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I moved to the United Kingdom four years ago for study purposes. A year ago I fully came to the realization that I did not arrive by myself. Without previously noticing, I also took anxiety and depression with me as baggage. After one year, I still do not know when the feelings of unavoidable worry started or why I feel sometimes so low that crying seems like the best way to spend my days. However, what I know is that I push myself gently every day to wake up in the morning, to get up from the bed and to smile at people. What makes my situation much easier is a part-time job of R]retail assistant. Not only because I look forward to starting my shift every time, but also because it worked for me better than any therapy.
I have recently moved from a small place in Scotland, where I finished my undergraduate degree, to the enormously huge city of London to start masters’ classes. I immediately began a job hunt, thus bringing my anxiety to a whole new level with all these adverts: “looking for an individual with a bright personality, confidence, and interpersonal skills." Do I have these skills? Am I of bright personality? Well, that depends on my days and on who I am meeting with. Am I confident? Unfortunately, I have ever been everything but confident. All these worrisome questions and subsequent answers swirled in my head and I had no idea how to stop them in any other way than getting up, putting on my most comfortable clothes, imagining that I am talking to my closest friends, and going for an interview.
For that one, magical moment, it worked. I was a bubbly individual that could neither stop talking nor laughing. I filled up the whole room without feeling anxiety climbing up my back. "She" was not there. Instead, I was introduced to this "new Katka" and revealed another side of me I no longer remembered; the side where I do not take deep breaths or play with my hands to calm myself down. Moreover, I got the job.
Now, I am working as a retail assistant and getting to know this "new Katka" every time I work. She is confident and easy going. She likes to talk and meet new people. This "other Katka" puts herself out there every single time, and she welcomes new challenges with open arms. In that moment, I am someone who I have always wanted to be—worry-less, happy, full of energy. I am that way because I am too busy to hide in my head. I have no time for that with all the work of folding T-shirts and assisting customers. I have no time to analyze what went wrong or what should go better. As a retail assistant, I have no single minute to beat myself up, to be harsh on myself. As a retail assistant, I strictly need to live NOW and not focus on past or future. As a retail assistant, I need to live in present and as such, this job saves me every day and helps me get up every morning I wish to cover my head with blankets. It helps me because I know I will meet this ‘other me at ease’ again.
To conclude, what I want from you is to reach in your memory, remember the moment or activity that makes you feel good and hold to it. I want you to rediscover yourself as I do myself every day, because if you find this new side of yourself, you might feel, at least for a moment, carefree and truly happy, and you may remember as well that life is worth living.