My life with ‘Dysmenorrhoea’

Hi guys,

I really wanted to do a post about my experiences with ‘women problems’.. I mean of course if you’re a male then feel free to read, but I’m not going to censor anything! all the (gory) details will be added. Also if you think you could be offended by anything to do with this topic I wouldn’t read this post.. There will probably be some embarrassing things in here, but I wish that I had read something when I first started experiencing this, with all the details in it – complete honesty. So here we go –  Leaving my pride right here on the page and I’ll pick it back up once I get to the end!

dysmenorrhoea: Painful periods are very common; in fact, as many as nine out of ten women have them. The pain sometimes starts a few days before your period and can last for several days. When your period ends, the pain usually does too. Period pain is usually in the lower part of your abdomen (tummy) and is a cramping kind of pain.

I started my period when I was around 12 years old. I even remember the morning I started! I woke up and went to the toilet, and there it was. It was weird, I remember all my friends and I being SO excited about starting our periods, and how much I wanted it… Safe to say it was a HUGE anti-climax – plus there are no lessons which tell you about the side effects that could come with your period. We’re just left to figure it out on our own! So here we were thinking it was a simple I QUOTE “table spoon of blood” and then it’s done! Excuse my language but what a load of crap! hindsight is a great thing,

My first few periods were fine, they weren’t painful from what I remember but after maybe 3-4 of them they started to get heavy. I was always so conscious of leaking through and people seeing it, when I was on my period I would wear 2 pairs of knickers – both with huge sanitary pads in them, 2 pairs of leggings and then the trousers I wore – jeans most likely. And on top of that I still used to roll up toilet roll and stick it in my knickers as well. I look back on that now and it’s just crazy. I felt like I was wearing a nappy! One evening my (Step) Dad and I were in the living room, and the way I sit (even now and it has happened a few times since then!!) I sit on one of my feet.. So there I was just sitting casually, I get up and go to my room to hear… ‘Caitlan…. is this from you?’ and there were 4 footprints clear as day – on CREAM carpet, from where I was sitting on the couch to my bedroom across the hall.. I was so humiliated. At that time I’d only known my Stepdad for a few years, we hadn’t quite got that father daughter bond down yet.. but in his true style and nature, he told me a story about how he was in McDonalds once and this stunning girl walked in wearing white jeans.. all the boys were hollering at her.. until she got to the desk and the whole backside of her jeans was bright red from her period leaking. He instantly made me feel better – he has a knack for that even now.

So my periods were heavy -I remember being in an art class in year 9, and my period had leaked onto the wooden stool I was sat on.. and what colour was this wooden chair you ask? … White. it was white. The only white chair in the room and I sat on it.  I was SO embarrassed. My friends used to be able to wear just little pads and there I was with pads that could’ve doubled as a a king-size mattress for a mouse. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing!  My periods started getting painful when I was about 15/16. But not just ‘dysmenorrhoea’ (There’s a reason I put “” around the word), debilitating pains – to the point of almost passing out. This first happened in a biology lesson funnily enough. I was sat listening to the teacher when I started to get really hot and bothered, so I took off my cardigan.. I then started to feel REALLY nauseous.. and before I knew it I was standing up in the middle of the class and walking towards the door – with my vision going black. A support teacher in the class followed me out and I was stood against a wall, she started to disappear from sight and from sound – I remember saying miss I can’t see or hear you, and I fell to the ground. Within 20 seconds it had passed and I could hear and see again. That was experience number 1. Obviously I don’t remember all the cases – I’m 21 now and there’s been so many days I’ve been bed bound in excruciating pain. Obviously my Mum took me to a doctor to tell them what was going on.. They said that going on the pill would help the pain and make the flow lighter for me… did it? no of course it didn’t. The first pill I was on was called Microgynon – and don’t get me wrong, I know people who are on this and it works for them.. it just didn’t for me. I was on this for about 6 months, still having painful heavy periods, but it also sent me into depression – it changed my personality, I was ratty and snappy.. my Maths teacher actually pointed it out to me, and I stopped the pill instantly. I think it’s easy for people to say well you were using it for all that time, and it’s been going on for all this time.. why hasn’t anything been done.. But this pain is maximum 3 days of every month. once those 3 days are over I’m just happy and relieved.. life just goes on! There’s other things you worry about. It’s hard to fight something when it’s not happening then and there. I did get other appointments but I was simply thrown more contraceptive pills which never worked. (I’m now on my 4th kind)

I’d decided that it was time I really get down to what was causing these pains. I went to my GP at university and explained how I’d been getting bad pains along with very heavy bleeding. I’m the typical person who googles everything about my symptoms – no matter what they are.. And I’ve always had this suspicion that I could have endometriosis. I shared these suspicions and she said that my symptoms do point in that direction, but in order to medically diagnose me she would need to investigate. Firstly she wanted me to try a contraceptive pill called Yasmine, and she said that she wanted me to take 9 months worth without taking breaks between the months – as to mock pregnancy. She said that maybe tricking my body into thinking it’s pregnant (Not getting rid of the lining for 9 months) it could change my periods completely – less painful and lighter. This didn’t work either. So the next step was to see if I had any infections which could be causing my problems. It was basically a smear test.. She inserted this metal thing into my lady area, and swabbed it with a cotton bud type thing. For me it did hurt, and she did say it would.. during it it just felt uncomfortable – it was the first time I’d had anything done like that, which is horrible for anyone. But for me it set off cramps for the rest of the day (Not sure if it happens to everyone so don’t take my word for it) but as I said, she did say that this could happen to me. My results came back negative, so on my next appointment she said that I need to call the hospital and book myself in for a laparoscopy (Key hole surgery) which is one of the only ways to diagnose endometriosis.. Did I do this??? nope I did not. Yes I know – stupid stupid stupid. BUT there just never seemed to be a good time for me to be in hospital for surgery..  I had uni and exams and assignments. It just didn’t happen. She did however prescribe me Mefenamic Acid – Ponstan, which is supposed to help with period pains.. They do I guess, but not completely. Only recently did they lose their effect.

Another story was one weekend I was home from uni for 2 weddings (which were both on the same day). I woke up at 5am on that Saturday with period pains.. I was thinking right I just need to take a painkiller and get myself back to sleep before it gets too bad. I took a paracetamol and tried to get back to sleep but it was too late at that point. I couldn’t find a hot water bottle anywhere, so I stumbled to the bathroom and soaked a towel in hot water (It was the only thing I could think of! I was desperate! I couldn’t run the bath because whenever a shower or bath is run the pump makes a really loud noise – I didn’t want to wake everyone!), I laid in bed until the towel was so cold I couldn’t use it anymore.. By this point I was rocking back and forth in pain, I remember thinking to myself I can’t do this and I could feel myself drifting away again.. I stumbled through to my parents room where they were sleeping, and pretty much fell straight to the floor and told my mum I was passing out.. She called 111 for me, and managed to get a paramedic on the phone – who was really helpful. I was totally panicking and hyperventilating and she really calmed me down. My Mum went straight out once the shops had opened and bought me a hot water bottle and some stronger painkillers.. By 10am I was at the hairdresser getting my hair blow-dried! I made it to both weddings thank goodness – really didn’t think I’d make it but I pulled myself together… with the help of my period pain tablets (which only really take the edge off)

The amount of blood I seemed to shed controlled my life for 3-4 days out of every month. Some may not quite understand this, but on a normal day I would go through a super tampon in less than an hour.. a few months back I had JUST put in a tampon, and I was in the living room chatting to my mother in law, about 45 minutes past and I realised I could see blood on my foot.. I ran to the toilet and it was EVERYWHERE.. On a normal period I go through about 5 pairs of underwear! even when I wear a super tampon and a pad. I practically use up more than a whole box of super tampons every period – I think the boxes have 20 in them. I’ve been through 12 in one day before. During my period I get blood coming out of places I really shouldn’t – which is why I think it could be endometriosis… If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically when the lining of your uterus grows in other areas… It’s really scary! girls will know (and probably deny if you asked) that when you’re on your period your number 2’s are completely different.. mine are different because mine are just filled with blood.

It all came to a head last week. I woke up on Monday morning, with a slight tingle of period pains – which obviously progressively got worse and worse, until again I was rocking back and forth in pain. I found my trusty fluffy hot water bottle that H had bought for me, stumbled to the kitchen to boil the kettle.. I didn’t even make it until it had finished boiling. I instantly felt nauseous, I was sweating buckets but felt really cold, I was shaking – I fell to the ground and couldn’t move for a few minutes. I lay until I felt I could move without being sick, got myself just outside mine and H’s bedroom and lay on the ground again and called 111. She told me to consider going into A&E. We were there for about 6 hours when the doctor came to speak to us and said… “This is just pain associated with periods. it’s called dysmenorrhoea and it’s normal“. I was FUMING. I don’t agree with raising your voice at people, especially when it’s not their fault (Like people who shout at waitresses because they didn’t like their fish cakes… so rude and out of order) I was in no way rude – but I had just had enough of people dismissing me and the pain I felt. I just said to him I’m sorry but there is no way that the pain I feel is normal, he kept repeating that it’s pain women get. The conversation ended with me saying, I’m really sorry but there is no way I’m accepting that, and he went to speak to the gynaecology department to see what they could do.

With pain that is from within – not per se, a broken bone, or a burn, or a cut.. it’s hard for people to see. But what’s harder is when people undermine the pain you have experienced/are experiencing. There had been times I was laying with my head on the toilet seat because the pain I felt made me sick to my stomach. Times I had to miss school, parties, days out.. So when there’s a man stood in front of me telling me the pain I have isn’t stemmed from any conditions – it’s normal. It made me feel like no one was going to do anything to help me, they were just going to leave me for years and years to just get worse. But anyway, the gynaecologist came after 2 hours, and said that because I wasn’t in an emergency state, they couldn’t do anything for me then and there – but what he could do was write a letter for my GP to say I need to be referred on an emergency basis for a gynaecology appointment. The guy was SO helpful and SO understanding. I couldn’t thank him enough.

So as it stands right now, I’m waiting for a call to tell me the date of my gynaecology appointment. What I want to happen is for them to say that they are putting me forward for a laparoscopy, and for this to be sorted once and for all. Finding out I actually have endometriosis will be tough – emotional. But I will just be so relieved that I finally have answers – I can finally say I am NOT crazy and I am NOT overreacting. This is also a huge fear of mine. What if I don’t have it? but then what do I do? It’s hard because I know the pain I feel, and my friends and family have seen me in such states. I don’t know if I’m more scared of being told I do have it or if I don’t have it. I just want to know what is wrong with me, so I can find ways to not be in pain every month.

I’ve read blogs of people who have gone through years and years of excruciating pain, with doctors telling them it’s normal and nothing to worry about.. they get to their 30s when it’s time to start creating a family of their own and they realise there’s an issue with their fertility, to then find out it’s been endometriosis the whole time. My worst nightmare is being told I can’t have children, or being told the longer I wait the less likely I am to get pregnant. It’s all scary stuff for me – and anyone who experiences it! Obviously right now I don’t really have any answers, but I just want to tell the girls that are experiencing this – you are NOT crazy. Don’t let people tell you it’s normal if you know inside that it isn’t.. Listen to YOUR body! Keep pushing it and fighting your case and don’t let them push you to one side! (By the way, I am in NO way blaming this on the health service here – I don’t blame anyone for this, it’s not like I think they have some vendetta against women and their pains.. I just think it’s hard when you’re the one in the pain and you don’t seem to be getting anywhere with it)

Anyway, time to pick my pride back up! now everyone knows about my toilet habits and period accidents!

As I always say, please feel free to message me! I’ve had lots of messages and I love hearing from you!

love, Caitlan x

 

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My Insecurities

Hey guys!

Firstly I would like to apologize for my lack of posts – I’ve had the busiest few weeks. First it was my graduation and then H and I went on holiday – and now I’m bed bound with kidney problems. So I’ve been in and out of hospital in Cyprus and in the UK trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. Obviously health comes first and I want to try and get myself sorted first before I get back into the swing of things. I’m not well yet, but I thought I’d write a post I’ve been thinking quite a lot about!

Insecurities. I’ve been really anxious about writing this post. I want to pride myself on being honest and transparent with everything that I write, but this topic is a sensitive one for me – as I’m sure it is for many. It’s a topic close to my heart, just because I am probably one of the most insecure people you would ever meet. And similarly to my anxiety, this started at a very young age.

I think I was a cute baby, I look at these photos and they do make me smile. It makes me smile when people say that I look exactly the same now as I did then – but the photos of when I reached my ‘ugly’ stage still upset me, and honestly over those years I just seemed to get worse!

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I never felt pretty, I was never really told I was pretty. I didn’t get any attention from boys, like the girls at my school did. I wouldn’t say that I felt invisible – I felt inferior, not pretty enough, not funny enough, not outgoing enough – undesirable, not enough. I lived with my mums younger sister throughout my child hood, and I always knew she was prettier than me, she did gymnastics, she was popular in school, and she was always skinnier than me (Still is! – even after having a baby), I felt ugly and fat, but at the time I kind of accepted that she was better than me in every way. Even looking at my parents, who are both very attractive people – I got told on numerous occasions, If your parents are so good looking what happened to you? and I didn’t know the answer.

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I was extremely shy. If we were at a family gathering at a pub with a play ground, I’d be the one child sat with the parents. I just felt awkward, like nobody wanted to be my friend or play with me – I was just a shadow of my Auntie whenever I did pluck up the courage to join in. I know I wasn’t the prettiest of children. I had many scares of old photographs coming up on my Facebook and I rushed to get rid of them when they surfaced. And when people did see them (this still happens) they just laugh and say ‘gosh you were so unfortunate’ or ‘ugly duckling syndrome’, but It’s hard for others to see that that little girl is still inside me somewhere, still scared of not being seen as pretty, or being compared to other girls. There was one night I remember, I think I was 9 or 10, and I sat in my bedroom on the floor in front of the mirror and cried. I cried for what seemed like hours, just staring at myself. All I saw was ugliness. So when people comment on how I looked when I was younger, it still hurts a little bit. Just because I remember the heart ache I felt when I sat on that night.

I was insecure about my nose – which isn’t on the small side, and I’ve had that pointed out MANY times – even now, and it’s still my biggest insecurity. I just think it does not suit my face, it’s completely out of proportion and wonky. I’ve always had very bad skin on my back and shoulders, which is only just starting to clear up – I’ve finally found a routine that works!. And I have also been diagnosed with tinea versicolor which alters my skins pigmentation in little patches, making them darker and lighter – which is not very nice to look at.

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So, about my nose – it was earlier this year that I received some very horrible and personal messages from a member of H’s ex girlfriends family. She embarrassed me on my social media, and texted H some nasty messages. He hadn’t shown me what she had written,  but I had a feeling he wasn’t telling me everything so I asked to see the message and God I wish I hadn’t. The worst thing for me in the message was that she had called me a “big nose lil c**t”… I didn’t give her any reactions, but I stayed in bed for 2 days crying. Imagine someone who had never seen you before, only saw photos, and that was the thing they picked up on – my biggest insecurity. I was devastated. To me, girls should support each other and make each other feel pretty and empowered, so I couldn’t understand how someone could have so much hatred towards me to comment on my face. I would never have done that, no matter what the circumstances are. I still hate my nose, and when I can afford it I will be correcting it. I want to be able to look at photos of me from the side without cringing. I’d like to think on my wedding day I wouldn’t need to be conscious of my nose ruining the photo.

I had my graduation a few weeks ago, and we paid for some professional photos to be taken. Honestly when I saw them on the website the next morning I could have cried. They were so unflattering, he didn’t take my features into account – my nose looks HUGE, and mouth looks awful, my hair looked flat. I was devastated. Everyone else looked to pretty and happy, and I just looked ugly.

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My weight has always been a big issue for me. It was a running joke in my family about my huge portions and ability to go back up for thirds and finishing off the left overs. Obviously it was lighthearted, but I realised that it massively affected the way I saw myself. I saw myself as the big one who ate the most, I was called chubby quite a lot. I always had a big bum as well which I hated – I covered it up everyday with a cardigan – even though I lived in the Middle East and it was 30 degrees everyday – I didn’t even swim without a t-shirt and shorts on.  It wasn’t until I saw the photo below that I realised I needed to make a change

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Yeah most people just say – you look fine, you don’t even look big.. etc.. But that wasn’t the point. The point to me was that I did not see myself as looking like this – it was a scary reality check that I hated the way my body looked and I needed to do something about it. There’s other photos online that even now make me feel a bit sad, sad because I never realised that I probably should’ve been watching what and how much I was eating. From when I saw this photo my life changed, I lost a lot of weight – some would say too much, but I’d NEVER felt better.

10370448_10152430889627250_6371364948190266685_nI went from about 11.5/12 Stone to 9 stone, which is a lot of weight, but I did it in an extremely healthy way, and I was loving my change in lifestyle. This was put backwards during my time at university, but it was hard to keep up with it as a student!. Luckily now I’m getting back on top of it, but anyway  – I sorted my weight and I felt good. At that time, I’d had my braces taken off, the glasses had gone, my skin had cleared up and I’d decided to have a change of hair colour, and dyed it dark brown from my natural dark blonde. I felt really good about myself – I’ve never thought of myself as pretty, but I was happy with my body.

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Being secure in the way you look takes a long time, and I’m not there yet. I hated the photos of me from my graduation, and looking at the photos H took of me on holiday, I just think I look awful. Which does make me sad. I look at H and all the photos I took of him (literally hundreds), seeing how gorgeous he looks and I can’t help thinking that people must look at us and not understand why he’d be with me.

Growing up has a lot to do accepting yourself, I’m only 21 and still have a long way to go. Like I said before, if I could change one thing I would change my nose, it’s not for everyone – everyone I know will tell me not to do it. But they don’t understand how it does affect the way I see myself – especially after receiving those horrible messages. I’ve dreaded these photos ever coming up on my timeline, and it’s about time I just let it go. Yeah I wasn’t the prettiest girl, I didn’t have nice teeth or nice skin, my glasses didn’t suit me and neither did my hair, my fashion sense didn’t do me any favours, but do you know what – I have always had a good heart. So people can make fun of me as much as they want, I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt me, but that’s what I used to look like, to me it’s still what I look like now! but no one can make fun of my character. I think that that is much more important.

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Almost 10 years on, I look more like this:

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Still the same girl, just 10 years on!

Commenting on the way someone looks is one of the worst forms of bullying. It happens way too often, by too many spiteful people. I can’t give any advice on what to do if this happens to you, but I’m 21 years old and I still cried in bed just like I did when I was a child when I was called ugly – but what I can say is I understand. I understand how it feels to not feel pretty, and not feel good enough for anybody. I understand what it’s like to not understand your body shape if it isn’t the same as your friends – it makes you feel like it’s a bad thing. I understand what it feels like to always be the ugly friend that gets no attention from boys. But in time you will find someone who thinks you’re pretty and sexy, and loves every inch of you and your imperfections. H has helped me a lot, I wouldn’t say he’s magically turned me into a secure person, but it makes me feel good when he compliments me.

This post seems a bit here there and everywhere to me, maybe I’ll go over more things in detail later on but I wanted to at least post something this week as I’ve been so rubbish recently.

Thank you for reading,

love Caitlan xx

My University Experience

Hey guys,

So this post will be about my time at university. I really struggled with uni, however  I know a lot of people who have loved every minute of it, so if you feel as though you could be offended by anything on this topic, I wouldn’t read this post. This is my experience, it’s nothing to do with the friends I made – I did make some lovely friends. This is not a reflection of my friendships.

I was really excited to start uni. I’d been living in the states, so I was honestly looking forward to being in the UK where I was legal and able to finally go out! I love meeting new people so I was looking forward to that too – just the freedom! I couldn’t wait. All throughout my first 2 years, the social side of uni was amazing, but the academic side was always my biggest downfall. Since day one I felt as though I was so out of place. Everyone was so keen to get to know the lecturers and answer questions in the lectures and seminars, and I just wasn’t interested! I only got to know one of my lecturers, and that was because I had a full blown anxiety attack outside of a seminar class and he literally had to drive me home (a 45 minute drive – embarrassing isn’t even the word). First year was a breeze and looking back now I did the bare minimum – enough to pass. I just wanted to go out and enjoy myself! and I only ever seemed to be enjoying myself when I had a drink in my hand. So don’t get me wrong, I did have some AMAZING times, but they only ever seemed to be when I was on a night out or getting ready for one.

I got anxious whenever I had to go into uni, the horrible feeling in your stomach – every single time. I think people just thought I was lazy when I missed lectures but it was honestly because the feeling it gave me thinking about going in was so crippling I just couldn’t convince myself to go. I don’t know why that is yet. Maybe I’ve never felt as though I deserved to be there, like I’m not smart enough or worthy enough. I had a few comments by some people about our high school education, and they could not believe I had been privately educated and did really well – It was a huge surprise to them, but they commented in a really rude way that has stuck in my mind since they said it. It was as though they were saying there is no way you went to private school and there’s no way you got good results… One part of me thought, well we are at the same uni and we both had the same requirements so if you deserve to be here so do I, but the other part of me thought gosh maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m not ‘Durham Material’. I’ve always been life of the party and I love having a good time, but when it came to the academic side I was a recluse, I didn’t feel confident in my intelligence, and by the comments I got – no one else was either.

It was really lonely sometimes. Like I said before, most of my friends were so keen to get involved in the academic side, and the sports. I joined netball, which had training sessions every Tuesday and this was hard. I’d go from being so confident on a night out, to just unsure and self conscious. Anxious that people didn’t like me and were judging me and talking about me. There were so many confident people, I guess I felt inferior. I just couldn’t find my place!

At my uni during my freshers week we had Wreps and Freps looking after us during events in and out of uni, the Freps partied with us and it seemed like such a fun job to have. I tried my absolute best to get as involved as I can in first year, so I decided to apply for the Free job for the new freshers. Everyone I spoke to about it said I was pretty much guaranteed it, but I didn’t get it. I tried even harder second year to get involved with my college in every aspect, and I was told I was guaranteed it again, but I STILL didn’t get it. I just didn’t understand. At that point I just thought what is even the point? I had tried to hard and it didn’t pay off – in my social life and at uni – my work never seemed to get the top marks no matter if I spent every waking hour in the library and was confident in the assignment.

If you’d read my anxiety blog post, you’ll know that I had a really rubbish relationship for the first 2 years of uni, which really did not help at all – I should’ve known better really! I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted in my academics, I didn’t get the Frep position for the second time, my relationship had completely gone to sh!t and I just did not know what to do with myself. All I knew of uni was my relationship, so it was hard to see how I’d cope with not having that in my final year. I went to summer dreading going back. Luckily in the summer I met H, which turned my life around for the summer.. until reality hit us and it was time for me to be back at uni. By the Christmas holidays I was dead set I wasn’t going back. I thought about all the crap I had been through, the heartbreak, the let downs, the tears, yeah I only had 4 months left at uni, but WHY would I put myself through 4 more months of absolute misery when I’d already had over 2 years of it? It didn’t make sense to me. I wanted to be home with H, creating a life for us together – not sitting on my own in my uni bedroom not being able to get out of bed. Those last few months were torture. I stopped going out, I’d stopped going to netball training and stopped competing in the games all together, I didn’t socialize. I didn’t want to be there, and the whole time I was there I was depressed and anxious. Keeping up with friendships was too much stress for me, and I couldn’t handle it. Just having one conversation felt as though I had the whole world on my plate. It was horrible. I even missed lots of family events because I couldn’t bring myself to go, knowing I’d have to actually hold a conversation.

It got to a point where once I got within 5 minutes of university my heart would start racing, I’d feel teary and panicky – there was once my bus was super late, and I was going to be SO late to a seminar. I messaged my mum because I had gotten myself into such a mess about it, thinking what if I go in and he embarrasses me in front of everyone, what if he’s cross with me. She just said to knock, explain the situation and apologise for being late. I got to uni, got outside the room – at this point I was 35 minutes late, over half way of the whole seminar. I stood outside the room and I instantly began to panic. My breathing was fast, heart rate up, shaking, crying hysterically and I couldn’t speak. I ran to the uni student services to see if they could help me, but there were students in there – I didn’t want to wait too long as I wanted to go back to the seminar room and explain that I didn’t just not show up. I went back to the seminar room as time was running out, and as soon as he asked me what was wrong I burst into tears and couldn’t speak. He offered to drive me home, and I explained all my anxiety issues. He did his best to help me, he really made the last few months a bit more bearable – he excused me from an exam because I had missed SO much content, which did take the pressure off!

I haven’t stopped feeling anxious about uni until literally yesterday 20th June at 2pm. Which is the day I got the results of my degree. I have NO idea how but I managed to get an upper second class degree, which is just so bizarre to me. Feels like they’ve made a mistake but I won’t be saying anything!!. I finally feel like I’m free to be me and to get on with my life, it’s over and done with and I could not be any happier. I’m not sure if I’m glad I did it, I mean it’s great that I have a degree, and I didn’t quit (I rarely quit anything, it’s my biggest downfall sometimes!). But being at university made me into the person I used to be. It dragged me back and I was at square one. I won’t look at university as the best 3 years of my life, it’ll be 3 years of life lessons and tests of my strength! which I’m sure I’ll grow to appreciate, but for now I’m happy its over and I get to enjoy my life! Honestly I’m really anxious that I’ll go back to feeling crap again, especially when I have no reason to. It REALLY scares me. I just want to do things that make me happy, and I’m hoping this will be enough to keep my recovery moving forward rather than backward.

Like I said, uni is not for everyone. It really affected my mental and physical health, and to me nothing is worth that. In hindsight if someone had come to me and said that they knew 100% how my mind and body would react to the stress, I wouldn’t have even thought about going. Uni can be the best years of your life, unfortunately for me it wasn’t – but fortunately for me I’ve gotten through it with a good degree! If it’s taught me anything, it’s that I CAN overcome challenges, and I have strong willpower.

I wanted to write this because you hear a LOT about how amazing uni is and how it’s the best times of your life, and I felt a lot of pressure because of this. Pressure to have a good time, to make life long friends, to mature and have more responsibility. I don’t regret going, not at all – but I would have loved to have had someone been honest with me about their experience instead of painting a rosy picture.

YOU can do whatever you set your mind to. It will be hard, and you’ll want to quit, but let your feelings when you’ve finished be your motivation. The feeling of the weight lifting off your shoulders. Nothing is unattainable if you set your mind to it!

lots of love

Caitlan x

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