I don’t want to be a burden on my mother anymore. She has been very supportive in my adolescent years, I am now 20. I expect to function and be an independent woman. however, with my constantly fluctuating mood swings, and anxiety, and constant stress, I find it impossible to basically get through a day.
I have always been good at academics. I play the violin and read a ton of books. however, in the past 2 years, I find it very difficult to pay attention and focus throughout the day, and on one task. There is a constant feeling of dissatisfaction with myself. I have expectations and standards for everything. I have been raised to be ambitious, My grandmother poured out all her frustration (with her own life, she was a writer) on me, and told me I was the best. Although I am very grateful for everything she taught me, because she was highly educated and passed on a lot of her knowledge to me at a very young age, I feel like it has left a pretty big mark on my worldview.
I went to a school, in which she taught. She was highly respected for her intellect. I was always known as the “grand-daughter”. I enjoyed the title. It was an ego boost.
When I was in middle school, we went through a couple of years of financial difficulty. I continued to attend the same school (elite school). My parents were extremely supportive, they tried to keep my brother and me happy, with whatever we could afford. However, my worldview completely changed. I started to view the education I received as “elitist” and something only for the rich. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well in academics. I would spend all my free time at school, trying hard to be productive and “get ahead”. In 7th grade, I started violin lessons and began to take that very seriously. I would go to the extent of practicing all night (sleeping around 2 AM) and waking up at 4-5 AM). In hindsight, all this seems impossible and I do not know how I pulled it off but I did! My violin teacher was impressed beyond words, he thought I was “talented”. I would argue that this exceptional; ability was a result of the trauma that took place during those years.
During these years I lost touch with all my friends. The girl who was once jovial and naughty had turned into a very different person. I began staying away from my classmates. They thought I was weird. There seems to be no way to access me or get to know me better. I was too far away from most people. On class excursions, I would sit alone and weep to myself. In 10th grade, I left this school (much to everyone’s disappointment, as my grandmother was a very large figure in this space).
11th and 12th was a period of new challenges. I went from an extremely elite education system to a conventional education system. The exams were harder, the people were different, their ideals were different….everything was different. The challenges were too many to battle, Firstly the competitive nature of the Indian educational system, Secondly, me having seen my parents go through, what I would call a financial predicament, I was ambitious and ended up taking the toughest course. It was simply too much to take. I failed every test consistently for two years and passed out with really bad grades. During this time, I gained around 10 kgs, as every time I was stress and angry and scared(to death, as I thought my life depended on these grades) I would eat
My parents again were extremely supportive, they never put any pressure on me. In fact, my dad would sit with me all night to help me do better in Math. He never put any pressure. But I continued to put pressure on myself to do better, as I had done in school.
Then came a miracle, (yes people miracles happen, please believe in them!) In spite of my bad grades, I wrote an undergraduate entrance exam for an art and design course. I got in.
Turns out I am extremely good, at art and design. I hardly have to do anything, I get good grades as I have always wanted. Also, all those grueling years of midnight practice sessions (violin), have paid off. People in college have a lot of respect for me. Things seem perfect, from the outside. Yeah, from the outside…..
I have a lot of time on my hands, something I have not had for years. The trauma, of those difficult years, keeps repeating in my mind. My violin practice is driving me crazy, because, every time I think of practice, I think I must spend 6-7 hours as I used to in those years. however, my life is far better now (financially, Mum and dad are better settled). On most days I can’t get myself to practice. The thought of letting it go makes me miserable. I practically gave my entire life to it. Practicing, as I said, makes me miserable, as I can never get myself to sit down for as long as I once used to. Also, I had mentioned, that I gained a lot of weight due to stress. After coming to college I have lost weight 8 times (literally) and gained it back ever since. even though things are much better now, than they have ever been, and it looks like, I have it all (from the outside). I feel terribly insecure. I am deeply invested in my music, I want to pursue it along with my course, in college. I worry endlessly, and every time I worry (about music not working out for me), I eat. I impulsively eat. I gain and lose weight, every 2 months. In the last 2 years, I have become “hyper-invested” in my career goals, which works against me. I am unproductive, unhappy, I compare myself to everyone and anyone, I weep endlessly, I eat impulsively…the list goes on.
I feel I am a burden for my mother, as she worries about my happiness. She struggles to understand why I feel this way even after everything seems like it is working in my favor. I am lonely as hell, as all my friends in school, have labeled me crazy. It has been two years of college and I have not been able to make any friends, as my brain thinks it is a waste of time. Also, my story is soo different, non of my classmates seem to understand where all this extreme behavior is coming from.
I dream of practicing for 12 hours, straight. it never happens, these days. I used to be able to do it when things were not okay. don’t have that kind of pressure anymore, however, funnily enough, I tend to miss it. I love my own company. I have come this far, I do not want to give up. however, I am always anxious, stressed and irritable….and insecure. Nobody understands.
I wish the pressure would go away, I wish to feel lighter, I wish to actually work and not worry about the end result.