A girl with too many thoughts...

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Things DO Get Easier

I have now completed 3 full weeks at University (let's ignore the 4 days that I spent at home refusing to go back in between that). I certainly never thought that I'd be sitting here typing that a few weeks ago, when I was crying down the phone to several unfortunate family members about how I 'couldn't face going to the lectures' and how 'I felt like I was going to be sick all of the time'.

Nonetheless, I'm still here. And I've learnt an awful low over the past few weeks...

First and foremost, I've learnt that things do get easier. That thing that you think you can't do? You can. When you think things will never get better? They will. When things seem impossible. They aren't.

I don't know if you've ever heard of this technique that's supposed to treat anxiety disorders such as phobias, but they call it 'flooding'. This, from the 'Simply Psychology' website, explains it a little better than I can...

"Flooding (also known as implosion therapy) works by exposing the patient directly to their worst fears. (S)he is thrown in at the deep end. For example a claustrophobic will be locked in a closet for 4 hours or an individual with a fear of flying will be sent up in a light aircraft"
So, how is this relevant to anything?!?!

Basically, I feel like I have undergone 'flooding' therapy (if that's how you put it??). I can say with the upmost confidence that I was definitely 'thrown in at the deep end';

Somebody with social anxiety, who knows absolutely nobody and is forced to not only be surrounded by, but speak to, numerous strangers on a daily basis? 

Somebody with contamination OCD, completely responsible for preparing their own food and having to use 'dangerous' chemicals to clean their own kitchen? 

Somebody with an eating disorder, who no longer has people watching over her 24/7 and dictating every single little morsel of food she eats? 

All of those exposures, ALL AT ONCE?! How ever was I expected to cope?

But, the moral of the story is, I did cope. And even better? I don't feel like I'm just 'coping' anymore, I'm actually starting to enjoy aspects of University life. I've made friends (yes, me - this self-conscious, shy and socially incapable human has made real-life FRIENDS). I've been to an entire week of lectures and workshops. I go up to reception desks to speak to the receptionist. I go to doctor's appointments on my own. I even go into the library and sit at a computer, whilst only feeling mildly self-conscious (a step up, believe me).

All of these things, that seem so easy to the majority of people, are a massive challenge for me. They are challenges that I never thought I'd overcome (let alone all at once in such a short space of time). And even though at times it felt absolutely impossible, and I was adamant that I needed to defer a year (or five) before I could even contemplate facing these things, I'm still here! (go me!)

Brains can lie to you. They can make trivial things seem like a massive hurdle that you are certain you will never be able to overcome - but don't always listen to this doubt. You are so much more capable than you could ever believe at doing the things that you never thought you would. It's never easy, but you CAN do it. And I can promise you that once you've done it (whatever it is), you will feel incredible and it WILL get easier.
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