Hello Anxiety Sisters!
Wow, have I missed writing that! I know a lot of you may be wondering where I’ve been, so that is exactly what I’m going to tell you.
The last blog I wrote was in the summer, before I started college. Once I made it to college, things got a little crazy. Between crippling homesickness, roommate issues, and a vicious depressive episode, I was overwhelmed, to say the least. My anxiety was through the roof. But now, I’m doing so much better—I’m feeling more balanced—and I am in a place where I can share the experience with others who struggle too. I know Anxiety Sisters have lives filled with rough patches—days, weeks, months, or, sometimes, longer. So I guess this blog is about one of my rough patches and how I got through it.
The most important thing I had to do when I was having a hard time was let myself feel it. I’ve never been the type of person to shy away from emotion, but, for the first time, I was feeling a lot of shame. I couldn’t even accept that for a long time, though once I did, things began to turn around. I was able to stop telling myself that there was a time limit on how long I was allowed to cry about how much I missed my family, and, once that pressure was gone, I actually started to feel better. I realized that I was using so much energy trying to force myself to feel better, that I couldn’t actually work through the emotions that I needed to. Abs and Mags always remind us that anxious is human—than no feelings are bad or wrong and that constant happiness is a culturally mandated condition. Real people cry—sometimes a lot. Sometimes for a very long time. When we try to suppress how we are feeling, we end up in much worse shape and feeling ashamed that we can’t seem to pull it together.
Another thing I’ve learned through this last rough patch is that there is no “perfect” path. When I got to school, I thought I had chosen the right school for me—that there was no better place for Megan Lee to go to college. In keeping with that (false) line of thinking, once I realized how miserable I was, the idea that there was nowhere better only made me feel worse. After all, if I couldn’t be happy at my perfect school, where could I feel happy? I fought against the word “transfer” for a long time, feeling shame that I couldn’t seem to make it until I realized that there is no “perfect” or even “right” path. I was stuck in a faulty way of thinking—that I was messing up if I didn’t stay where I was so unhappy. Just reading that sentence shows me how ridiculous that thought was, but, I was pretty committed to it.
Realizing I needed to transfer turned out to be only one battle in the war I was fighting. Next, I had to figure out what came next, which turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. Now that there was no right path, anything became an option. Anything is very overwhelming and scary. I had to think through all different kinds of options, which left me doing a lot of overthinking. After a few more breakdowns (not exaggerating), I had another realization: if there was no “right” path, then I just had to decide which path seemed best and give it a try. The worst thing that could happen would be that I wouldn’t like my choice and have to transfer again. Not the most horrible scenario in the world.
What I learned from all of this was that, even when I felt like I had no control and things were going pretty badly, I managed to get through it. Contrary to what the movies would have you believe, life isn’t about things going right all the time. Actually, life is about how we react when things go wrong, and how we pick ourselves up of the floor and continue to fight.
I’ll write again soon.