I spoke to D a little while back about this blog. I told her that I wasn’t sure of my intentions with it. Am I writing for myself? Am I writing for others? Am I sharing my life for others? Am I wanting to give tips around mental health? What is it?! We came to the conclusion that my goal is to simply share insight. To talk a little bit about my sometimes hectic life, but mostly to write what I think about it and learn from it, in hopes that I’ll prompt thoughts in others, as well as myself.
I distinctly remember an acquaintance of mine reaching out via Instagram, mentioning that by reading my thoughts on IG, she thought critically about her own life as well. I remember how honored and fulfilled I felt, and even over a year later, I still think about what she wrote me.
And with that, I’ll start a new chapter of my blog. No more life summaries (well, maybe just a few here and there), they’re really not that interesting to read, nor very cathartic to write. Also, I’m hoping to also build more structure to this blog. A weekly thing, perhaps. Or a theme of the month. We shall see.
It’s been a rough few weeks. Midterms season is here, coupled with dreary October rain, and it has been hitting me hard. I was somewhat expecting it, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for it. Over the past few weeks, I’ve woken up with horrible anxiety more times I can count. Half of those mornings have resulted in tears before 7am. A quarter of those mornings have ended up with me lying in bed for the majority of the day.
But university is supposed to be stressful, right? It’s supposed to push you to your utmost limits, right? It’s easy to think this as I’m sitting on the 44 on the way to my 8am class. The man next to me has finished his large, large mug of coffee in less than 10 minutes, every single person across from me is asleep, and the rest of my fellow stressed students are dazedly looking out the foggy windows with bleary eyes.
It’s easy to think this as I sit in a half-empty lecture hall because there’s an O-Chem midterm the next day. My professor laughs it off and comments that he gets paid the same amount no matter how many students attend his class. The students that are present in class, are frantically scrolling through slides of functional groups and pkas.
University isn’t always fun. Learning can be fun! But coupled with exams, endless assignments, projects, quizzes, and the expectation that everyone should be doing 1230812 extracurricular activities, can overwhelm even the strongest students. But yet, everyone trudges through and accepts this as fact, and does it all anyways. We discard our health (physical and mental), relationships, social life, and everything besides the almighty transcript and resume.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being involved. I too, see the value in pushing past my comfort zone. Stretching beyond my limits (within reason). The question is how to remain happy, healthy, and balanced while doing so? I consistently reflect and question the structure of my life, when it clearly isn’t working for me.
I’m definitely not an expert at this… I’m learning what works for me, my mind, and my body, with respect to my situation and environment. By situation, I mean the fact that I’m enrolled in 5 courses with 12-16 hours of a work a week, and roughly 7 hours of extracurriculars. By environment, I mean that I need to navigate my situation in Vancouver’s horrible weather, which is definitely causing some S.A.D.
Exercise helps, as well as having a consistent sleep schedule. So does planning out my days. But what really brings me the most peace and calm, is journaling. Writing. Spilling my thoughts onto a page (or webpage). Reminding myself of what I’m grateful for. Working through my thoughts of frustration and anxiety. Questioning why I live the way I do. Coming to new realizations that fuel my discipline and motivation.
There are days when I feel extremely discouraged. Like I’m back to exactly where I was last year, before I entered the hospital for the second time. On those days, it’s easy (but really shameful and embarrassing, so really, not so easy) to stay in bed. The world outside of my apartment is scary and intimidating, the people are cold and uncompassionate. But, on those days, I relish in the fact that I have a boyfriend who loves me, and is my biggest cheerleader. I message my friends, telling them that I won’t be able to make it to our meetups, but my heart is so full knowing that they care. I delete my social media apps, knowing that if I don’t, I’ll spend hours on my phone in bed. And I pick myself up and out of bed. It’s hard, but some punk rock music makes it easier. I breathe deeply, in and out.
Remembering that although it is a bad day, it is not a bad life.