Listen To Your Mother- The Wasted Time Project
Dear Young(er) Liv,
However behind the red and blue hair dye and the black eyeliner, we both know you’re actually a bit of a worrier. You care a lot about other people and what other people think. You worry about letting people down. You worry about failing. You worry about why that boy you sit next to in your GCSE Chemistry class hasn’t asked you out even though he’s CLEARLY interested because he asked you if you liked the Arctic Monkeys yesterday. You’re a teenager, this is normal. This is very normal.
A: You’re not going to talk about it for nearly a year- you’re a teeanager, feelings are gross.
B: You know you’re a bit of a worrier and you are in a time of your life when hormones, exam stress and teenage peer pressure are all factors that convince you that this is normal and it’s your fault that you can’t deal with these emotions properly.
I would advise you to talk to your parents about it sooner rather than later, because you end up going through a phase where you deal with these feelings in an incredibly unhealthy and potentially dangerous way. But you, Liv, don’t take advice off others amicably until…well, ok let’s just say when you reach your 20s, you get slightly better at taking advice, but it’s still a work in progress.
So, as I’m in the position of telling you your future, here are four things I want you to know about mental health, how it affects you and what to do about it.
You’re Not Going Mad
Ok, let’s clear up a few things here. You’re going to start to notice the following things becoming more frequent in your life:
Overwhelming thoughts of dread the days ahead.
Pains in your chest
The feeling of being watched by EVERYONE
Thoughts of hurting yourself, because you don’t particularly like yourself, as it’s your own fault that you’re not dealing with the above.
I’m here to tell you, you’re not going insane- this is anxiety. It’s very common and in the words of Tom Jones, it’s not unusual. Contrary to what you may have thought before- anxiety is not just worrying.
At eighteen you get a medical answer for these anxious feelings and after some research you realise- this is really common, I’m not going mad! At twenty after another setback (we’ll go into that later) you have the honesty and bravery to go to the doctor again and say you’re not coping and things are getting worse. This all seems dark and miserable but the main thing here is that you’re learning to be honest and to talk openly about how you’re feeling. This is the first step in learning to cope with it.
Where You Thought You Failed, You Achieved.
You get, almost (damn you maths) straight As at GCSE
You get an A and two Bs at A level – more importantly you passed English Lit A level, that course was a bugger
You hold down an incredibly stressful job as a teaching assistant helping children with Special Educational Needs, at the age of nineteen.
You go to two National Final competitions on a solo seat
You win a place at one of the best music conservatoires in the country
You earn a seat in a high level championship section band (childhood dream achieved)
You win podium places at 4 solo contests
You play at the British Open competition
Not too shabby!
*A little more than you used to.
You may not think it now, but you got this. Just be unashamed, be honest and be you.
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