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

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.

Back Stabs and Forgiveness in the Industry

Doing acting as a fun hobby since age 8 has given me so much happiness and many friends along the way. If it wasn’t for acting I would not have any friends at my old school and I probably would not have met my boyfriend. It is also the only hobby I can do and feel okay with myself in.

However this week has been one of reflection on that since I have completed my first term of drama school. I have also lost a number of friends because of my hobby. One in particular comes to mind. Her and I were very good friends for 4-5 years doing almost everything together, but after joining the drama club she was in without telling her she vowed to never speak to me again. This hurts me still to this day.

Many feelings are invoked when I think back: anger, betrayal, sadness but also regret. Something that brought us so close together broke us apart. I see now that she has done very well for herself, but my first feeling is one of jealousy that I feel guilt for. Someone who hurt me has done well, even a lot better than I have. How does one cope with that?

My honest answer is is that I have no answer. Well not really anyway. My mind has been so concentrated on her that it’s stopping me from succeeding. Why should I care how she lives? I’ve done well myself, I should be happy for me. But of course that is never enough. The fault isn’t hers but mine in that I can never be happy in myself, so maybe that’s my new goal to set, become happy in me not for other people, just me.

Whilst I may never be able to forgive her for her words, I do wish her all the best in the industry as she has worked hard to be where she is. In the meantime I’m going to concentrate on getting myself together this reading week and catch up on all the people I missed.

Treat yourself this week,

Gabby

Here is where I’ve been staying these past few days, it’s so nice to be away from all the stress and sounds of London.

How To Survive School When You Have Anxiety

When you ask most older adults on how they remember their school years, many will respond how they were the ‘best years of their lives’ or how they’re still friends with their school friends. If you ask me, all I will do is give you a cold stare and ignore the question and hope you don’t insist on an answer.

On thing that people never tell you is that it is okay to hate school, it’s natural. As a teenager getting up early to follow a boring timeline wearing (in my case, brown) uniform isn’t what I’d deem ‘fun’. As I got older I only became more aware of the outright ignorant rules and games teachers used to enforce. My first Grammar school had teachers play a game where they would see how many uniform slips they could give out in a day, however if you got 3 uniform slips as a student, that would mean an after school detention. That’s some weird teacher sadism if I have anything to say about it.

When you’re under scrutiny for you looks, grades and behaviour, it’s all too natural to develop anxiety. Thanks to the aforementioned school, my anxiety was increased tenfold to the point I would fake illness to not go in. Yet I made it. If it were not for the friends I made in that school I wouldn’t have mentally survived the years. Friends who understand the struggle will keep you going. They won’t say stuff like ‘It’s not that bad’ or ‘Everyone is in the same boat’. No. In my opinion it should be ‘Everyone is on the same water, but not everyone’s boats are stable.’

When you’re forced into an environment you despise it is easy to think about giving up, but know you are stronger than the crappy system and the annoying teachers. My main thought has always been ‘I’m going to prove you wrong.’ And I did. If this anxious depressive mess can survive, then anyone can. Get all the support you can and stand up for what you think is right. You can do it tiger.

Best wishes,

Gabby

P.S considering starting a YouTube channel that will be different to this. My main idea is just to try doing random things I love so I can enjoy the videos too. Idk still in progress

Also I am naming my plants, I only have to name one more and that’s the aloe vera plant. Here is the squad.

The ‘Death’ Word

Today I’m going to be talking about something a little bit different. Something that really needs to be talked about more, and that’s coming to terms with death. I’m full of laughs sometimes but this is more serious.

The thought came to me as I was laying on the floor in movement class in an almost meditative state. As we moved across the space, my mind began to feel more and more preoccupied. I began to think of all the changes that would happen whilst at drama school and the people back home. Then I thought of my aunt.

You see, my aunt was diagnosed last year with a malignant brain tumour. Hearing that news was truly breaking, the thought of losing someone so amazing so young was incomprehensible. I remember sitting in the car basically feeling nothing and later crying it out alone.

Coming to terms with it has not been easy, but when given a time of a year and a half you don’t have time to mourn. That comes after. Death is scary, it used to keep me up at night with anxiety and the fear of the unknown, but death’s certain. We fear the loss and the after, and forget the now. My aunt is still alive and beautiful, exploring the world and living life, and after she is gone her daughters will have so much to remember her by.

You have every right to be distraught over the loss of a loved one, but know you aren’t alone and that they’ll always be alive in your memory.

Take care everyone,

Gabby

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. – Khalil Gibran

The Relapse

(Trigger warning)

I haven’t written in a few days, which is strange even though this blog was never intended to become daily. The truth is my ‘off day’ has started to become an ‘off week’. It’s not the work but the living in university accommodation, where I’m lucky even to get 6 hours sleep before a 5 hour day of workshops. For me and many people, their rooms and houses are safe spaces where they can calm down from the day and feel secure. When you live in shared accommodation, that can be taken under your feet.

Due to this fact, I relapsed today. It’s something I’m ashamed of but unafraid to admit (Ironic it happened on mental health awareness day). Falling out with flatmates on simple stuff like keeping the kitchen clean and then overhearing comments about you from others can have that effect.

But you know what? Uni isn’t about the awful people, it’s about what you learn, the kind people you find. Today I overran the negative from a fantastic day of workshops and movement, from the other flatmates I have who are so great to me. Today was another setback yes, but I will not let anyone get in the way of completing my course that I worked so hard to get. They can just bloody try.

Hopefully better news coming soon,

Gabby

Here is my dog in the sun, it has no relevance to the text but he makes me happy.

Having An Off Day

I never intended this to become a daily blog, and on some days I may not update for days at a time. Today I wasn’t going to update because I didn’t want to show the more negative side of me, but then this blog wouldn’t be honest and I really want honesty.

Sometimes we have off days, where nothing has provoked us but the world seems dim. Yesterday I had a great talk with my boyfriend and yet I still felt bad waking up. Sometimes depression just takes your whole day and makes everything seem dismal and dark. My main concern has been my lack of close friends here, my mind has made this image that everyone here except me has best friends that always hang out. It’s the most isolating feeling, one that is hard to get out of right now.

To try and help, I went for a walk in the park and sat down just taking in the views. Walking by myself has the effect of getting my feelings out, even if it means returning to my room to have a cry in the bathroom (absolute peak of a day). But it worked, I feel less lonely than before. I still don’t feel great but I don’t expect that. Having depression means that you have those days where everything seems wrong, and having any lift in mood for me is a success.

In the end the main person who is going to make you feel better is yourself, you have to want to get better to be better, look after yourself and accept the feelings you have. Feeling sad is pure sh*t, but don’t beat yourself up. Know that your feelings are not forever and tell someone that you aren’t feeling too great. Having a good support network is key, especially any of those interested in the theatre path. For now I might play some music and read, maybe speak to a living person, whatever feels right for me.

Sorry if this was not helpful, but this is me at my most vulnerable without a façade and I’m no longer afraid to hide it from people.

Keep yourselves safe,

Gabby

Picture of Rose Bruford from the Park, looks so secretive from here.