So I was planning to write my next blog post about Thanksgiving (So excited for all my essays to be completed and to eat my own body weight in turkey before spending the next day in the chaos that is the Black Friday sales) however I thought considering the topic of my last blog post such a drastic topic change without any follow up would be strange.
I’ve now had two appointments with my psychologist, Josh. The first was over two hours long during which he asked me to talk at length about my feelings, why I decided to go and see him, and other questions about my childhood and life. The second was just under an hour and was today, and we just talked about my week and how I’ve been implementing his advice from the previous session.
Overall my experience seeing him has been positive, he’s given me lots of advice about how to manage my feelings and cope with my anxiety on a daily basis. This week I’ve been focusing on breathing and grounding, so when I feel stressed or anxious I’m able to neutralize my feelings before they develop in to a full-fledged anxiety attack. It’s a process where you sit in a quiet environment and take deep breaths, focusing on the things you can see, hear and touch. For people who disassociate from their surroundings during spells of anxiousness like me it can be very useful to undertake this process to become fully aware of ones surroundings again. I personally prefer to do this while I’m in my room where I feel safe, but any location where you feel comfortable may work.
Seeing a therapist has been very useful to remind me that my feelings are valid and what I’m experiencing is totally normal. Not that anyone around me has said otherwise, but I personally find it very difficult to validate my own feelings and constantly feel guilty for feeling sad or anxious when I should be having the time of my life every minute of every day here in America. I think it’s important for anyone experiencing mental health issues to remind themselves that whatever they are feeling is valid, and that sometimes you just need to experience your emotions. While I’m not completely better by any stretch of the imagination, reaching out has been really helpful and has put me on the right direction. I’d encourage anyone who feels they need it to reach out for help (I’ve copied and pasted the links from last time to the bottom of this page).
This week I’ve also been focusing on feeling more a part of the University of Texas at Arlington community. Settling in is something I’ve been struggling with, and I’ve felt constantly on the outside of the Maverick community looking in. However this past weekend was homecoming so I decided to take a look at the distinctly American tradition during which alumni are welcomed back to the school. UTA is not a school renowned for its school spirit, due in part to the fact it has a large community of commuters and also due to the lack of football team to rally around however Homecoming was an exception. Several hundred students gathered around to watch the parade that featured floats (decorated golf carts to you and me) decorated by various students groups, clubs and societies as well as faculty and other institutions on campus. There was then a brief pep rally and a speech by the President during which we prepared for the homecoming game. Usually the homecoming game is football, however at UTA it is basketball. It was my first ever basketball game and I enjoyed it, it’s a lot more fast passed than baseball or American football, and it was made even better when the Mavericks won in a nail-biting finish against Fordham. I even learnt the UTA fight song and hand gesture!
I also attended a talk put on by the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) to commemorate Trans Day of Remembrance during which a transgender student talked about some of the basic terms and facts about the Trans community (that he called trans 101) and his experiences being Trans. Tomorrow night I’ll be attending a meeting with the Muslim student group where there’ll be a talk about Islam and a chance to ask questions, I’m looking forward to learning more about the religion and meeting other people who are interested in learning about different cultures. One of things I’m really learning to appreciate about the UTA is how diverse the campus is and I’m going to try and soak up as much of the broad array of information, talks and cultures available here while I can.
So overall it’s been a positive week, I’m starting to feel more settled here on campus.
MIND – UK based charity that offers support and guidance, including emergency help.
Samaritans – Crisis support.
Master post of numbers and hotlines – A master post of a wide variety of support helplines for people of various backgrounds suffering from various issues including a wide range of international hotlines for issues including abuse, suicide, LGTBQIA+ support and mental health. It’s on tumblr so I’m not responsible for other content of the page!