Twitter, you said you wanted more lifestyle, so you’re getting more lifestyle.
Breathe in, breathe out. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve never had a full blown, thoroughly debilitating panic attack. I’ve had pretty severe asthma attacks, so I’m thinking if it’s anything like that, I never want one, and those of you that suffer, you have my endless sympathy.
I’ve been feeling a lot more ‘anxious’ this academic year – and I put that in quotations because it’s not anxious anxious, anxiety disorder anxious, but that cumulative nervousness that comes with pressure. That balling in the pit of your stomach that makes you feel a little bit sick all the time, that stops you getting a good night’s sleep because the cogs are always whirring.
I’m not very good with pressure, and I’ve gone and put a lot of it on myself this (academic) year.
Bravo, Fii. Bravo.
Pressure is something that I’ve had all my life, it comes with being the 2nd child, I guess. Not to outperform my elder sister, but no one ever wants to do worse. She’s the ‘test subject’ I’m the follow up: my parents had the trial run and now they have standards. That’s probably a terrible way to look at things, what with ‘don’t compare yourself to anyone!!!’ ‘you are your own person!!!!’ being screamed from the rooftops at every available moment – and that’s something I subscribe to – but it’s hard. It’s hard when you so desperately do not want to disappoint. When you’ve had the shadow of your academic past hanging over you and this year is the year that will shove that into the forgotten corners of the mind because who cares about unfortunate AS results when you’ve got a kickass degree?
Pressure is something that, despite my dislike, distaste and general disagreeableness with it, is something that I sort of get through. I won’t say thrive, because thriving is living and breathing to an exceptional degree, and I definitely do not do that, but I somehow manage to do OK. Or better than OK. Pressure is the catalyst that makes me do. I’m a terribly lazy perfectionist, it’s the worst combination, but pressure ‘lights that fire under [my] arse’ as my dad says, and I get things done.
But I hate it. I hate the sick feeling and the fact that everyone and their nan asks if I’m alright, why I look upset, why do I have so much work, couldn’t I have done it earlier?. Well yes, I guess. But refer back to character trait 2: I’m a lazy perfectionist. It’s a flaw I don’t know how to overcome quite yet. You can yell till you’re blue in the face, but I’ll probably still find someway to be lazy and procrastinate. I know it’s counterproductive. I am v aware.
It’s that procrastination that makes me say I’m ‘stuck in a Solitaire Loop’. As in the card game. I have lots of things to do, that really need to get done, but they scare me and I’ll be playing the 433rd midnight game of solitare (not in a row, I’m not that bad) instead of sleeping. I’ll be panicking one minute and doing nothing but playing solitaire for a straight hour to calm down. Stuck in a loop because I’m scared what I do won’t be good enough.
This is starting to sound like a right old pity party, but recognising you have issues is the first step to combatting them, and I’m going to say it right the fuck now: I am bored of this. I am bored of my Solitaire Loop. I am bored of piling the pressure on myself because I’m dumb af. I’m bored of putting more pressure on myself because of other issues.
I do a lot of studying, but I don’t feel it’s effective. So I’m going to start studying more effectively. Common sense really, go over the things you don’t know as well. Dissi wise, a little bit every day, I’m doing well. I was clever enough in 1st semester to choose my final module as one that didn’t have an exam, so that’s a good thing. Great pressure reliever.
Micro-managing doesn’t work for everyone, but for this final semester I’m going to have to, because I don’t have – I’ve never had – a study structure. Or a set routine, really. It’s going to be hard until I get back to Sheffield, because my parents dictate meal times and they’re not the same time every day, but that’s a small thing.
I’ve downloaded this little app called ‘forest‘ that was developed to help with focus. You set a timer, leave your phone alone, and forest grows a tree :3 If you come back to your phone before the timer runs out, you kill your tree. D:
So far I’ve used it a little and it’s helped. I have a baby forest growing, and I think it’d be even more motivational if the developers planted a tree for every successful tree grown – but I guess that would be a massive ask.
I’m doing OK. I can ask for help. I’m not on my own. It’s not going to be easy but it’s certainly possible.