When you lose what defines you

Anxiety: the Worrier Pose
Gemma Correll

(Se queres ler o mesmo artigo em português, clica aqui. Não é uma tradução, é o mesmo tema relatado através do português.)

It’s been a long time since I last wrote here. I feel like I write this way too many times. But, whatever. I’ve always showed you how awesome my study methods were, how I got the perfect grades exam after exam, how I almost perfectly balanced everything in my life, but now I can’t do it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it used to work for me too. Used to…

As you may know, I started my Law degree back in September. Things were great! I got my dream scholarship, my drivers license, I got to be a junior ambassador in my new school, life was awesome. Apparently, life was awesome.

In July, anxiety started to kick in, unconscientiously. Before I went on a plane to Italy, I got a stomach flu. The day before I started my first job, I got a stomach flu. I was feeling so physically ill, I would go to bed and fear my heart would stop while I slept. In August, things got a little better until I went with my friends to Algarve. The fear of dying was there again. I never stayed throughout the night, having fun as an eighteen-year-old should have.

September came and I was worse than I have ever been. The thought of going to a new school, a private school, with a scholarship was terrifiyng. There wasn’t a day that quitting didn’t pass through my mind. The hour and a half journey to college everyday was exhausting. I just wanted to stay in bed. To add up, I got an infection, that was cured within a week. This should have been nothing, to a normal person, but I was fighting the mental battle of my life. After that, a tiny lymph node appeared (I still have it, but the doctor says it’s nothing to worry about). Well, I was doomed. I had cancer. I was going to die, so I thought (and still think sometimes).

During this mental process, I avoided going to school. I only went to the mandatory classes, so I wouldn’t fail. I didn’t bother with homework or any other kind of practice. I didn’t want to stay in campus after class, I just wanted to go home, lay in bed and do nothing.

My anxiety started to vanish with time. I’m not totally over it, but I’m getting almost fine. Although things seem to slowly compose themselves, the result of all of this was a not so great academic performance. My grades aren’t the worst (I didn’t fail or almost fail any of my subjects), but they are far from being enough to maintain my scholarship next year. Like, really far. I still have a second chance to win my grades over, which I will take, but I never felt so overrated and uninteresting in my life.

I was always the smart one. Not the kind one, not the funny one, not the vivacious one, I was the smart one. I used to be a catholic scout girl, I used to practice sports all the time, I used to write in my blog, I used to be my highschool students’ representative and, in addiction, I used to be the smart one. With time, I was left with only being the smart one. I had no other feature that distinguished me, but being smart was enough and I took shelter in that definition, it was fine to me. It was fine until I lost my excellent grades (I’m not giving up on them, tho). Nowadays, the only aspect that I’m sure defines the hell out of me is my name. It’s sad, I know.

Today, I’m rediscovering myself. Hopefully, I will get my grades back, but that’s not that important, you know. The thing I took for granted all these years wasn’t, in fact, granted and that’s ok. My mistake wasn’t in not studying enough to keep my pristine academic record, my mistake was in thinking that the only thing that made me an individual was that record. Guess what? I may not be getting the results I’d hope I would get, but I never enjoyed studying so much. It’s not the end of the world when you lose what defines you, it’s a part of the growing process and I’m sure I’ll find other things that define me better than my grades. I’m figuring myself out! So, for those of you who obsess about perfection, whether it is about your looks, about your grades or even about the cleanliness of your guinea pig cage, you can, indeed, reach it, but once you lose it, your adventure starts. And it’s great!

Summing it up, you can reach temporary perfection (I don’t know if that’s even a thing), and it’s awesome when you reach it, but when it ends, don’t mourn about it, be thankful for achieving it and move on to another adventure! Don’t be too stuck in your past sucess, try to get it in your future. The life clock never stops ticking and before it’s last tick you will regret the chances you didn’t take because you only cared about the ticks you couldn’t change.

I will update you soon in more non-metaphysical questions. Thank my identity crises for renewing my blog’s host service and my boyfriend (my mental CPR) for not giving up on me. Bye!

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Hi! I'm Inês, a near Lisbon based brunette, currently starting a Law degree. If you want to get exclusive unpublished articles (such as my lasagna recipe), a lot of freebies and a monthly update on what's going on in here, don't forget to sign up to our newsletter.