Original Poetry

Her soul just knew
it had found its
other half.
Before she even
saw him.

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Current Affairs, Life Updates, Original Writing

Mental Health: Uncut

[Writing this post took all the balls in the world for me today.]

On the 18th February, I cried for hours. And by hours, I mean from approximately 5pm to 1am. It then concluded with a grand finale of a monumental panic attack in which I forgot how to breathe and thought I was literally going to die. (PSA: I know I have the tendency to be dramatic but this is actually in no way exaggerated!)

This is what mental health looks like.

I have a terrible habit of bottling up my emotions, and I guess that partly stems from being an only child – I am in no way blaming anyone but myself for this terrible habit! It’s a life-long lesson I am slowly beginning to fully comprehend. I also suffered an extraordinary amount of psychological abuse during high school (ironically, mostly from teachers), and that impacted both the perception I had of myself and the way I lived my life. My social anxiety most probably is a result of being punished weekly at secondary school by teachers who viewed my insubordination as a threat to their authority. (Fun fact: I hated teachers who thought respect was their automatic right, simply because they were responsible for our academic education.) They broke down every single piece of me until my identity was entirely consumed by the failure they enforced upon me. Now, I know it sounds like I’m bitter and resentful, but I do believe I have earned the right to own the effect they had on me. I never truly accepted my secondary school experience as traumatic until I developed an eating disorder at the age of sixteen.

My general anxiety (which I define for myself here, through my personal experiences which are in no way universal, as random bouts of extreme nervousness, worrying excessively over minor, minor issues which I exacerbate in my own mind to become something huge etc.) is a part of me I’ve learned to live with for a long time. It’s like a scar; I know it’s there, I can feel it with me all the time but more often than not, I’m able to live peacefully without it sabotaging my way of life. I guess on some level, everyone has a form of general anxiety. Some have it worse than others. However, there are days where I can feel my anxiety digging its claws into my skull and tearing everything to pieces. I’m left feeling exhausted, worn out and emotionally numb.

This is exactly what happened on the night of the 18th February. Being as busy as I am, amidst the chaos of my final year of university whilst simultaneously juggling a job, I don’t have time to process my own thoughts – the good, and the bad. Having a health condition which causes moderate to severe pain daily also massively plays into my anxiety, and the two are inextricably intertwined. Undergoing my surgical procedure nearly one month ago, and having to deal with the agonising consequences of a rather horrendous recovery whilst trying to catch up on missing a month of university took quite a toll both physically and mentally. That night, I broke; I felt my body physically break. I cannot quite describe it in any other way. I screamed obscenities at the ones I loved the most, blamed the world for my problems, cried then felt absolutely nothing. It’s only now, looking back, that I realise just how painful that breakdown was. I saw no way out of my own head; I was drowning in my thoughts and that manifested into physical suffocation. I could not breathe.

I guess the aim of this post is to draw attention to the silent sufferers of mental health and to raise awareness. If you’re struggling, drop me a message. Drop someone a message. Don’t suffer the weight of your world on your own – God, I cannot stress this enough. Don’t be someone you’re not just to impress a few people. The social concept of ‘fitting in’ is so fucking overrated. Don’t suffer in silence. For so long, I created a facade of myself: one that’s strong and fearless and brave and all of that bullshit. But there are times like this where I remember just how vulnerable I am. I’m not anywhere near as strong as I want to be. I’m not always the person you see on Instagram every day. And that is so, so okay. It makes me human. 6 years on from the operation that changed everything (gallbladder cholecystectomy) and I’m still learning so much about myself.

I’m done with pretending to be brave for the sake of others. I’m done with pretending to be someone I’m not, and it’s truly the most wonderful feeling in the world. At 23, I’m finally finding myself. I’ve spent 6 years trying to forget the pain I went through, but I’ve never really forgiven myself for it. My body has been fighting itself for years, and it’s time I showed it a bit more understanding.

A little more self-love.

A x

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Life Updates

Summer Update 2018 – Regent St

I can’t quite believe my time at Regent Street is fast-approaching its end! The past 3 months have been an absolute whirlwind of stress, excitement, tiredness, and happiness. (Cliche, I know.)

Whilst studying at Reading University, I started working in retail part-time. Before I knew it, June had arrived and I knew it was unfeasible to travel to and from Reading during the summer holidays (despite desperately not wanting to leave for 3 months!). I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work at the London store, which also happens to be the global flagship for the company, too. Going from a store where,  in total, there were 35 of us to a store of 125 members of staff was an absolute killer for my social anxiety, but the staff and management opened me with welcome arms.

Coming towards the end of my summer stint in central London, I can honestly look back and say this summer was one of the best I’ve had. Working full time in retail is exhausting but being able to work in a fast-paced environment with people who have become great friends is something I’ve been so blessed with. I was lucky enough to cross paths with managers who went out of their way to help me progress further within the company by training me up and most importantly, pushing me to better myself.

One of the categories within the store is sportswear and during the first month, I decided that would be the category to specialise in. Considering the company are always bringing out new collections and working on developing the category, I figured it would be a great place to start learning about how exactly retail works and what goes on behind the scenes. One of my managers, in particular, trained me up on everything sport-related, from USPs to KPIs to the technology of fabrics used; I never thought in a million years I’d be able to look back and say I’ve learned so much from working in retail and had such fun learning, too. I’m super excited to get back to Reading and put everything I’ve learned/been taught to good use!

Thanks for a beautifully wild summer, Regent Street. I’m sad to leave you behind.

(But let’s be honest, I am absolutely thrilled to be heading home to my Reading family soon!)

A x

[Featured Image: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10875969/Regent-Street-to-deploy-beacon-technology-in-shops.html]

 

 

 

 

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