I am currently a Master’s student studying Fashion Business and Management
Dear Younger Lara,
It’s future Lara here to let you know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and anxious most of the time, as long as you remember to look after yourself. I know that all the information you’ve read about mental health doesn’t seem like it will ever apply to you but trust me, one day it will fall into place and you will realise that those hysterical cries you’ve been having 3-4 times a week? Yeah that’s because you’re stressed out and overworking yourself. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you figure out how to manage those anxious feelings and offer the advice that no one else has offered you so far.
“Firstly, don’t freak out that you probably have anxiety of some description – its normal.”
Everyone gets nervous and anxious about a whole host of different things so don’t feel isolated because you are feeling this way too. The reason that you get so worked up and feel like you can’t breathe is because you are putting FAR too much pressure on yourself. I know that GCSE’s and A Level’s are the most stressful years of your life so far and all the teachers have told you that you must study hard otherwise you’ll have no future, but
honestly it really isn’t that big of a deal. You will achieve amazing things even if you don’t get straight A’s in all of your subjects, so please try to not stress out all of the time.
I really recommend you learning how to relax more. Try to take longer breaks in between studying to relax and spend time with your family. They won’t be around forever and honestly you need to make the most of the time you have with them whilst you still can. Learn to not feel guilty when you spend the whole weekend making memories – these will be the things you look back on and remember, not all those countless hours in your
bedroom studying until the early hours of the morning. Go to those parties, watch your favourite film over and over, and don’t let other people’s opinions get to your head. Just because you’re relaxing when your friends are all studying doesn’t mean you have done less work than them. Sometimes your timetables won’t match up but whatever work you do manage to do will still be amazing and you should be so proud of yourself.
You have managed to get through some of the toughest years of your life whilst unknowingly battling anxiety and that is such an incredible achievement. I couldn’t be more proud of you right now and trust me, life only gets better for you. Don’t give up. There is so much to live for and even when it all seems too much, I promise it is worth it to keep going. As long as you keep your head up and ask for the help you need, everything will be alright. It’s not shameful to admit you need help or that you need to take a break. Listen to your body and look after yourself both physically and mentally. You only get one life so live it however you choose but don’t let your anxious thoughts take over all of the time.
I promise that life will get better and you’ll go on to achieve great things. Sending you lots of love from the future and big hugs (trust me you’ll learn to love hugs eventually).