School

I have briefly mentioned school in my previous post titled 'Phobias don't last' which can be found here. I am going to write in more detail about my severe battle with school to help others understand. I know from the outside, this 'fear' of school appears somewhat impossible. It can appear as if you're not bothered and that you're skipping school, but this is not true at all. 

I have always enjoyed school for as long as I can remember. I was also quite obsessive about school to the extent that I wouldn't miss a day of school. I wouldn't go on holiday and the only time I would ever take a day off is when I was really ill, but even then I would sometimes still go to school. I couldn't bare to take a day off in the fear I may miss something really important. My uniform was always correct and I would do and still do every single piece of work set, revision and extra study. Never in all my time at secondary school did I get a detention either, as I ensured I did every piece of work and behaved in class. Of course, I was teased quite a bit in school because of what I was like, but now I'm older it doesn't really bother me as I got the grades I deserved because of my attitude towards education. These grades are more important than ever bowing down to any peer pressure. So, now you can see why having a year off school (on and off) is not typical of me.

From around the age of 8, I began to have slight problems with school, however I would still go to school everyday and be just as dedicated. These problems I faced with school reduced quite a bit until I turned 17, almost 10 years later. 

One day I was walking to school and I got to the sixth form where I began to have a panic attack. I explained that I had to leave and walked home. From that day in January, I have never gone back to way I used be. From that day forward I became increasingly anxious towards school and had more negative thoughts in connection with school too. I felt like the world around me was falling apart. I knew that other areas of my life were being affected by anxiety and now it was affecting my education too. It just happened overnight. 

In January I had a breakdown and I couldn't face school at all. I had a mental block. The best way I can explain a mental block, is through the following example: You're on top the empire state building. You have been ordered to jump off the building with no safety equipment and you know that you will die if you do so. The feeling you get when someone is trying to push you forward and you are resisting; that fear of your body screaming 'NO' is the fear I get every single day. The mental block makes it very hard mentally and physically to get out of the door.This mental block can also come and go throughout the school term, especially when I'm trying to get to school after a break. 

From that day in January, I have now been to school and on and off. I have had work sent home, teachers talking to me and phoning me, numerous sessions of counselling and CBT, medication and methods of coping. I have also been given leeway as to being allowed to arrive to school later, separate rooms for my exams and being able leave if I need to. This has helped me a lot! 

So, what exactly happens? Every day of school, I often have a bad nights sleep. This often means restless or little sleep. I wake up with absolute dread, fear, exhaustion and lack of motivation. I feel really ill; like I'm going to be sick. I feel tired and fed up. Before I go to school, I often begin to breathe rapidly, my heart is racing and adrenaline is rushing. This is typical of the flight or fight system and is where the problem lies. Firstly, this makes you very tired and second of all, these feelings of being ill makes you believe you are ill and so you feel you can't leave the house. My legs are heavy and I feel as if there is a brick wall in front of me. My Mum will try absolutely everything to get me out of the door, from persuasion to reassurance. Once I'm in the car, I will often put up quite a fight to not get out of the car due to the fear being so massive. I will say and do anything to get out of the situation. The majority of days I will just sit outside of the school gates as the power of my anxiety is too overwhelming to do otherwise. However, there are days when I will be able to understand my anxiety and get to school. Once I'm in the school gates, the feeling of sickness and panic will be with me for at least half an hour until it begins to reduce and my symptoms begin to subside. However, these can come back throughout the day. I'm sure you can imagine how depressing and hellish this would be; feeling ill, exhausted, not looking forward to going to school, people being disappointed, people being stressed and missing out on memories.


The thing with anxiety is that you might as well be in prison. You spend days on end inside a house going through torture through your own head. The worst bit is that you haven't done anything wrong. You look out of your window, and you see people going to school and you're stuck in the house. You can't even get an education or do what you love.

"You know this fear is irrational, right?" I know full well that school is just a building with amazing and supportive people inside, but for some reason my body will just go into a complete irrational state. It's so hard to explain. If I could leave the house, I would. But again it is the irrational fear. Firstly, it's the worry that I am going to be ill and secondly I can also have a mental block as mentioned above. It so frustrating as it can be so debilitating to the extent that you cannot walk towards the door. 

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what a battle I face with school. It is the thing that gives me the most anxiety. I know from the outside, it seems completely stupid. However, it is something I have to battle and is very real. I continue to work extremely hard outside of school to maintain my grades. You have to show people that you can still accomplish what you want in life. 

Best Wishes and keep fighting!

Amy x