My studies helped me beat anxiety

aat comment

I chose an accountancy course due to my love of numbers.

I love the simplicity of an answer being either right or wrong. There are set methods and ways to solve problems. For me, numbers are safe. Words, not so much. I have really struggled with anxiety, which has prevented me from choosing certain paths. I was terrified of being noticed and felt deeply uncomfortable sharing my ideas or opinions. It was better to stay quiet than let myself become vulnerable, or risk upsetting anyone.

I threw so many opportunities away when my anxiety was at its worst, leaving school halfway through my A Levels. I had a difficult few years when I found myself in situations I couldn’t handle. Eventually, I ended up in hospital. When I got out, I decided that I needed a fresh start and began a journal to track my experiences. At the same time, I began my AAT qualification, and instantly fell in love with the routine of studying. I was finally facing a ‘normal’ challenge. Despite taking a distance learning course, Home Learning College treated me as an individual and I never felt isolated; I enjoyed taking part in conversations on forums with my peers.

I shared a common interest with them; I could chat and know that I was not being judged. I was learning how to just be me, to take control in healthy doses and to handle situations I’d always found difficult. My studies became a reassuring constant in my life, the one thing I could take full control of. I began to share my journal experiences, and found myself reflecting on the positives and negatives of each one.

Determination to succeed

Sometimes things happen that we can’t explain. I thought my AAT studies would involve a safe world of numbers and calculations, but, in fact, it has opened up a whole new world for me. I’ve been named a brand ambassador for Home Learning College, and been on a photo shoot. This year, I was also shortlisted for the AAT Distance Learner of the Year award. When I was younger, I was scared of the possibilities that words, both written and spoken, could open up. I was terrified of the idea that something I said or wrote could be taken in the wrong way by somebody, and that I would get hurt. Now my attitude has changed.

The encouragement of others has pulled me out of isolation, and given me strength and encouragement. I want to use the qualification to go to university. After that, I want to work as an accountant. The AAT qualification has gradually built up my confidence and enabled me to settle back into society. It has given me renewed determination to succeed. A lot of things that frightened me last year don’t seem so bad anymore. The prospect of a new life and career has worked wonders for my health. I hope my blog will give hope to others with similar difficulties. It is your responsibility to put yourself out there, but you should also accept ‘leg-ups’ from others. The climb is hard, but the view is well worth the effort.

Amy studied with Home Learning College.

If you’ve experienced feelings similar to those described in the article, visit Mind or call 0300 123 3393 for free advice and support.

Mark Rowland is a journalist and former editor of Accounting Technician and 20 magazine.

Related articles