• Heidi

That Time Anxiety Taught Me to Forgive a Friend


It's the day before my last A-Level exam.

I. Am. A. Mess.

Being a very nervous and an extremely academically-driven 18 year old, I'm bound for a good ol' fashioned exam breakdown.

GOTTA LOVE EXAMS


I’m not sure what it is, but for me I've always felt like anxiety has driven me in education – telling me that even 100% is never enough. To some people that may sound helpful (and at times I thought it was) but it made everyday life at a high pressure sixth form very difficult for me.


Something that has been a common theme with my anxiousness throughout my life is my need for absolute reassurance that basically, everything is going to be fine. Yup, it is as needy as it sounds.

At the same time as all this, I’d started to fall out with a friend, someone I was attached to the hip with. For some reason she just started to grate on me, I couldn’t even explain it. I think when you’re wound that tight, little things pile up. Things that don’t even matter – the noise of her nails on a laptop keyboard, her cackling laugh and her flawless hair (she was like a herbal essences advert 24/7).

DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF


Anyway.

This particular day, I was a mess. Doing the classic I’m-talking-so-fast-and-pacing-the-floor-but-no-yeah-everything-is-basically-going-to-be-kind-of-okay-and-fine...right?

During this stage of my life, I kept my anxieties to myself. Sharing them only with my parents every now and again. But in this instance, the friend texted me and it all just came spilling out.


I half expected her to say something like "yeah, me too" and be done with it. But what she did actually really surprised me, and I’m slightly ashamed that it did.

She dropped everything. She lived quite far away from me at the time but she drove to my parent’s house, picked me up and drove me to school so I could voice my concerns to my teacher and finally be reassured that, in fact, everything would be fine.


She even bought me a bar of chocolate for some food therapy.

Not only did she calm me down and teach me how much of a dear friend she really was, I probably owe my not-failing that exam to her.

WHAT I LEARNT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE:

  • I am far more sensitive and irritable when I’m not feeling stable mentally – I need to learn to give people the benefit of the doubt, and not to judge so harshly based on insignificant things.

  • Most of the time they are still the friend they always were and opening up about your anxieties shouldn’t and, most of the time, won’t change that.

  • If they’re a true friend they’ll understand that when you’re not stable, neither are your behaviours or emotions​.

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