I sat on the Central Line my noise-cancelling headphones on to block the harsh sounds of the London tube, and fear gripped me. I hate travelling on the tube and it’s very rare that I do it by myself.
The problem with anxiety – at least in my case – is it doesn’t stay focused on the intial point of fear. At first it was the people, and the noise but it quickly morphed into an anxiety surrounding my recent choices.
I recently withdrew from university. Again.
I know it was the right decision, and yet my thoughts were being battered by loud cries of failure and rejection! How could I do this, again?!
Caught up in my thoughts and looking for a visual distraction I started reading the adverts that are placed above the seats. There was the usual ad for vitamins and one for a London-based internet service and then I saw an advert from Oxford’s Black and Red branded notebooks that declared ‘starting over is a sign of strength’.
Although it was not the first time I hadseen something along those lines, it felt like it was. As though I was finally able to truly let that thought settle into my soul, and allow a different kind of thinking. A more positive thinking. That I wasn’t a failure or had waste my life. Rather it took strength to make the decisions that I have, that when something is hurting it is okay to stop.
It wasn’t easy to put my education in hold yet again. I had started the summer of 2017 with much hope and I could’ve continued to push myself but I had already pushed my physical and mental health to the brink.
What good would it had done to push further? I have in the past and it took years of recovery, would it be a sign of strength to do that again or is the true strength in knowing when to pause, when to stop and when to start again?