School-related stress


Hey Kath,

(is it okay if I call you that?). First off, I wanted to say your writing is some of the most heartfelt, closest to home writing I have ever read. It never fails to reach me where I am, to make me feel a little less alone. So thank you for that. Seriously.

I actually wanted to ask if you have any advice regarding school stress. It’s not usually super hard for me, but I’ve fallen a bit behind, and although it’s relatively easy for me, I tend to become perfectionist and beat myself up if my grades are anything less than that. Sometimes the fear of experiencing that becomes paralyzing, to the point where I can’t even start things because I’m so afraid I’m not capable of doing them well—or at all. I don’t really know how this whole thing works, but you seem to be a thoughtful and kind person and I don’t have many friends who I can talk to. Thanks again for being you.


Alison C



Sweet Alison,

Whoa. Thank you. Thank you for those words - That very reason is why I write, out of the hope that someone finds a hand to hang onto for a little while. I’m so incredibly glad that I get to be that for you in this moment.

I relate to that exact emotion (or something incredibly similar) all too well. The feeling of being out of control of an outcome almost to a point of numbness, immobility. It. Is. Debilitating. Although my experience with this feeling has not particularly been school related, I want you to know - I get it. And you are not alone or crazy in feeling the way you feel, so rest in that.

As far as dealing - Unfortunately, the answers are always much simpler than we wish for them to be. And that painfully annoying simple answer here is that you just have to start. You’ve got to sit yourself down at a desk, on your bed, nestled into a cozy corner of a hectic coffee shop, and breathe. The breathing thing, it’s IMPORTANT. I too often find myself caught amidst a tornado of panic, simply from forgetting to breathe. It sounds monotonous and obvious, but trust me on that one. Second, you have to rewrite the narrative you’re telling yourself in your head. Stop telling yourself that you will fail, that you’ll come up short, that you won’t be enough. Instead, start telling yourself that you will finish the task at hand and that you will do it the very best you can, and even if you fail, it will be okay, because you’ll know that you tried your absolute hardest. And that you breathed.

Sending so much love your way, my girl. You’ve got it.

Yours Truly, 

The Damsel