The Life and Times of a Serial Fainter

Lots of people experience anxiety or nervousness in their lives. It manifests in many different ways, some being more severe than others, but it’s never a nice feeling. Unfortunately, mine is something that’s very difficult to hide.

First of all, I want to discuss how fainting is portrayed in television, films and fiction. Suddenly, she fainted. A character sees blood, and all of a sudden collapses. There is no ‘sudden’ about it. This may be different for others, but in my (very informed) experience, the fainting process takes a good while to actually occur. First comes the nausea and sweat, which lasts for at least three minutes, depending on your situation. If you’re in a very stressful environment, it could take less time. Then comes the inability to steady your breathing. Then the eyes start to go, with black dots slowly closing in from either side, until you feel so sick, hot and dizzy that you lose consciousness. I normally come round after a couple of minutes. Even after waking up, you can’t move your arms and legs straight away because the blood has gone somewhere else. So all in all, the process is quite long and uncomfortable.

Having fainted so many times and in so many places (bathrooms, open days, work experience, you name it), it’s difficult not to be scared of it. You know what the recommendation from the doctor is? Don’t get yourself into stressful situations. How am I supposed to get along in life without doing just that? I can’t stay at home every day doing nothing. I have to do exams, go on trains, go to interviews, and meet new people. What’s the point otherwise? I mean, I take as many precautions as I can. Always have a bottle of water and food with me, glucose tablets, trying not to get too stressed. There has only been one time where I’ve actually managed to avoid fainting after getting to the black dots stage, and that was actually in an exam. I don’t know if it was because I was sitting down, my breathing or just sheer determination, but somehow I got through it. And, despite having my head in my hands and the amount of sweat I was producing, my friend sitting next to me didn’t even notice. I call that one of my greatest achievements.

Other times I wasn’t so lucky. The first time I fainted, I managed to hit my head on a sink on the way down, a bruise which didn’t go away easily I can tell you. The worst time was probably on work experience when I was 15. It was my first day, and the shop was absolutely boiling. I was already incredibly nervous of this new place, so this wasn’t a good situation. I was talking to an old woman, explaining about a product, when I swayed into her, before falling backwards and collapsing. I woke up to people crowding around me. I didn’t go back for a couple of days. Even though the process and the build up are completely horrendous, the embarrassment just tops it off. Fainting in my home, that’s fine. Fainting in public is not. Knowing that I could faint in public makes it worse because I know it will be embarrassing. And you always get those people who think they know what’s wrong with you. “You must be anemic,” I hear a lot. Guys, I’m not anemic. I’ve just been dealt this card by the hand of life. And I have to deal with it. And I’m not going to let it stop me from fulfilling my potential. There are other people who have far worse problems than me, so I choose to laugh at my previous fainting episodes. Hey, do you remember when I fell into that old woman at work experience, that was soooo embarrassing! Well, maybe not exactly like that, but I can still look at it positively.




The Future…

So, I did it. I’m writing another post. (Yay for me!) This blogging thing is going well, so far, so good. Leading on from my previous post, I wanted to talk more in depth about what I’m doing right now and what I want to be doing in the future.

Leaving university will be, I’m sure, horrendously scary. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have that moment of ‘wait, everything isn’t just handed to me on a plate?’, before sinking deeper into ‘I have to actually work for a living?’, and finally finishing with the revelation that all those hours of watching Downton Abbey re-runs didn’t in fact help my degree… but I’m pretty sure everyone goes through that. Right? Despite this impending doom being over a year and a half away, I’m feeling it now. I’m surrounded by people who either seem to completely have their lives together, or have absolutely no idea how to even live alone. It’s a terrifying time, and frankly, one which I would hate to miss. This feeling of unknowing is the one thing spurring me on to do something about my future.

From my previous post, you might be able to guess that I’m pretty fickle. Ever since I can remember I’ve changed my mind constantly about what I want to do with my life. I went through the usual child ideas, zoo keeper, gladiator (yes, those ones that used to be on TV), actor. I was always writing stories as a child, but then what child didn’t? I went through a phase of wanting to be a Film Critic, and let me tell you, that swiftly ended after taking a Film Criticism module at university. I then wanted to be a Script Writer (still possible, but who knows), and currently I’m in the phase of wanting to work in Publishing. I’ve always been good at grammar and spelling, so why not put it to use? So anyway, whilst currently working towards that dream, I’ve been applying for publishing work experience. Who knows if I’ll still want to pursue this in a year, but what harm can the experience do?

This is what I’m trying to say. Being a student studying a particular course, does not automatically put you in the box of that job area. I mean, if you’re studying something like Law, it’s pretty likely you’ll be a lawyer, but all those students out there doing courses they kinda enjoy but they’re still not sure if they want to do that? There are so many options out there. Brian May has a degree is Astrophysics for gods sake. Right now, your ideal future picture may look a lot different to what you think will actually happen, but I’m saying don’t restrict yourself. Apply for everything, experience everything, and do everything. I mean, not everything, I’m not endorsing illegal activities, and maybe you don’t really need to go on that trek across the Himalayas just to decide what job you want, but what the hell do I know?

What is this all about then?

I’ve never been good at sticking to something. I flake out when things get too hard or I freak out. The amount of hobbies that I’ve begun and haven’t finished is frankly ridiculous.. photography? Check. Learning the guitar? Check. Crafting? Check. YouTube? Double check. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve stopped playing a game or reading a book halfway through is kinda ridiculous. I’m the queen of non-committal acts, of changing my mind at the last minute. Now I used to see this as a problem – I mean, don’t even get me started on relationships – but recently I’ve been seeing it more as.. a way of saying that I’ve tried many different things. I have multiple passions, not all of them active, but multiple being the key word. The reason I’m depicting this in such a ridiculous manner is that I’ve decided I want to stick with something. And I chose blogging. I tried it once before, (see future post about that film blog) but now, I think it’s the right time.

My name is Lauren. I’m 5″3, 20 years old, and am currently studying Creative Writing at University. I was originally going to be studying English and Film… until I realised (last minute of course), that I hated English. No offence to those who study it, but I’m rubbish at it. I realised two days before results day that I wanted to be writing my own words instead of studying others. Swiftly, I dropped out of the universities I had applied for in order to enter freely into clearing to chase my new agenda. If you didn’t believe I was fickle before, then there’s your proof.  Yes, I got the grades I had expected and would have been able to go to the higher ranking University that I had originally applied for, but I realised that I wouldn’t have been happy. Something which I rank above everything else is happiness. Mainly because if I’m not happy, then I’m not working to my full potential. So here I am, currently in my second year doing a subject that I enjoy, attending lectures that I enjoy and looking forward to more of the same.

But I have realised that it isn’t enough. And that is the main reason for this blog. Not for any course that I’m doing (although it does require I submit articles to online blogs, more of that later) but for the life that I’m currently living. This year, I’ve experienced anxiety, stress, self doubt and a feeling of complete lack of control… and it’s only just turned November! I want to blog about the things that I’m feeling in the hope that I find someone else who is experiencing the same, or someone who is looking to go to university and is unsure what to expect. But mainly? I just need an outlet for me. A standard-but-probably-not-really-standard student with a proclivity for candles and going to bed early. And hey, you never know. Maybe I really will stick with it this time.