30 November, 2013
I am a worrier.
A worry wart, stress head, an anxious person; whatever you would like to call it.
In primary school, when I received an assignment that was due at the end of the term, I would tell my mum we had to buy cardboard that afternoon so that I could start planning.
I was one of those kids who said they couldn't go out because they had to study, and truly meant it.
I used to pack about a month before a camp, because I was that excited to go and worried about leaving something at home. However, I would end up needing the things I had packed in my bag and I had to unpack it every day.
Even organising events with friends was a stressful situation. I would have to think about every possible thing that needed to be thought about before I felt confident leaving the house.
Somewhere along the track I went from being an organised person to being a stressed and anxious one.
I was accelerated in Mathematics. Which meant that I did year 9 and 10 Maths in one year, so that I was able to complete the HSC for it in year 11.
Now I am not saying this to boast. I am saying this because, on my first accelerated Maths exam - trigonometry, I failed.
Actually failed. This was devastating for me. I had never failed anything in my life.
From this point on, Maths and school became the focus of my life. I worked myself so hard but seemed to be getting nowhere. It was disappointment after disappointment, exam after exam.
Sometimes I would fail other times I would actually pass. But as the exams moulded into one another, it all began to feel the same. I began to call myself a failure.
Year 11 was the most stressful year of my life. It may sound stupid but I was putting that much pressure on myself that I didn't even notice what the stress was doing to me. This was until I was approached by one of my teachers.
It was my drama teacher - whom I am still close to now. She noticed that I was struggling. She probably didn't know exactly what it was, but she saw something that I couldn't.
She asked me if I was willing to see the school councillor to talk about my stress/anxiety. She was concerned that I was putting too much on my plate.
I was shocked when I heard this. Me? See a councillor? I thought that from that moment I would be a leper, an outcast. I would be one of those people who went to see the school councillor!
I realise now that it is very normal and healthy to seek help. And it was a big deal for me to accept that I needed it. To accept that maybe I was not coping as well as I thought.
And if it wasn't for my kind hearted drama teacher, I would have never realised what I was doing wrong. And I am eternally grateful for that.
It was only until I started seeing the school councillor that I realised I needed to learn how to let go of things. To deal with my stress positively, and to accept that sometimes I can not do everything and that is ok.
Because the fact was, I wasn't enjoying my life.
I was 17 and not enjoying myself.
It turns out that year 12 was the best year of my life. Although there was much to stress about, and there were dramas here and there, I finally let go a little.
I had fun and made wonderful friendships that I will treasure forever (I sound like an 8-year-old.)
This year, I have continued learning how to let go and to enjoy my life. Now you might think it sounds silly that I have to try to enjoy myself. But I have gotten into the bad habit of self sabotage.
Where I fill my mind with negative thoughts, which creates false messages I believe about myself. This in turn leads to placing limitations on what I do and what I think I can achieve.
I always believed that I was a worrier. And a worrier I would be forever. I was someone who stressed and couldn't deal with high pressure or new experiences because I was unable to cope.
I was unknowingly limiting myself because I thought there was nothing I could do about it. I accepted that I would worry. That I would fail. That I was too timid and scared to try new things.
It turns out, I was wrong.
I will be leaving next week to go to Cambodia. I am doing a short two week trip through an organisation called Real Gap. Traveling with a group of people, who will all be strangers.
Now if someone told me back in high school that one day I would be going on a volunteering/site seeing trip to Cambodia by myself, I would say they were crazy!
Even at the beginning of the year I would have never thought about traveling on my own. I thought I had seen enough. I thought that I would be happy going to University this year. But I was wrong.
I am both excited and anxious about traveling alone. I can not wait to meet new people, and to explore a different culture. I know I will come back with a thirst to travel more.
I still worry, and I don't think I will ever stop. But the fact is, that I now understand it is something I have to work on, and something I have control over. It doesn't have to get the better of me.
I'm not exactly sure what I am expecting from this trip, but can not wait to be shocked, thrilled, and energised by the world that awaits me.
After a very mediocre year, I am so glad that I have been able to end this one with something big and exciting. To finish with something that I can be proud of and remember for years to come.
Knowing that I go into the new year with a more confident and adventurous spirit, expecting amazing things to happen.
There are now five days until I board my first plane. And I still haven't packed my bag.
I am a warrior.