Adventuring with my eyes closed. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒป๐Ÿ˜โ˜€๏ธ๐ŸŒ…๐Ÿ‘’

So for someone who said the exams would be fine, it’s safe to say I was definitely being a little too optimistic! This semester’s exams were in no way fine! I was so stressed out! I ended up getting sick with nerves before a few of my exams and then in one exam just after I had been sick, I had a panic attack within the first five minutes. It was hard, it was tiring and it was embarrassing. But it’s over and now I’m just crossing my fingers that I scrape through.

It’s summer now though! ๐ŸŒž๐Ÿ˜Œ While I’ve definitely been having a lot of fun, I’ve also been anxious. I suppose maybe it’s just because everything is starting to change from now, what with Erasmus friends leaving and J1’ing and Caoimhe going to Scotland! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’– ** cheese alert … I really, really love all my friends to bits and it’s hard watching them all go off in different directions; as much as I am super excited and delighted for them all! (๐Ÿ˜ฅ)

But I’m trying to focus on the on the idea that change, although hard and super scary is usually a positive thing. Perfect example: college! <3๐Ÿ“š

With all the anxiousness of the last few weeks I think that I have figured out and put to use some new coping mechanisms that I haven’t really properly tried before.

Lately I’ve been really trying hard to focus on slowing my breathing when I get anxious. It takes a few minutes but I’m starting to learn that when I take a few moments to just shut my eyes and breath, counting each breath, ( in for 4, out for 5) I begin to feel in control of my body again and then I start to relax.

Okay next thing is a bit of a weird one. This is going to make all my friends smile because they’re all about to realise why I’m always asking can I put this song on, haha. ย So I stumbled upon this song by The 1975 that I love, ‘If I believe you’ and I don’t know what it is but I just adore the song! I think it’s just so beautiful and calming. I don’t even particularly relate with all of the words (it’s about religion, I think) but I just absolutely love it! It always gives me butterflies. ๐ŸŒธ

So in Bressie’s book ‘Me and my mate Jeffrey’, he talks about this coping mechanism where he makes an ‘O’ with his thumb and his index finger, squeezing them together and closes his eyes. Then he thinks of a really happy memory and pictures himself within the memory. Basically Bressie did this every night before he went to bed and then he began to find that when he was in an anxious situation that if he made the ‘O’ with his two fingers and closed his eyes the sensations of the happy memory he had pictured so often would begin to calm him down. I really liked this idea.

So now, I have started listening to ‘If I believe you’ whenever I’m at my happiest and most relaxed. The song just chills me out. So I make the ‘O’ and close my eyes and listen and think about why I’m so happy. (I know that sounds hilarious.) ย I’ve also begun to listen to it when I get a little anxious or nervous now. Once again, I put the song on, make the ‘O’ and it’s like I’m transported back to the happy memories. It seems to take me a minute or so of listening to the song but it really calms me down and enables me to breath again.

I wasn’t really sure of the whole idea of mindfulness, but I have really begun to see the benefits, I think. There’s also a good App that I was recommended. It’s called ‘Headspace’ and it’s free. The App encourages you to take 10 minutes out of your day to just breath and be present. It can be done at any time of the day but it recommends mindfulness first thing in the morning. However, I struggle to get out of bed in the first place so I do it most nights before I go to sleep. I try to do it everyday but that doesn’t always work out, of course.

The whole mindfulness thing I have just found gives my head a few good minutes to slow down and relax once a day. I feel lighter and less stressed out and anxious after a couple of days of getting into the habit.

-Hopefully some of these ideas might be of some help to someone. ๐Ÿ’› Although I totally know that different things work for different people! ๐Ÿ˜Œ

So, I’m off to America in 9 days! Wow! 9 days. Ahhh. That’s kinda scary. Totally terrifying, but exciting. It’s going to be a mighty big adventure. One I’m really looking forward to. Scared for but looking forward to. Just don’t know what I’m going to do without Sally for the summer. ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ’”ย IMG_5960.JPG

Just going to put ‘If I believe you’ interrupted only with a little Westlife occasionally, close my eyes, hold my fingers in the ‘O’ breath deeply and slowly and hide for the first month lol. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘€ I’m sad that this adventure is ending but excited for the next one to start. I think. ๐Ÿ˜

So, I think this is going to be the last blog post before I bop off to America. Not really too sure if I’ll get to write over there… hopefully I will. If not, happy summer everybody. Please all light candles for me and my adventures and pray that I don’t get lost or fall over too much. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Keep being brave, my friends. I hope everyone has fun! See you all in August. ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’–

Smile Always,

Kimbo. X ๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ’›๐ŸŒผ๐Ÿ„

Advertisements

Exams, Exams, Exams, Exams, Examsssss. ๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ’ง๐ŸŒผ๐Ÿ’›

So, it’s exam time again! It’s kind of okay though because it’s sunny so I’m just not stressed out at all. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not? My exams start on Saturday and so far this week I’ve painted a Pink Floyd picture, sunbathed, played with Sally and complained about how awful studying is. Whoops. Once again, sorry in advance dad!

IMG_6599

When I wrote my last blog post I was stressed out to the max and not feeling too positive about life, but like I said it was just a rough patch. I am now definitely coming out the other side, which is kind of ironic given the timing. ๐Ÿ“š My course consists of a lot essay writing but all the essays this time around seemed to just come at once and I was totally overwhelmed and lost all motivation. I started falling into a slump and I struggled to pick myself up.

After I wrote the last post I got a lot of lovely messages from a lot of lovely people; both messages of support and messages from people telling me that they could relate to how I was feeling. I appreciated all the messages I got so much, as I always do! I’ve found writing this blog to be a super helpful coping mechanism. Even though I was feeling really rough when I wrote my last post, I felt an awful lot better after being honest about how I was feeling. The posts are sometimes almost a letter to myself to remind myself to be rational and take my own advice and that all will be okay.

When people tell me that they can relate to the stuff I talk about or even that they just enjoy reading my blogs it is such a comfort and a confidence boost. I’m not always the best at expressing what I feel I need to say using my voice, I suppose anxiety has a lot to do with that. So, by using words- by using my blog, I get to say everything I have to say without feeling nervous or scared. That’s why it means so much when people say that they enjoy reading what I write. I love that people who are struggling realise that they are not crazy and not on their own. When people tell me that they can relate, I also feel reassured that I am not crazy and that I am not on my own. So thank you to everyone who has been so kind to me in regards my blog, it really means the world!

After I wrote the last blog post, I got out of bed, had a shower and painted my nails. I didn’t feel like painting my nails but regardless I did it. After painting my nails I felt better about myself. I felt fresher. I then plucked my eyebrows and did a few sit-ups. Just those two hours that I took for myself and made good use of made me feel so much better.

I really struggled to get all my essays done and handed in but I had a few amazing friends that really stuck by me and encouraged me to get them done and in. I did it, like I said I would and I think I smiled for about 4 hours straight after I handed in my last assignment. It felt like such a weight off my shoulders and I felt such a sense of accomplishment for pushing through my mental boundaries and getting it done. I now feel like I’m done for the summer (the sunny weather isn’t helping), even though I still have 5 exams to get through. I think that exams are a bit easier to get through though. There’s like a sense of solidarity around exam time that everyone is struggling, but everyone is going through the same thing so everyone understands and comes together to support one another. Exams are more social that assignments, I have found so I have no doubt that over the next two weeks I will be just fine. It’s actually a little worrying how not stressed I am. Hey, better under stressed than over stressed… right?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun to realise that I was setting too many unrealistic expectations for myself and I was getting so frustrated and upset with myself when I wasn’t achieving all my goals. I forgot to step back and still appreciate the small things that I was achieving.

I can now say that it was silly of myself to have gotten so caught up in how well I was doing. It’s easy to do though, to forget that you still need to take special care of your body and mind and not to let small things build up. I think my bad patch came as a very unwelcome reminder that I am not invincible and that I am not quite strong enough as of yet to take on the world by myself;ย I will be though, that is the end goal! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐ŸŒ

I got asked a couple of weeks ago how I deal with the really intense, low thoughts that sometimes hit me. This was kind of tough question to answer because I don’t think I’ve really figured out how to deal with them properly yet. My body goes into ย fight or flight mode and I just do anything and everything to get through the day. I break up my time and set myself small goals. Things seem much easier when instead of having to get through the next two weeks, you just have to get through the next hour and then the next. Obviously I paint. On my skin, on paper, on my walls. I find painting super relaxing and I always feel so much lighter when I have painted a picture instead of using other unhealthy coping mechanisms. I exercise a lot, there’s not too many bad moods that throwing in my earphones and bringing Sals for a walk can’t cure. I also use writing as a coping mechanism, I suppose. My blog, short letters to myself or just filling pages and pages in any and every notebook I can find at the time.

To get through exams I always find that I sort of team up with people, study with them or even just constantly texting or calling or even snap chatting them. It reminds me that I’m not on my own. It also just makes it a much more tolerable experience when you have a couple of people who you’re in constant contact with, supporting and encouraging you, and you them. Everyone’s in the same boat so we might as well all get though it together.

It’s a bit emotional finishing second year. This has definitely been one of the best years of my life and I have had so much fun, learned so much about myself and met so many incredible people. Next year a lot of my best friends are leaving on Erasmus for a year full of adventures. I am sad seeing them go but happy for them at the same time. Change is a pretty scary thing that I have always tried to flight but I’m beginning to see that change is often a great thing and that it should be embraced, as much as possible.

I am heading off to New York for the summer on my own for what will be my greatest adventure yet. I’m nervous but bursting with excitement and I am also immensely proud of myself for encouraging myself to take this step. I know that ย last year even getting the train to Maynooth on my own was daunting, never mind moving to another continent for the summer! Life is good, constantly scary but nothing I can’t face. I intend to pass these exams, have the summer of my life and then return in September to finish my degree and move onto the next chapter what ever that may be.

I’m going to keep learning about and managing my depression and anxiety and above all, I am going to stay happy, positive and smiling.

That’s the plan anyway.

To anyone sitting exams, best of luck and don’t stress too much. If worst comes to the worst there’s always repeats. The end is near, this will all be behind us soon and remember, you are not on your own. We are all going through the same thing and we are all feeling overwhelmed and stressed, so chin up! You totally got this! We got this! โค๏ธ

Best of luck and remember,

Smile always,

Kimbo. X