” I don’t know what to expect, I don’t know what’s coming next”

→ I got my results on Thursday. I was such a mess beforehand – I was terrified, what if I failed? What then? I felt a horrible kind of certainty that I had failed. I’d panicked during my exams, I had struggled, I had left so much blank. I was definitely expecting the worst. We could have got our results from our tutors on Wednesday – but I felt too terrible about it all to face him. Everyone was talking about their results and how well they had done and it only made me more nervous, more afraid. So I wasn’t planning to check them online on Thursday either – I was going to put it off as long as possible. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to. But I got home from uni on Thursday and I felt so angry at myself and at how pathetic I was being, I just wanted it to be over. So I opened up the university portal, took a deep breath and clicked “my marks.” I was shocked at what I saw. I had passed. Not only had I passed but I had done well. One low grade pulled my average down but otherwise it was OK. It was OK. I was so happy. But mostly relieved.

→ I’m still job hunting and it still does not go well. I feel a bit better that at least my grades are still good but it feels sometimes like even with high academic achievement its still not enough. I am probably not going to be able to do an internship this summer, which I can deal with, but it brings up interesting questions about what will happen when I actually need to get employed after university. I was talking to a friend the other day and she suggested that maybe these kind of jobs weren’t for me – that I should in future go for smaller companies. I think she has a point but the thing is – I want those big companies, those amazing graduate schemes, to be for me. I wasn’t supposed to do engineering – but here I am. I wasn’t supposed to live abroad – but I did that too. I don’t care about what my personality dictates would be easier for me. Fuck my shyness and my anxiety and all those things. I want to become really, stupidly successful anyway. I want to go as far as I can go – the 2:1 masters degree in engineering, a competitive graduate job. No matter how exhausting it is, I just keep on pushing myself because I have this dream, these goals, and I want to prove to myself, and OK, to others, that I am capable of fulfilling them. But with that comes the doubt- am I capable?

→ It was really great meeting up with my friend. Its so good to talk to someone who you can be totally honest with – someone who you can say I’m not OK and they will listen and understand. Nonetheless, I wonder if I have become a burden to her for relying on her like this.

→ I wish I could say I felt better now that results have come through. Everything is OK, right? But I have no confidence. Every time I succeed I feel relieved, I feel blessed – like it’s just luck. I’m still afraid of that luck running out. Its not like life just stops once you achieve something – there’s always more that needs to be done. That, to me, needs to be conquered. That’s how my life seems to have become – always fighting (myself) to get anything done. I still have a thesis to write, and three more modules to succeed in, and Japanese to finally put some effort into. But I’m so tired. Its exhausting me – all this anxiety, all this fear, all this doubt. Don’t give up now, I tell myself. Don’t give up. Lately, it falls on deaf ears. I am not working hard enough right now – I need to get on with example sheets and assignments and I’ve fallen behind so badly on my thesis research, but its so hard to care. I am beginning to lose the will to fight. I used to think if I just worked hard enough it will be OK but job hunting has made me question. What if its not enough? What if after everything, I cannot end up where I want to be? This is why its probably dangerous to set yourself so many goals, and to become so fixated on achieving them. But I cannot get through without something to work towards either…

→ I had my last doctors appointment this week. I waited for 59 minutes for what was essentially a check up. It was so pointless and awkward, but he didn’t suggest I come see him again, and so I am gratefully relinquished from that. I saw the psychologist for the first time about my eating disorder too, and that was terrifying. The appointment was long and it was painful. At one point she asked me about my depression and that was the worst. I cannot remember, you know. I’m clinging onto all this stuff as a result of that, but I cannot even remember what it was like. Its just like this…incredibly dark period of time. I remember feeling exhausted, sad and angry but I cannot for the life of me remember why. Am I supposed to remember? Does it make my depression lesser that I cannot pinpoint some great tragedy that brought it about? Was I making a big deal out of nothing? Its been years, and everything is kind of hazy. Anyway, we talked about a whole range of stuff and she gave me some things to take away and work through. I’m trying to throw myself into it but again, there is this fear and this anxiety and this doubt. and well, embarrassment too. Its really fucking embarrassing. There is definitely a part of me that regrets going down this path – Am I doing the right thing? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Have I made the right treatment choices? Do I go on medication? But I don’t want to go on medication – I’m so afraid of going on medication. Am I just making myself miserable? All these kind of thoughts spiral through my head. But telling myself to stop it just doesn’t work you know? I can recognise my bad thought patterns and my bad coping methods but I cannot help myself. I feel so out of control.

→ I’m still really struggling. At least its not reflected on my grades any more. Last year it was reflected on my grades. And it was terrifying – was I going to fail again? But…maybe it is OK now. Maybe. I just have to find the strength, somehow, to get through this semester. And try not to think too hard about the future, to not worry about the future, while I’m at it.

“Will I be able to make it through after all? The weight of my cross filled with wrath and hate and this world filled with hopelessness?”

Wednesday, 29/01/2014 10:44:06

I’m sitting writing this on the train whilst struggling not to cry. These past few days which should have been amazing, have turned out badly.

On Sunday I woke up at 6am, left the house at 8am and trudged through the rain to the bus stop. I got on the bus and got to the station, and from there the train back home. Seeing my family again was nice, but it still feels so awkward to be at home. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m home – I feel self conscious, and uncomfortable. Its very strange. On Monday I dragged myself out of bed at 5am, after hardly getting any sleep the night before. I do not know how I managed it – but I was ready by 6:15am. My poor father also had to get up early so he could drive me to the train station, to which we arrived too early, and stood, huddled into our clothes against the freezing cold. My train came and I made my way to my seat reservation, and waved enthusiastically to my father as the train pulled out the station. At this point I was still filled with hope, and probably a little hyper from lack of sleep. It was a long journey- at first I worked on my interview preparation, then as my hyper energy faded away, I leaned against the window and gazed outside, resting. I wanted to close my eyes and sleep, but the scenery was too beautiful as I passed through the lake district into Scotland. Lush green fields to snow covered hills… it was too wonderful to miss. At Edinburgh I changed to the next train and this journey was even more wonderful – curving around the coast, and I was luckily sat on the side of the train that faced the sea. Finally, I arrived into Aberdeen, exhausted and hungry, but still in a good mood. I went to the hotel and dumped my stuff and then went out for lunch. I didn’t stay out long, didn’t bother to explore – I was tired and it was cold. I went back to the hotel and half lay, half sat, with the intention of working on interview preparation. The next thing I knew I was waking up with no idea what time it was or even, for a moment, where I was. Thankfully it was 5.30pm and I had not missed the company dinner that night. I was exhausted though – all my earlier hyper energy gone. I got ready and went out and there were so many people at the dinner and I felt so awkward and out of place.

On Tuesday I woke up at 6am, again, and I was very tired by this point. I got a taxi at 7:15am. The taxi driver was a very talkative old man, who rambled on the entire way. It was strangely soothing listening to him talk – it kept me from my own thoughts, my own fear, that companion to hope. I arrived at the company soon enough. The job interview was quite something. I messed it up royally, and I ended up walking back from the company – a long walk, made uncomfortable in my inappropriate work shoes, but I wanted to work off my disappointment, my anger at myself, that terrible feeling of all your hope coming crashing down around you, slipping away from you. I got back to the hotel room and I sat down on the bed and cried for a good while. Although I just wanted to lie there and mope, I had made plans to meet with my uncle, his wife and my cousin that night. I was terribly nervous about the whole thing – I’ve not seen any of them in years. They were late so I sat the restaurant for half an hour, fretting. I was still filled with all the feelings of the day – nervous energy, dissapointment, regret. Thankfully when they showed up it was…it was actually quite nice. There were a couple of awkward moments, I was so tired and finding it hard to think straight, but for the most part it was OK. It was strange to see my cousin again, too. He’s grown up so much – I still remember him as a young boy but hes grown so tall now, and his voice is starting to change.

Everything about these past few days were so new and different, it left me feeling quite overwhelmed.

Afterwards I went back to the hotel and went to bed. I had to get up early tomorrow and I was determined to get some sleep.

Now I am on the train to Edinburgh. I’m trying not to think about exams, or about the interview, but I cannot help it. The latter especially. I loved Aberdeen, and I wanted the job so badly – more, after spending some time here. And I messed up. Because of my anxiety, because of my shyness, because I am just completely useless. Is there no space for someone like me in this world? I’m 21 and I…look at other people my age and feel alienated. I feel so useless. I feel so childish. I feel like with the way I am, I’m never going to get anywhere- and then what? What can I do if I just keep on failing to deal with this anxiety? I’m so upset. I just want to cry and cry and cry.

Not exactly the feelings I wanted to start my holiday with. The thing is, its not failing the job interview that gets me, its knowing I did not do my best. If I’d gone there and I’d lived up to my full potential – truly tried then I could deal. Its knowing that I messed up, its wondering what I could have been if only I hadn’t gotten the perfect answers to the interviewers questions, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes after the interview. I didn’t do my best, I didn’t show the side of myself I wanted. That I regret.

Wednesday, 29/01/2014 20:56:35

The train journey to Edinburgh was not particularly exciting, I kept checking my watch, waiting for it to end. I was feeling emotional and trapped in my own thoughts and I wanted to escape from those feelings.

I drew into Haymarket station just after lunch. Thanks to google maps, I found the hotel with ease. Its rather tucked away from central Edinburgh, buts its in a quiet area and as I found after I checked in, the rooms are absolutely massive, with high ceilings, and a huge bed and bathroom. It feels very luxurious for a not so expensive hotel. Compared to the last hotel, its significantly cheaper and much better quality – the room is warm and decorated nicely, and no signs of construction. (The hotel in Aberdeen was nice, but poorly heated/freezing cold, and lacking finishing touches – like a towel rail, a do not disturb sign – and there were signs of ongoing renovations everywhere.)

I stayed for a moment to organize myself then headed out to the National Museum of Scotland. Again, thanks to google maps I found it easily – went down the wrong road a couple of times but thanks to GPS I could see I was off route. Maps and GPS are one of the reasons even if a smartphone annoys me sometimes, I’ll never give it up. I think having something like that on you at all times is one of the most brilliant things about recent phones – my old smartphone could never cope. I have no sense of direction and get extremely panicked when I get lost, as I often used to back when I didn’t have a phone with GPS capabilities. Now, I don’t need to worry. I have the postcodes for all the places I want to be and can use GPS to make sure I’m not wondering around with no idea where I am or how to get back to somewhere familiar. (Really, its the GPS that matters – knowing where you are real time, without having to try and figure it out on a map, using street names and landmarks…is really great.)

Anyway, the museum was great. They had a fascinating exhibition on wooly mammoths and other ancient ancestors of todays elephants- they had some of the skeletons, the leg bones were the size of a small child! They also had an interesting exhbition on kabuki prints, and a room packed with taxidermy and skeletons – from t-rex, to giant land sloths and blue whale jaws (the whale jaws fitted around an african elephant!) I found it all fascinating. I also went up to the 7th floor garden terrace which was freezing, but afforded great views of Edinburgh. I spent the whole afternoon at the museum and emerged at 20 to 5 and ended up getting an early supper at 5 – the place I wanted to go was very close. I went to a Japanese restaurant, eager for katsudon. But the food was disappointing – cold green tea from a bottle, packed with preservatives, instant miso soup with no seaweed or tofu, the katsudon was lacking…it was nothing like I’d had in Japan, even the Japanese fast food chain did it better! And for much cheaper. I was a little disappointed. I walked back to the hotel afterwards and have spent the evening lazying about and trying not to feel guilty about it. I’m on holiday! Its OK not to do work! But I still feel guilty, like I’m doing something wrong by being here, by wanting some time off.

On the other hand it is great to be lazy, I had a fun afternoon at the museum, and I am looking forward to going to the botanic gardens and two art museums tomorrow. (Also tomorrow I’m having Thai food and hopefully that restaurant will be better!)

“On the white, bright window I write and erase…”

My mood has been swinging between extremes these past few days. On Monday I had my counselling appointment and afterwards I felt shaken, but strangely calmer and more purposeful. I went to the library and did not get a lot done, but I managed to get through some problems that I had been struggling with, and really feel like I got them. I came home and realised I felt happy, I felt almost relaxed. I did some chores, did some more work. It all felt so easy. My good mood carried through to Tuesday, and increased when, as I sat down to work that afternoon my phone started ringing. Could it be? I fumbled with my phone trying to remember how to answer the damn thing (funny how we struggle to do the most basic things when stressed, or excited) I finally managed to answer and it was who I thought it was – a company representative phoning me back in regards to my job application. “Is this rejection?” I thought, pacing across the living room floor “or…?”

I was successful. “Oh, that’s great,” I said, monotone, because I had to stay polite. I felt like an idiot. But what do you say? I do not think incoherent happy noises would do. Anyway, she led me through the details of what would happen next – dinner at a hotel, interviews etc. Terrifying, I thought, Oh man, I thought, this is happening, oh man, and I do not know what quite happened next, what was said, but soon the call ended and I shouted out loud, clutching my phone to my chest and jumping, high and round and round, flailing about on the spot like a fucking lunatic. I was so happy. (Thank everything the blinds were semi closed though) This job application was my first. I had basically seen the offer for it the day before the deadline and thought hey, its a great opportunity at a great company I’ll just try and so I did – even though my CV wasn’t ready, I had not yet ordered my transcripts, I’d never filled out a job application before in my life and suddenly I was having to write a cover letter and competency questions in an evening. It was stressful and I was looking at it more as an experience, with maybe a tiny bit of hope. I made it though. Now I have to worry about making it through the next step. I do not even know how I am going to cope or prepare or anything. I also have to find something to wear.

I have a fairly large wardrobe…filled with loose tshirts, casual tops and jeans. I own four pairs of shoes – walking boots, niceish boots, trainers that are falling apart, casual boots. I have one coat – a very baggy, casual one. I own a smart pair of black pants, but I have no shoes to go with them, I have no shirt, I have no formal, grown up coat – no fitted trench or anything like that. I have no semi formal dinner wear. I am thinking I’ll look a right idiot to get dressed up for the dinner – but I need to look modest, mature and well put together. Grown up, I guess, though what the fuck is that really. I have a vague idea of what looking grown up means, but little actual clue. I’m not even sure if I own any appropriate jewellery?! I may have some pearl earrings, but all my necklaces are cheap and immature. I do not know how I am going to do my make-up nor my hair. (I can basically … tie my hair up…and that is it.)

I am probably going shopping with my sister on boxing day. (Because seriously, I need her help. I’m almost 22 and I do not own any formal or semi formal wear or know how to dress myself for nice dinners or interviews.) I am looking forward to spending time with my sister, I am not looking forward to being out on boxing day, and I am not looking forward to the shopping. I have a very awkward body shape. You have no idea how hard it is to find clothes that fit. I also do not wear polyester, viscose etc which pretty much cuts out most of the clothes. No one wants to make things from cotton any more, and when they do, its the cheap and nasty see through stuff. Don’t even get me started on my wide feet. I really loathe shopping – its long and tiring and annoying. No one can try on pretty clothes that just will not fit for hours and go away feeling great about themselves.

Nevertheless, I was in a pretty good mood for the rest of yesterday. I even managed to rush through my Christmas shopping, because yes I have left it this late. Today though, I just woke up and nothing happened in particular, but I felt tired and fed up. I did not manage to get anything done. I did try to sit down and do revision but I was too distracted, I couldn’t concentrate. In the end, I had to give up. Its really worrying how hard I’m finding revision now, how I’m struggling to focus and retain information. It’s still stressing me out so much. I keep staying up really late, and sleeping half the day away, and I find myself feeling restless, distracted. It’s not good. Other things are going better, at least.