Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Anxiety at School

In my last post, I wrote about being scared walking to the bus stop. After this, my anxiety started to change my life.

I had a best friend at school called Leanne. She lived half way down the lane on the way to the bus stop. I told her about the way I was scared about walking to the school bus in the mornings. She was very sweet and told me that she would call for me so we could walk together. This made my anxious feelings lessen as I didn't have to worry about walking on my own and freaking out.

Every morning Leanne called for me and we walked to the bus stop together. If she was ill my mum would walk with me and when I got to the bus stop I was fine. Coming home from school I got off at a different bus stop and I felt fine walking home on my own. There were kids walking the same way so this made it easier. There came a time when this started to be a problem and I had the same strange feelings of fear, heart beating fast, and that terrible feeling that everything around you doesn't seem real. I really didn't understand what was happening to me. Why was I feeling this way? After this Leanne would walk home with me or else my mum would be waiting for me at the bus stop to take me home.

Anxiety started to take over how I was at school. Leanne started to walk me to my classes and then meet me when they had finished. I didn't feel anxiety in the classroom. It was just walking to and from classes on my own. When I was walking with people I just felt happy and content. It was like nothing bothered me. The only subjects at school my anxiety started to interfere with were PE and games. So playing tennis outside on the large courts would start to bother me. I felt light and scared. I dealt with this by playing on the court near the steps of the school and no one knew any different. I just looked like a normal 13 year old school girl. When we were in the main hall in the school, playing badminton or doing gymnastics, it was just the same. I had to try and stand nearer the exit. I didn't have to tell the teachers about these feelings as I seemed to be dealing with them enough to be able to carry on with the sport activities.

As the years went by the fear grew worse. I had to tell my teachers about the situation I was in. When playing in the hall I could only cope with some of the activities if I could stand near the exit of the hall. Some teachers got rather cross with me and just told me to get on with whatever the activity was but my fear was more scary than them!! So I would spend a lot of my PE lessons sat on the wooden cold bench on the side of the hall.

My concentration started to be affected in class by the fearful thoughts that would come like how am I going to be walking home? etc.

When I was 15 it was that most important year at school. The year I would do my GCSE'S. This made me even more anxious thinking I had to sit in the large hall having to spend two hours or so doing exams and not being able to escape. I was hoping I wouldn't have to sit in the middle of about 80 kids. I discussed this with my Mum as I was getting upset about it, so she phoned the school to discuss it further with the head master. They organised that I would be able to sit at the front of the hall each time I had an exam. So that was another thing I didn't have to worry about so much.

I got through the exams but only got D grades (C is considered by employers as a pass), so my future did not look that good.

It was time to start a new chapter in my life.


The Dotterel said...

I can really feel for you, having been school-phobic at about the same age. Ironically, I became a teacher! (Something about closure, maybe?)

rosiero said...

Phobias are irrational fears based on what you build up in your own mind. They have no substance but are purely in your imagination. Therefore you can get a thought into your mind in the middle of the day... ie who is going to walk me home from the bus-stop?... and that builds up more and more in your mind until by the time you are leaving school, it is a huge (and seemingly real) fear. I can see how this is escalating into the agoraphobia. In reality, you never did faint or have a seizure for real. But you needed people around you "just in case". I am happy for you to email by the way. I am no expert, but have just managed to conquer my own demons.