Believing the Delusion

Hello again, I’ve had a bit of a longer break as I have just finished my Devising module which was 12 hour days Monday to Friday (am still exhausted!). Today we were supposed to start our new module but unfortunately a lot of our tutors are unwell so hopefully we start tomorrow.

Whilst the 12 hour process was exhausting, it was also very fun! I really loved my group and our dynamic and was really proud of our devised piece. Whilst there were some lows, they mainly erupted last weekend. I’m always one to turn something good into something bad, the happiness I retain is quickly overtaken by ‘Your happiness is not worth what you have done, you should be disappointed.’ I am a perfectionist in a perfection less job and it’s exhausting.

During Devising I was so distracted I didn’t realise how deluded I was becoming. My bad thoughts had slowly taken over to the point I 100% believed I was worthless and a waste of space, so much that I wasn’t even sad about it, it was just ‘true’. That’s a dangerous place to be. The thing that saved me was reaching out and not letting it continue. An outside perspective can help rationalise those thoughts and get you back to reality (as said by Eminem).

Whilst it seems my whole time here has been filled with rises and pitfalls, I have no intention on giving in. My mind may never be ‘healed’ but I will never let it stop me from doing what I love.

Sleep well

Gabby

Picture of how we decorated the stage, hundreds of bags not including our plastic bag hand puppets.

Pushing Yourself Above and Beyond

Hello all, hope you are having a good start to your week. As this is being published, I am most likely still in my college completing my 12 hour Devising day and getting ready to go into my pyjamas and pass out. From Monday to Friday last week, my group and I have been exploring devising with games from 9am-9pm, something which I never thought I would be capable of and yet here I am, still on the course and not expelled for laziness.

My mental limits have always been an issue for me, the ‘Can’t do’ and ‘No way in hell’ statements still ring in my ears to this day. As a child it was the same with athletics championships where my worst enemy was myself. If anything causes me more than mild discomfort, the doubting side of me starts talking and the work becomes harder. Yet here I am, alive and well after five days of hard work and games. Nothing is harder than having a loud doubting voice and it’s hard to shake.

One key thing for me was knowing when to break to keep sane, letting yourself have some time and rewarding the self. For an introvert, hours with people is extremely draining so I have allowed myself to drink some coffees to keep me going. Additionally talking to my group members has raised my confidence, so being open about my mind and state helps pick me up and get me working. Knowing the final limit is so important, but most limits we face are false, much like hurdles in a race, and soon I won’t have as many hurdles.

See you on the other side

Gabby

An example of a bag outfit we completed last week, so many bags in our piece.

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

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.

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.