and remember, that everything will be okay.

No, I don’t know either. I don’t know if I’m talking to you or myself any more.

Sickness

I’m sick. I’m really really sick. And for a girl who doesn’t get sick, that’s extremely scary.

I’m waiting for the bus to guides, but The waves of nausea are almost too much to handle. Fatigue, diarrhoea and sickness is tricky, and I’m not sure what’s ongoing issues and what is new. I don’t know what to worry about, and what is normal for me.

I’m struggling to even stand for any length of time, and I can’t keep food down. Oh, and it’s a ‘food festival’ at Guides. Even better. My neck hurts, and my stomach is getting shooting pain after shooting pain.

So why am I going to guides tonight? Because I have a genuine fear that when I go to sleep tonight, I might not wake up. But nobody knows. And nobody can know because I’m probably just being silly.

I’m ill, I’m really ill. And I don’t think this is ‘just’ low iron and an ongoing stomach issue anymore.

A tear slides down my cheek, and my fears are just making my stomach flip faster and faster and faster. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where I should go, and I don’t know who to ask.

I’m going to help cure cancer.

I guess that I’ve always had an awareness of cancer. From an age much younger than most, I knew what cancer was and how it affected people, and what it did to lives. When I was very young, both my Nana Winnie and Auntie Audrey died from cancer. I don’t remember it much, I was too young to remember anything about Winnie, but I remember Audrey. She lived a few doors down from my nan, and she always spoke to and played with us as kids. She gave me a lot of old coins once, and I think they’re in a pot in my nan’s bedroom now. I still wasn’t old enough to really understand, but I was sad when she died, and I used to sit and count those coins for a long time afterwards.

When I was twelve, a very close family friend who’s the same age as me was diagnosed with bone cancer. It was three years before he finally got the all clear, and even now, three years after that date, he’s still having treatment to try and fuse the bones in his legs. He’s had plaster casts, operations, and metal frames with pins. Even when the cancer has gone, it doesn’t ever go away, really. It still follows you and haunts you and impacts on your life, forever.

Recently, my mum is being tested for cancerous cells, and that worries me a lot. She doesn’t tell me much of what is going on, and I panic about her well being much more than I should. The doctor told me a few months ago when I went to see him about an issue, that although the chances are minute, there’s a chance that even my symptoms could be a sign of cancer. That thought haunts me every day, and it doesn’t go away.

If you’ve got to my age and never known anyone who’s had cancer, you’ve done amazingly well. I don’t know at exactly what point I decided that I wanted to go into cancer research. It was only a couple of years ago that I found out what pharmacology actually was, and then I was dead set that it would be my career. Somewhere in the mess that has been the past few years, I decided that I wanted to go into cancer research. Not once have I wavered from that decision. Especially with my family friend suffering for such a long time and at such a young age, cancer has had a massive impact on my life. I’m so determined to do well in my degree, because I want to make a difference. Of course, one person cannot save the world on their own, but if I can make a positive impact on the lives of others, then I will. I could never ever be a doctor or a nurse, that’s an extremely challenging profession both physically and mentally (oh, I don’t do blood or needles which doesn’t help!), so being a pharmacologist is my way of making a difference.

And then today happened. I found out that one of my ex A Level teachers has a brain tumour. When I heard this news, my panic stress induced freeze attack hit me faster than it ever has before, and I couldn’t control it. I overheated, and I fainted. Luckily, I was sat down and so I didn’t injure myself, but even I was a little shocked. Even now, I’m surprised that I reacted in such a way to the news. After all, she’s only a teacher, right?

Let me take a little side track here, for a second. Bare with me, because hopefully it will allow me to explain. Back in my last year of middle school, I had to give a fifteen minute presentation about my heroes. At the time, I didn’t really have any heroes. In the end, I chose my cousins, my friend suffering from cancer, and a random flautist that I’d never heard of but a quick google search provided me with the answers. I was very much a ‘do it on my own’ kind of person, and I still am now. I didn’t look up to anyone, because I couldn’t see anyone around me that I thought was worth looking up to. Perhaps if I’d have thought a little harder, I’d have come up with a better idea, but I didn’t want to think too hard because the more personal I made it, the more difficult it was going to be to give the presentation. Presentations are hard enough anyway, and make me panic enough anyway without me talking about something personal on top of that! Now, five years on, things are a little different. Although I’d still be horrified by having to give a presentation about my heroes, I’d have some to talk about. I don’t like the word ‘hero’ because it’s glorified. The people that I look up to and want to be like don’t deserve that title. To me, they’re more than ‘just’ heroes. They’re not drawings in a comic book. They’re real people who have made a difference to me. It’s a little difficult to put into words, but the reasons I appreciate them are very personal to me, and a little difficult to explain to the outside world. I guess it doesn’t matter anyway, because my understanding of the word hero is bound to have changed since I was thirteen.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, without revealing the whole list, that teacher is someone who would be on it. To me, she’s not ‘just a teacher’. Her name would be there in a brightly coloured pen with something along the lines of ‘nosy, laughable, caring, and can give a bloody good motivational speech!’ She impacted on my life in my A Level years more than most of you could even imagine. From the first few months of AS when I was dragged to her room in tears by my best friend because A Levels were all just too much, all the way through my grandad’s illness when she excused me from homework (I had NEVER missed a homework deadline in my life – except once when I was eleven. I had done my RE homework, but I just left it at home. I was horrified.), to my A2 mocks when I failed and she offered to give me extra tuition at lunch time, from the times that I arrived late to her lesson to sit on my own in total silence, and she asked no questions, to the hundreds of times that I stood in her room after a lesson staring blankly and on the verge of tears, desperately trying to force myself to say something that I was hiding, weather it be my friend’s eating habits, my state of panic, or something else. I never did say, and I never did tell. Until leavers. I don’t want to talk about leavers, or what happened. It’s a story I’ve told before, it’s a story that tears chunks from my heart, and it’s a story that I try my best not to think about. But what she did that night and the days that followed in order to help me cope was unbelievable. She sat next to me on that coach and held me and hugged me when all I was trying to do was ignore her and push her away, but all I really needed was someone to do exactly what she was doing. She spoke to me the next day, on DofE, to check in, and to give me one of those fabulous motivational speeches. I saw her a few days later and it was just the same. A few months later, she sent me an email and arranged to meet me for coffee in the summer holidays to check on me, to give support, and to give me one final speech before exam results day. She still emails me occasionally now. I knew she hadn’t been in school recently, and I knew she’d been ill.

I didn’t ever dream or expect that she’d have cancer.

It doesn’t matter how educated I am about the disease, what I know, or what I want to be, when there’s someone you care about that gets ill, it hits you. Hard. She may ‘only be a teacher’, but I do care about her, lots. And she cared about me. I’d like to think that she still does care about me. On reflection, I know she’ll be a fighter, and I really hope she’ll be okay. It was a shock when I heard the news. Again, I don’t have the words to describe it, I just hit freeze mode.

The news may have knocked me out today, I may not have revised as hard as I perhaps should have this afternoon.

But four hours after I was told, and on reflection, I know one thing for sure. I’m now even more determined to go into cancer research. I’m determined to do well in these exams, and this degree. I’m determined to be awesome, just like she is, and like she always told me that I was.

That Mistake Will Cost Me First Year

Crap. I’m sorry, but there’s no other word for it right now. I submitted my ethics assignment last week, a good five days early, and then I forgot about it. Or at least, that’s what I thought I’d done.

It turns out that in reality, I hadn’t done that. And that mistake could cost me first year. Although it’s not a graded piece, I do have to get a pass mark in order to pass the unit, and now I’m sat here with my head on my desk sobbing, because I can’t pass.

They’ve said it a thousand times: late work doesn’t get marked. You get zero. End of. No debates.

But I thought I’d submitted it, I really did, but somehow, I missed the second submit button, and had actually only uploaded it as a draft. Someone mentioned in a lecture this morning that it had been a little odd, and whilst I tried to rectify my mistake, I couldn’t because the online system was down.

I’ve just finally found it and clicked the second submit button, but it’s over three hours late. I’ve emailed to beg for forgiveness, but I know it will not be granted, because this isn’t school.

I’ve got to take the stats test this afternoon, but there’s no way that I can right now. I’m a mess. I put in far too much work to get to university, and now I’ve gone and fucked up the whole thing with one simple mistake. I’m so angry, and nothing that I can do will make it better. I can’t remember the last time that I was this upset and worked up, and there’s nobody here to fix it anymore. I’m all on my own.

At this rate, I’ll fail stats, too. But then, does it matter now? They’re the same unit, so if I’ve already messed it up, a little more won’t harm? I’ve been mid panic attack for at least ten minutes and I just can’t slow my breathing. I’m going to faint soon if I’m not careful.

Why is it always me? Why do I fail at everything, every single time?