So, I've been seeing a counsellor at UWA. UWA's Student Services offers free counselling, which is great, but since I go home for the holidays, I'm not going to have access to that when I'll likely need it most. But I had been doing great for the past few weeks and Sue, my counsellor, has been teaching me techniques to avoid or deal with panic attacks and anxiety, so we were pretty hopeful about my ability to cope over the next few months. Yesterday was my last session for the year.
And earlier tonight I got an e-mail that nearly sent me into a stress- and anxiety-induced panic attack, which I've been doing my best to stave off. That's mostly related to uni and grades and assignments, so right now I'm trying not to think about it.
Plus, several of my friends are dealing with depression or just generally very shitty situations, so I usually spend most of the day talking to them or just being a comforting, sympathetic listening ear. Though I'm planning to send eidolon_bird
a small package in the mail soon that should hopefully brighten up her day, so keep an eye on your mailbox, Bird! <3
And then I was on Facebook, happily looking forward to responding to comments and then reading fanfic. I have quite a few of my teachers on FB, and one of my primary school teachers had posted an old photo she'd found of one of her classes on an outing. I didn't think it was my class at first, since at a first, casual glance I hadn't seen myself in it and didn't recognise anyone else, so I Liked it and moved on. Anyway, it just popped up on my Newsfeed again and I saw the names of several of my old classmates in the comments. It was
my Primary Three class! 3AA, 2001. It had been taken on our outing to Jurong Bird Park, and everyone was excitedly tagging themselves and each other and catching up in the comments. (Also, the first comment, presumably after I'd Liked it, was addressed to me, from my teacher, asking if that had been my class.)
So I looked closely at the photo and did recognise many of my classmates, but there was still no sign of me, even though I remembered being present at the outing. It was a very casual, informal group photo, and there is the barest sign of a girl right at the back and in a corner, behind someone else, and I suspect that may have been me. (Assuming I wasn't crying in the toilets or just behind a tree somewhere at being either left out or bullied, that is. <__< )
I started to type a comment, "Haha, yes, Mrs Chua, I was in this class. :) Unfortunately I think that's me at the corner in the back, hidden behind someone else," and then I hesitated. Because many of the earlier comments were from my classmates, the same people who ostracised and bullied and mocked me and started making school hell for me when I was nine. There was always the chance that they had matured and wouldn't respond to my comment with derision, but back in 2009, one of my classmates from Primary Five (2003, different class, with different classmates) had posted a class photo and tagged all of us, and eventually I had joined in the comment thread, and then many of the guys started the old mocking and deriding. I'd completely forgotten about that, but this had reminded me. I was afraid to reply to my teacher (whom I was fond of) for fear of my old classmates' reaction and the real chance that most of them hadn't grown up.
I mean, it's not the gripping fear from back when I was actually being bullied or anything, just an awareness that, hey, there is a very strong chance that this will happen, and then it will make you feel shitty. Don't do it. Don't expose yourself to them.
And on top of the vague fear and sadness, there's also frustration at myself because I had thought that I'd gotten over all the bullying and was coping a lot better with not letting fear of people's reactions control me. Apparently not. Or maybe it's just a bad night. In any case, it's also logical self-preservation, I hope?
Anyway. Cider, Tim Tams, and fanfiction! I can deal with problems tomorrow.