Hey everyone! So, I’m excited to announce another guest post written by blogger Emma from Anxiety Girl Online. Get ready for some great tips for dealing with mental health issues while still working your way through school. Thanks Emma for the awesome opportunity to collaborate!
I have no hesitation in sharing that anxiety in school has been one of the biggest challenges in my life so far. Exam pressure on top of general and unbearable anxiety isn’t ideal, and the teachers don’t really seem to understand student mental health in modern society.
I thought today I’d share a few of my school anxiety experiences, because I feel like there is so much more that schools can do to help students whom are currently suffering in silence.
The biggest block is the desperate need to stop the stigma of mental health. I have found that when I’m having my worst anxiety episodes, there is nothing more I want than for other students to be more respectful and understanding about panic attacks and how I feel. I think I speak for many with the hope that one day this will be a reality.
So many people seem to think they understand mental health when in fact it is probably the most complicated and illogical illness I have ever faced. When meeting people with physical illness it seems to easy for them to explain what is wrong with them because their doctor has explained it to them, but with mental health, nobody really knows what causes it, how to cure it, or even how the mind works during periods of intense anxiety and depression.
People need to stop presuming they know somebody by labeling them with stereotypical mental health ideas that are formed through social media and trashy romance novels.
Secondly, teachers need to be made aware of individual situations so they can ease pressure and lessen the catastrophic load that students are forced to carry in their heads and in their backpacks. I cannot recall how many times I have been told to ‘revise this over the weekend’ today.
Realistically I do work very hard to achieve my ‘aspirational’ grades but everyone needs time to relax. My teachers across all my subjects do not communicate with each other, so they don’t know quite how much homework they are giving us or how much pressure they are engraving into our brains. I think if teachers were able to trust students more, life would be much easier for both us and them.
I am not denying that some students are willing to ruin trust for others, such as the simple toilet permission situation. It seems a crime now to ask to go to the toilet in school, I never usually use them but the anxiety it caused me knowing I wasn’t allowed to go was far worse than I initially thought.
Overthinking is my forte, so I spend many nights laying in bed running unrealistic situations through my head in hope that I know how to tackle them should they arise. None of them ever have…..but that is quite literally how anxiety works.
Thirdly, I believe that all students should look to take refuge in stationary. Highlighters, notebooks and pritt sticks have saved my life the last few weeks. There is almost something satisfying about knowing I am fully prepared for the school day and this could be my OCD tendencies but entering a classroom without more than 5 pens terrifies me. What if they all run out? What if we need black and I only have blue? Shall I ring someone to bring me pens?
My head is a maze to wander around sometimes. However, though this habit can get rather expensive I never regret having several hundred pens or a new pack of highlighters if it makes me feel calmer. There are worse obsessions to have right? (a three section pencil case also helps, one section for pens and pencils, one for highlighters, one for scissors and other miscellaneous items).
Quite honestly, I can sit in classes and organize my friend’s pencil case for fun, every piece of stationary facing the same way, everything neatly slotted in place, they ruin it all in less than 5 minutes but the satisfaction can last all day which can help prevent panic attacks in my case!
Finally. books. BEFORE YOU JUDGE THEM! Know that really everyone loves books, and if you don’t, then you simply haven’t found the right book for you. Escaping into the world of a book can leave me feeling relaxed, excited and anxious in a way I cannot explain. The simplicity of turning a page can sometimes be so difficult within a petrifying horror novel. The eagerness for the character to succeed, the predictable but comforting storylines are all a wonderful addition to my stressful life.
The challenge is finding the time to sit and read a good book, because life can become so busy sometimes that finding a moment for yourself can seem impossible. I don’t sleep when I am stressed, especially when all my revision notes are running round my head like a hamster in its wheel at 3am in the morning.
Finding calm within a book can ground me, relax me and allow me to drift into a perfectly undisturbed sleep….the downside is you sometimes lose the page you were on……
My solutions to stress may seem rather odd, but I can assure you that the less obvious they are to you, the better they work. The most important part though is finding something that you love, because that way it is a reliable and comforting option to use in times of difficulty. I hope these methods helped, and don’t hesitate to let me know things that you like to do to calm down, I could do with trying something new!
Thank you for reading,
Love E xoxo