Taking Breaks and Medication

Hello people who still read my blog! Hope you’ve had a good few weeks, if not I hope the following days will be much better for you. This was the first Christmas my family have spent away from home and it was pretty nice, something about the ocean air helped clear my mind.

One thing that has been plaguing me recently is the concept of a ‘break’. This is my first holiday in a while where my school has not dumped piles of work onto me for Christmas and it feels strange, wrong almost. Where is the pure guilt and anxiety that usually accompanies my Christmas? Then I realised it’s actually a break, a time to just relax, develop myself and skills and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Humans are so preoccupied with ‘doing things’ and ‘not being lazy’ that we forget to let ourselves just ENJOY things. Don’t let yourself be consumed for what should be a time to recharge and recollect.

It has also occurred to me how bad my lifestyle is this Christmas (I’m sure I’m not the only one). I’ve been on medication so long I’ve used it as an excuse for bad living habits and not trying to better myself. At this moment I have decided to try and wean myself off of medication but with a change in lifestyle. Things like: better diet, exercise and yoga, meditation etc. Being a student with a good diet may be hard, but in the long run I hope for it to change my outlook and get me off medication for the first time in two years. One thing I will try to keep in mind that I may slip back onto them and to not shame myself, take a breath and wait until I am ready.

Drink more water (more a note to self here)

Gabby

Here is my first Bob Ross painting, I’ve gotten back into art and it has been helping me through this holiday 🙂

The Imposter Syndrome: An Actor’s Guide

Hello all I have returned!!! This week has been packed with classes, rehearsals and shows and I can successfully say I have completed my first semester of drama school! I am so proud of myself for making it through these past few weeks and am ready for some lie ins and relaxing.

I’ve been wanting to write about this issue for months now but I never has a word to describe the feeling. Then a few weeks ago and actor I knew posted a video about ‘The Imposter Syndrome’ and it all made sense. The imposter syndrome is when a person is successful but has doubts about their accomplishments/fears they will be exposed as a fraud. I’m sure most people may have experienced this at some point and wanted to talk about it and how it relates to theatre.

Through actor’s lives, we are told ‘getting into drama school is soooo hard and you’ll probably get rejected.’ This is what I was told hundreds of times, yet still decided to go for a few. After a few rejections, I thought it was over until my last who accepted me. My joy was so explosive I couldn’t speak, it wasn’t long however until I doubted it. ‘What if they made a mistake? It could be an admin error. Their acceptance rate must be so high to accept someone like me.’ This was so irritating, it felt like I was an imposter to the school, that I didn’t belong to this group of talented ex-National Theatre and Fringe performers.

(https://www.executiveforum.com/leaders-defeat-imposter-syndrome/)

The excuses continued even to the point of only recently. It got to the point where the tutors had to literally tell everyone ‘you belong here’ and have one of them tell me ‘we aren’t going to kick you out.’ It was so irrational yet so rational in my mind that it got in the way of the enjoyment of it. One famous person who suffered the imposter syndrome was Albert Einstein, a man internationally recognised for his intelligence and yet believed he was fraudulent.

I’m not trying to be ungrateful for my place, I love where I am, but if something good happens in your life then let it happen. Yes sometimes schools are hard to get into and grades hard to achieve, but people get in and people get the grades. Why can’t that one person one day be you?

Have a good Christmas break! (Apologies to those who don’t have them)

Gabby

Gonna miss this new tapestry I got, makes my room feel less blank.

Schools: How They Fail the Students and Teachers

Hello all, yes I’m still alive and I am very much looking forward to having time off for Christmas. Drama school is quite full on now and the dark weather is not helping the feelings of isolation, but I know I’ll make it through.

Over the last week my mum went on the radio to talk about me as a child and how I was bullied by a teacher. Not only a teacher, but the Special Needs Coordinator which brought back a lot of memories of my school life and how I was treated. My biggest fear wasn’t the girls themselves, but actually teachers. For many years I have sustained a fear of being picked out by teachers and being called back from the class. I wasn’t one for the rules, but was terrified of the repercussions and punishments.

I would love to speak to any person who said that school punishment ‘helped’ their behaviour or that they learned anything. It’s a system built on shame, shaming those students who don’t fit into little educational boxes or who cannot sit still for hours at a time.

But why is this? Because teachers themselves are under pressure. From my old school they used to have competitions on which subject had the most A*s (used to be textiles that won, but the teacher was really rude and strict). Teachers have to plan up to 5 classes a day, take those classes and mark the work that was set for a terrible wage. If their students don’t do well, then they could be punished and lose their job.

It’s a triangle of hierarchy where punishment is the easiest way to get results, where the arts are neglected because they don’t yield as many higher grades and there’s no solid mark scheme. I love to learn, but I’m so happy my school days are behind me, I’m just disappointed how the system is only getting worse rather than better.

Maybe we can change this… any ideas?

From a contemplating Gabby

Anne Hegerty: Autism in the Media

As some of you may be aware, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is back on the air! Whilst many of you may despise the show, it has always been a family tradition of mine to tune in everyday during the run. There’s something so alluring about millionaires camping out and eating ostrich anus for meals. Along with that, you may have seen the name ‘Anne Hegerty’ around online news pages recently. This is because she is the first openly autistic participant on the show. As a person who has only recently found out their diagnosis, it has been a massive confidence boost. Whilst trying to come to terms with it, I can look at people like Anne and say ‘If she can do it, I sure bloody can too.’ Many traits I see in her I see in myself too, and it is so nice to relate to someone in the media like that.

However there is the other side to this. Whilst many are supportive of the publicity of autism, it’s not hard to find the negative ones calling her ‘pathetic’, her having and ‘easy 3 week holiday’ and her getting better treatment. What people need to understand is that as an autistic person, putting yourself on a show like that is already like a trial. All your rituals are destroyed, your privacy gone and all your senses are put into overdrive. Not to mention the sensory effects of bugs on autistic people (I almost vomit just at the trials). Everyday there can be a challenge for people with autism, and I applaud her for her bravery. As a person in a drama school, not many people are aware of the effects, but to watch her every night gives me hope to carry on and push through.

Sorry if this has been over the top, but I still feel very turbulent about the issue. It’s about time we talk about it.

Hope you’re enjoying the show!

Gabby

Finding Myself Again

Hope you’ve all had a good day! So far my illness seems to be fading and I’ve just been doing some work before I’m a Celebrity starts (it keeps me distracted okay). I’ve had a lot of reflection time this week because of my hours which I haven’t had much before, mainly concerning my autism diagnosis.

In all honesty it is still very overwhelming that other people literally think and act differently to me, that people don’t have to overthink interactions as much. I imagine the amount of time I could save if I was neurotypical, then the ‘what ifs’ come in. What if I was ‘normal’? Would I have been bullied and made fun of as much? Would I have hated school as much as I did? I can’t help it. It’s like rediscovering a part of me that has always been visible.

One thing that autism makes me is extremely determined and headstrong to the point of extreme competition. This is something that I don’t think can ever really be helped which is a hard concept. If I love something and have someone better than me then I’m automatically pathetic, which is usually the case in drama. Perhaps maybe you yourself can relate or someone you know is like me.

I guess this blog is not only trying to show how you can go through with what you love with anxiety, but also autism awareness and me recording my findings on myself again. It’s all very confusing, but hopefully will clear up soon.

Go pet a dog today,

Gabby

Here is my dog Charlie. One thing people on the spectrum can usually relate to is a love and understanding of dogs. I’m so glad to have this mutt.

Working through withdrawal

Hello again, is it me the very sickly coughing student. I’ve had a bad throat the last few weeks which has made me pretty lethargic and is annoying everyone. I call it ‘Freshers Flue Part 2: Electric Boogaloo’. On top of that I’ve had the anxiety of running out medication which I have to blame myself for.

At the moment I’m on 20mg of fluoxetine which helps my serotonin levels. One major problem with this medication is the withdrawal. The withdrawal is the worst, and can involve depressive episodes, panic attacks, shaking etc. Last night I ran out of them and my mind feels like sludge. I’m not ashamed on being on medication because it helps me, if it were not for the medication I would be a mess most of the time and become reclusive.

Whilst the withdrawal makes me feel bad I just treated myself to a nap today and have been taking things slow. Why work on a tired worked up mind when you can take a break and work later? It’s been a slow day sure, but we’re allowed to slow down when we need and take a breath. You can’t win a marathon if all you do is sprint.

Luckily today I have my medication back, so this little slip up can be resolved and tomorrow I will feel better. Thank you medicinal science!

Drink some tea,

Gabby

This is the book I have been doodling in, I would recommend it to get your thoughts down somewhere and I may write a post about it. Also I said I would write this: Esther is sexy.

Taking Criticism

The second term has started here at Rose and everything is back to normal. Seems like forever since I saw my group but that may be because we see each other every day. In all honesty I missed them and it’s good to see them.

Coming back also meant receiving feedback on our presentations, something I had been dreading. Nothing gets me more nervous that someone telling me I was ‘bad’ at something or how I’m not that good. The reality is is that it wasn’t all bad, but it is me who takes the criticism and blows it up. I can take a negative comment and take it into my soul, but a hundred positive ones I would ignore.

When your self esteem is low you take anything that backs up that bad image of yourself and reinforce it. But if I’m going to survive the next three years the positive comments will also have to be accepted. There’s nothing wrong in letting yourself be complimented, treat yourself to making you feel good as much as you may downplay yourself.

From an unwell student,

Gabby

Here’s a picture of a pub dog that I met, he made me very happy so I wanted to share him with you.