I’ve decided to write whenever I feel particularly compelled to do so and have something to share, regardless of what it is- good, bad, or ugly. Part of what I feel this world so significantly lacks is the ability to be candid about ourselves. While it’s easy to constantly post the good things that happen to us, the accomplishments, milestones, and good memories, ultimately creating a polished “highlight-reel” of our lives, this sugar-coated mirage that we live essentially struggle-free lives isn’t real. By no means do I consider myself to be a writer, but whatever I am on here and in real life, I hope that I can be as real and authentic to myself as possible, and I acknowledge that I have also been guilty of only sharing my “highlight-reel” moments. That being said, what I’m writing today is a (hopefully) small reflection on how I have personally been these past few weeks (months?), and how I hope to improve and be better.
_________________________________________________ A brief pause to reflect: Life is far too short to live inauthentically- there are 7 billion (!!) of us all living the human experience through a different lens. It honestly baffles me that everything we perceive, everything that inspires us, and everything we create can be seen and interpreted uniquely by each person depending on their own human experience and perception. _______________________________________________
Honestly, I have been far from great. Lately, getting up has been a struggle for me- I’ll sleep well into the day until 11 am or so, lay in my bed and contemplate what a waste of a day it already is, and start my “day” around noon by making food. I’ll eat while watching a show, either Friends or a quick Youtube video, only to fall further down the internet rabbit hole while continuing to neglect my work and responsibilities, which only become more pressing by the day. Around 4 pm or so, I’ll feel tired again and resort to taking a ~2 hour nap, waking up feeling like utter garbage. When I wake up, my stomach will growl at me, and I’ll respond by eating half a bag of hot cheetos. No water. I’ll then proceed to blankly stare at the growing list of things to catch up on, and before I know it, it’s 9 pm. Begrudgingly, I manage to get out of bed and make some semblance of a dinner. I’ll do a little work, tell myself “I’ll be better tomorrow,” and watch TV until I fall asleep around 2 am, only to repeat this the next day.
Clearly, my mental health is not good for lack of a better term. Maybe this is a common feeling, but the conglomeration of existential pandemic dread combined with what seems to be a remarkably stressful year in non-pandemic-related world events mixed with a pinch of stress over classes and a dash of upcoming MCAT and application dread, (not to mention the extreme lack of something to look forward to) is simply too much. Normally, I can shut out stress, but stress that is largely evoked by factors and events out of most normal people’s control is new to me, and I am actively noticing that I am shutting down in the face of this new breed of stress.
Moreover, this feeling of being helpless in the face of stress is once again uprooting habits that I thought I had left in the past. Somewhere late in 2019 I had a life-changing realization of how much I regretted not doing because I wasn’t living life according to my own terms, and thought that I would never look back. While that realization came into fruition after a self-imposed year-long timeout after the sobering realization that I had become a version of myself that I was not proud of, this new year (or realistically longer) long timeout has been horrible for me. I acknowledge that so many people have cultivated versions of themselves that they are happy with and proud of, but for me personally, I have catapulted into another wave of depression. At the end of last year and the very beginning of this year, I had finally become someone I was proud of, and trusted myself to wake up, take on the day, and make good decisions; however, the nature of the pandemic and greater world have made me realize just how fragile those things are. As a result, I grew impatient, angry, and sad that the world could suddenly decide to change so drastically when I had just emerged, ready to take it on.
Caring for your mental health while still getting things done is difficult and something that I have still not at all figured out. Going forward, I really do hope that I can stand up again and be on my way to once again cultivating the life I want. If you’ve managed to make it this far, thank you for reading. I really, really hope that you can’t relate to this one, but if you do, I want you to know that the human experience- despite how nuanced and varied it may appear- is generally similar. Despite the intricate and small differences in or day to day lives, experiences with mental health, and overall associations and interactions with the world, we all experience feelings of inadequacy, self doubt, and have bad days. Being better isn’t about being perfect, but is about being forgiving to ourselves, allowing us to have the time and space to heal, and celebrating the wins, no matter how small. With all of that being said, I think I’ll end with this: Tomorrow will bring better.