ME Stories

It can be overcome

Just a few moments ago I watched a TED talk with Jennifer and was shocked to the core as I`ve been always thinking that I am the problem. First symptoms showed up when I was at high school. Eventually, my academic progress "made an about-face" and my grades got really bad. Everyone was blaming me for being a lazy and spoiled teenager. Before that Id been a promising student, got along well with music, and had many friends. Then, I started experiencing slight pains, both physical and mental, but I didnt know what that was and didn`t pay any attention. Few years later, when I graduated from school,  I ended up having no friends (as they thought I was strange), my poor academic performance shattered my dreams, and I winded up at a public vocational school. Well, it might sound okay. However, I havent mentioned that I live in Ukraine; and those vocational schools, to give you a better notion of what it was like, are similar to the schools in ghetto, where you might expect to see mostly young delinquents. Spending 5 days a week with those teenage good-for-nothings, I started having psychological issues. Adolescents in those schools are like prisoners (maybe not to the very same extent, but still), and they tend to bully those who have the slightest indications of weakness. So, those years were like in hell, and my symptoms had become severe as a result.

       Consequently, I was fortunate enough to enter a university even though my grades were awfully bad. Well, I have to mention that everything in this country is corrupted and rotten; you can be completely academically inappropriate, so to say, but as long as you pay the bill, it is absolutely okay. Ironically, it helped me a lot as I cant even imagine what could have happened if I didnt passed the entering exams. 

At that point, I started figuring out the ways to overcome my symptoms. But they were getting worse, and during my sophomore year, I couldn't leave my apartment. Every time I wanted to do something, I got extremely anxious, the muscles of my upper back became so tense, even stiff, pain in my eyes was terrible. Generally, it was impossible to focus on anything. So, I spent weeks, which turned into months and then into years, slowly decaying.

Then I started doing simple physical exercises and using breathing technics, which singers utilize to recover their voice after severe diseases. Whenever I wanted to have a run, I ended up with acute pains and fatigue. For this reason, I focused on these breathing exercises.

The first step is to take a deep and strong inhale tensing your muscles (e.g. hands or shoulders, actually, everything will do), then you relax your body and let the air come out naturally, without any effort. You may combine it with any stretching exercise.

Consequently, first improvements started appearing. After few months, I was able to leave my apartment and do a short, light run. Further, I started running on an everyday basis. Since then, there had been significant improvements.

I`ve already said too much, so I will end this with conclusion. Yesterday I passed my graduating exam in translation and got A -- the highest score in my group. Now I can see that there`s future. I feel relieved after sharing this story and not alone. Finally, I want to thank Jennifer Brea for driving change. 

Alex

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