Everyone is facing their own battle
11th grader Bozhidar Klouchek from the “Petar Beron” School of Mathematics in Varna is one of sCOOL Media’s most active journalists. His March article focuses on a problem a lot of people face at school or at work – the lack of self-confidence and the attempt to address it with excessive work or study.
Problems are the reason why people exist today. Despite the radical way this sentence sounds, it does hold some truth. Life often poses as a challenge with the difficulty and absurdity of the problems it throws at us. The way people with different mentalities respond to them varies dramatically and serves as a reflection of their inner self and their way to deal with these “tests”; where some people decide to hide and deny, others try to confront and object. Problems provoke to some extent a person and force them to make a decision regardless if they like it or not, it forces them to pick the way they want to live their life.
Such is the story of the one interviewed in this report. Before the story begins it should be said that even though this person has lived through some of their biggest challenge to tell the tale, their right for privacy should be respected. As per their request and for the purpose of this interview they will remain absolutely anonymous. Any facts revealed in the interview have been released and documented with the person’s knowledge and consent.
What can you tell us about yourself?
“Hello, I’m a high-school student. I am a part of several volunteering organizations and I try to help out as much as I can! As for my personality, you could say I’m the happy-go-lucky kind of person!
Do you think that problems are common nowadays?
Yes, definitely. A person can face one because of all kinds of different reasons but different people have different problems. It all comes down to the way they see the world though, in my opinion.
Do you often try to help others? And if yes how?
I try to be as positive and as happy as I can in groups. Often I try to console people with laughter because I believe that it’s the best way to cheer someone up! Even if I am thought of as silly, it’s worth it if I can make someone’s teary face smile.
If you had to choose a problem you have faced or are currently facing that changed your life, what would it be?
If I had to choose a problem I faced or I am currently facing? I’d say…my confidence. I know it sounds generic and uninteresting but I used to and still do experience difficulties with it.
I probably would have to start with the fact that I often tend to look at myself through the prism of other people’s opinions and thoughts. I try not to, but sometimes it just gets difficult. I am better about it now but way before it served as a crippling thought that always stood at the back of my mind and ensured that I stayed in check. It wasn’t always there, it began several years ago. I got obsessed with making sure everyone was satisfied with me and liked me. At the start it was such a comforting thought – I could always think to myself that I was friends with everyone and that I was liked, but it span out of control.
The first result of it was my academic excellence. To make sure I was seen as a model example by my parents and peers I had to keep my grades up. As I mentioned, at first it was easy: study, get a good grade and pass that test, rinse and repeat. I didn’t notice how eventually it became a vicious cycle of me seeing my grades as a reason to either be happy or sad. As time passed the material got harder and the tests got more difficult so, naturally, I would push even more. I started studying more in the weekends and until later hours so my free time more or less disappeared. I didn’t see it as something bad, if something every hour spent on the book was an hour well spent. The easiest thing to ditch so I had enough time were social outings and, of course, I started rejecting invitations more and more until they eventually stopped coming. Extra reading turned into extra study sessions and late hours turned to restless nights. I started overworking myself to the point where I would go 48 hours without sleep on a regular basis. This unhealthy habit messed not only with my sleep schedule but with my diet. I don’t have any eating disorders now because of it, thank god, but some days would pass without me eating as much as a meal. To you it may sound bizarre and strange but at the time it felt… right. What didn’t help were the results. All of the high grades and the positive feedback I kept getting turned into sick motivation to continue to torture myself. It became a twisted reason to destroy myself just so I was accepted by others.
Soon grades weren’t enough and having good scores wasn’t extraordinary, so I started joining clubs and extracurricular activities. The stress became unbearable, the thought of school and all of my deadlines and projects and plans made me want to vomit. I started getting very disturbing thoughts that I do not feel comfortable sharing but I am glad now that I didn’t listen to them. My mind was just continuously reminding me that I am not good enough and that I should be doing more and more and if I couldn’t then I shouldn’t be alive in the first place. It felt like I was drowning, or more like sinking. Every day I would sink a bit more in the black ooze of self-hatred and self-doubt and I didn’t even realize I couldn’t get back out.
So how did you deal with it?
That’s when my family and I had a major argument. It was and to this day is the most emotionally-scarring experience I have ever faced. It essentially left me in my room in tears in what I can only describe as an emotional breakdown. All these years of working and bottling up my emotions were suddenly let out and I lived through everything one more time. I made a very important decision back then, one that would radically change everything in the hope that I wouldn’t feel so miserable. I decided I would live through everything not because of anyone else, but because of me. I decided that I will become someone that is in control of my fate.
To this day I am extremely grateful that this past version of me didn’t give up and marched on to become the person who I am today. Because of this I try and help anyone who could be in a similar situation, I try to listen to different people’s problems and help them with creating solutions and dealing with their emotions. I wanted to become the person who would have saved me back then and I am glad I did. I am far from perfect, I still fall into the occasional state of mind where I don’t believe in myself or I don’t think I’m worth anything but after that I remember who I am. I remember that it’s okay to feel upset because humans are not perfect and no one should strive to be perfect in the first place. Everyone is constantly fighting their own battles and sometimes people do stupid things because they think they’ve lost but in my opinion everyone deserves to be the person they were meant to be.”
Despite the seriousness of the topic and the sheer terror this person seems to have went through, their answer to the question – “If you could go to the past and change anything, what would you do?” shocked me with their optimism.
“I wouldn’t like to go back. It’s true that what happened was awful and I will never forget it until the day I die but I think that without it, I wouldn’t be me. It’s a strange feeling but I think that because I destroyed myself I could build myself back up again. I faced a great challenge and I continued on, it’s kind of like an achievement! So no, I don’t want to change a thing!”
Their story shows that problems are inevitable and can come in all shapes and sizes, but without them we wouldn’t be able to grow and develop. It underlines the fact that it is critical that we, as humans, accept the fact that having problems is normal. In a sense, being a human doesn’t mean just feeling happy, it also means feeling sad, angry, afraid and everything else we don’t like to feel. What’s important to remember is that you don’t lose if your challenges bring you down, but you win if you get right back up.