Being at University is a trial. I expected that it would be difficult and to an extent I had prepared myself for that, but the biggest problem hasn’t been the course. It has been the attitudes of various people.
The problem is that now I’m getting out a bit, various people have made the assumption that the agoraphobia I suffer from is now miraculously ‘cured’; that I can now go out and be ‘normal’ and be the person I was before this malady hit.
As I’m not doing that; as I’m still not going out to the pub and hanging out with people; the attitude from some people is “You’re obviously OK, so you’re just being stand-offish and aloof.”
Here’s the thing.
I still find it almost impossible to engage with people outside of my own house/immediate friend zone; the journey to and from Portsmouth is terrifying at a fundamental level. I lose half of the day before going to uni to panic; I don’t sleep and am therefore in a poor state for the actual lectures and seminars. The two days following, I’m in such a state of exhaustion and bewilderment at having been out of the house that I can do little but shake or cry or if I’m very lucky, sleep the exhaustion and panic away.
Think about that for a second. For the sake of four hours of seminars and lectures, I essentially lose three and a half days. Does that sound for a second like I’m doing okay? Does that sound for a second like the dismissive ‘well you’re doing all right’ is the support I need?
The fact of the matter is that it is often *unbearably* hard. It *is* terrifying and above all, I am *not* okay. I am barely holding on and finding the actually process of being a student a damned site more difficult than being an undergraduate ever was. I don’t recall ever have to leave lectures and seminars to stress vomit while at Leeds.
The work is fine, I like that bit. In the three and a half non-terrified days I have, I get the work done. It’s a challenge – as it should be – and I’m mostly quite proud of what I am achieving. I’m actually quite proud of just getting out of the house, to be honest but please, don’t for a second think that because I’m doing it, I’m comfortable doing it.
Don’t assume that because I can do this one thing, suddenly everything is okay.
Don’t confuse survival with getting my life back.
Don’t rush me.