Name: Amanda

Social Media Handle/Username: danielweirdowth / amandalangberger

Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: My name is Amanda, I go by she/they pronouns and I am 17 years old from Stockholm, Sweden. I live with my mum, dad and two-year-younger sister. I don’t really have any hobbies or do any sports, but I am really into music and art! I am very shy and introverted and has always been super careful when trying something new and unfamiliar ever since I was a kid and I always forced my very brave sister to try things before I did so that I knew it was safe.

What Inspires You Every day? : I struggle alot with mental health issues such as depression, social anxiety and panic disorder and i’ve always wholeheartedly hated school so every day is a challange really, but some days are better than others! I look up to alot of musicians and they really inspire me in everything i do. I always start my morning by asking myself what I want today to be like, and depending on what that is I put on a song in my headphones on repeat and I think I decide that’s what I want my day to be like – like the song.

What is some words of wisdom you live by?: A wise man with a mullet once said: “You were born to be an astronaut and you’ll do that or die trying, what a way to live and die”.

It was the summer of 2020 and I was at this point of my life where I was completely lost and didn’t know who were or who I wanted to be and I was stressing about it since I was about to start in a new school which made me even more anxious. Meeting new friends and always having to feel the pressure of presenting yourself as not what you are but what you think they would want you to be gets really frustrating after a couple of years, and I was sick of it. 3 weeks before first day of school and I found this song that I truly belive helped me find out who I really am, but also made me comfortable with the idea that I should start acually being myself too. It’s not that I want to be an astronaut, that is probably the last thing I want since my agoraphobia won’t even let me look at the moon without triggering my fight or flight. I don’t really have any big dreams about how I want my future to look like, but I know for a fact that when I do, these words will help and inspire me to fight for that.

What is your ultimate goal in life? : I want to live. I don’t know what I have been doing these 17 years of my life, but I know that living isn’t one of them.

I want to sit on a bus without worrying about getting a panic attack. I want to be able to hold a speech infront of my class about something I am really passionate about without laying sleepless for 2 weeks and having to take atarax just to go on with my day without being nervous and filled with anxiety. I want to go to a show, a concert in a stadium and not cancel it that same day because of the thought of all those people being there, even though I really want to go and have been waiting for years, in some cases! I want to sleep over at my best friend’s. I want to go for a roller coaster ride. I want to take the elevator.

How have you been during the pandemic and how has it affected you? : The pandemic has affected me in both bad and good ways to be honest. In Sweden we never really had a lockdown, but when I started in my new school we started to have every other week online lessons. Both my parents worked from home (they still do) and being home alot with them has really brought us closer. I also feel less exhausted at the end of every school day which have made me realize that it isn’t school itself that makes me tired, it is the whole social aspect of it all. I am happier, more alert and the weeks I am in school and acually meet with my friends doesn’t get as boring after a couple of days hanging out everyday!

And then we have the bad parts…
Before the pandemic I had come very far on my way of fighting my social anxiety. I could take the bus by myself and acually feel pretty calm, I could go to these outside-concerts with my friends and enjoy our favorite music live, but because I haven’t done that in more than a year now I feel like it’s scary again. It takes 5 minutes for me to take the bus to school which I now can’t do, but before I could go wherever as long as I had my headphones with me. I could take the bus, the train, the subway by myself and was pretty fine with it – at least it was POSSIBLE for me. Now all of a sudden I feel like it’s not anymore.

What is a message you would like to give others? : Just be nice. I think we, as a species, have to start to believe in karma for everyone to feel good about themselves and who they are. Take every chance you give a compliment. It can be that you like someone’s shoes, or that you like their handwriting, their eyes, the way they speak, that they are funny, sweet, caring – whatever! It will not only make them happy, it will make you happy too!

Also, ; remind people that you love them. Even if you’re not really sure if you mean. You will realize you did once they’re gone. And once they are gone they will never know you did, and you will always regret not telling them. Rather say it once too much than not at all. If you can’t do it face-to-face – write a letter! Everybody loves getting a letter 🙂

What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: I pretended to be sick every week for 2 years. As I said; I wholeheartedly hate school, and so I told my mum I had a headache or that I felt ill every Sunday evening so that I had a chance of skipping school on Monday. I started doing this when I started 4th grade I think, so I was about 10 years old. All I wanted was for the week to just get a bit shorter. I didn’t understand anything in school it felt like. I hated math the most and I remember how I would cry at every lesson because even when the teacher explained everything I asked about it still didn’t make sense to me. Instead of asking again and again and again I said “yes, i get it, thank you” and then just did what my friend was doing without knowing why I was doing it. I felt like an idiot, a stupid idiot and I can only blame myself for that. This made me pretend to be sick alot. After a couple of times doing this my mum obviously said that we had to go to the doctors but I wasn’t really sick and booking a doctors appointment just to expose my lie didn’t really help my situation. When I refused going mum said I could take a paracetamol pill, which didn’t help my situation either but I took it and then told her I still felt sick. Doing this every week made my mum really frustrated with me and one day she told me to go to school to try and see if the headache went away, and that I should bring a package of paracetamol in my backpack.

When I graduated 6th grade, with very good grades, and started my 7th year I went to a new school. I had some of my old friends with me so I was pretty fine. We had these health meetings with the school nurse and she noticed I started breaking into tears when I got asked how I was doing. I told her “I’m fine really” at 13 years old, tears running down my face and she saw that I obviously wasn’t. Fast forward I went to a psychologist for two years and we found out that I’m depressed and most likely have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity (ADHD)).

I realized this only a couple of weeks ago and it made me really sad. Especially since I still have a package of paracetamol everywhere I go. The difference is that now I have it because I actually get headaches and get lightheaded when I’m anxious, which I am most of the time. If I never did this and instead talked to someone about my struggles in school I think I wouldn’t have have this bad mental health as I do today. It’s weird when you realize the reason you have a problem is also the only cure to fix it. Also; don’t lie to your mum like I did, she will have trust issues to you when you really are sick!

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