With love from Ireland


Experiencing difficulty can positively impact you, says writer Caoimhe Clements

It was January 2021; the weather was cold and unkind identical to my emotions. I was a university student, in my final year studying Photography with Video. With the pandemic creating a public health scare, the degree teaching of my final year took place completely online. No more in person teaching.

I enjoyed remote teaching it was comfortable, but at times felt distant from my lecturers. It was the first time in my education career experiencing isolated from individuals on my course. The community and support of the university class was fully virtual which had an unpleasant atmosphere.

Stress began to pile up from remote teaching, covid restrictions and my freedom felt stripped from me. I was hit with a wave of emotional exhaustion, which soon led to my body taking seizures. Emotional exhaustion is experiencing high levels of stress making a person physically worn out and drained.

This experience was powered with negatively, and thoughts such as ‘Why can’t I handle my stress better?’ and ‘What did I do to deserve this?’. I soon realised the negative stress was controlling me, impacting my actions and emotions.

In order to build a healthier mindset, I needed a reason to hold myself accountable. Our mindsets are a reflection on how we think, feel and act. This was my motivation. I began to practice gratitude, focusing on reflective questions such as ‘What is a positive in this situation?’ and ‘How can I make the outcome better?’. I traded in scrolling on my phone for books under the category of ‘Personal Development’.

As time progressed, I became deeply interested in self-growth and seeking out new ways to challenge myself. I shared my story of emotional exhaustion and having seizures with people, who were kind and loving. I realised my story was important and the idea of ‘everyone has a story to tell’ became embedded in my brain.

As a result, I made a Podcast launching in January 2022. I selected the name ‘Optimistic Waves’ – optimistic is to feel confident and hopeful about the future. The word waves refers to the act of riding the wave of emotions no matter what we experience. Each episode will feature a guest with an encouraging story to inspire listeners.

Being in a better place meant I will return to education in September 2022 to gain my Master’s Degree in Journalism. Journalism has a further power to tell stories that matter to people. This is the type of journalist I inspire to be.

About The Writer:

Caoimhe Clements is 23-Year-Old Irish Fine Art Photographer, Writer and Aspiring Journalist. She graduated in July 2021, with a BA Hons Degree in Photography with Video and returning to university in September 2022 to gain her MA in Journalism. Caoimhe has an interest in psychology which influences the subjects and topics which she speaks about, including Mental Health, Climate Change and Education.

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