So, now that that’s out of the way… let’s get down to business. This post is going to be an overview, not to mention brief and to the point.
It’s been a hot minute. What’s new? Lots of things on my side. I’ve been on break from school since December 17th and start back the 26th (so like a week) which is crazy long. I’m honestly all about it. As much as I love learning and my coursework I needed a break. I kept things pretty under the radar last semester in terms of what was going on inside of my little brain. I’m here to start that discussion today and it’s probably going to take longer than just today.
Last semester did not go as planned. I’m going to do a brief history first off –
jump back to spring 2013: I was in the middle of an outpatient treatment program for my eating disorder, in school, working, not in the gym. I had taken time off from the gym in order to separate my ED from the gym which in hindsight was definitely a good idea and did help a lot. I did well in school even in the midst of having so much time and energy being placed into bettering my mental health but I wasn’t enjoying it all it. At the time I was in community college and driving about 45 minutes to get to school, would have my classes, drive an hour to get to treatment which was four nights a week from 5-8, and then drive another hour home to do homework and keep my grades up. On the nights I didn’t have treatment it was called work or sleep because my body was so utterly exhausted.
Spring 2014: in recovery and doing really well with that. I was back in the gym and absolutely loving it. My anxiety was low to moderate but completely manageable. I wasn’t seeing a therapist nor did I feel like I needed to at this point. Everything in terms of my ED history was managed and I felt good about that. I was in school and doing well with that except for the fact that I couldn’t handle certain things: feeling inadequate, certain noises (breathing loudly, chewing, and typing mainly). There were times I would need to leave class because of these feelings but overall I was very high functioning in a school setting. Work, school, gym, repeat. Still at community college at this point and beginning to think about my transfer process into a four-year university and extremely excited about this.
Spring 2015: I was now a student at a four-year university studying neuroscience and in absolute love with my courses. I started to become interested in research and ended up joining a lab which I worked in that spring semester and through the summer and ultimately needed to leave because I wasn’t full-fledged into the topic which I’m choosing not to disclose here and never felt like I “fit in” to the fellow group. Also, many of the things were pretty triggering for me which I actually haven’t discussed before right here in this post. I was becoming more serious with the gym, with lifting, getting stronger, and ultimately to a fault beginning to place more pressure onto myself. My ED was also managed really well here still, doing what I needed to continue with my recovery process and keep on the path that I knew I deep down wanted and was best for my wellbeing. I noticed that my anxiety however was increasing rapidly, as with self-doubt, mild depression, self-consciousness not around my body though, and an increased sensitivity to certain noises.
Current: I’m still doing well with my ED recovery. I’m still in the gym, although taking it a bit easy for as long as I deem needed while I work through more important things and feeling extremely proud that I’m able to recognize that’s a needed thing to do. But, I’m nervous about school this upcoming semester. Last semester while I did receive the grade I wanted, I had only one course because I found myself needing to drop the others as I didn’t have a plan of action going into the semester. Throughout the semester I was able to work with my university mental health services to get specific accommodations in place to help my educational pursuits continue. My hearing/sound hypersentivity has never been as bad as it is currently and I partially attribute that to the fact that I have been in remission from my ED for close to three years and my brain is “functioning better” (read: I now feel emotions, feeling, and the processing of those isn’t too hot). Typing, clicking, chewing, excessive sniffling, opening mail, silverware on dishes, unloading the dishwasher, the squeak noises certain machines at the gym make, people scuffing their feet, ect. ect. send me into a complete fight or flight response. It’s called misophonia. Google it. Seriously it’s a thing and it’s becoming increasingly heard of but still people have zero idea. My goal here isn’t to teach y’all about this though, that’s just a side tangent. So, hearing is wicked (sorry new-england term) sensitive, anxiety is BAD… like BAD. I will just start crying out of nowhere and for the most unnecessary reasons. I have accommodations in place at school and pretty much just need to meet with professors at the beginning of the semester to get details sorted out which I’m incredibly thankful for but am feeling really pathetic about needing them. Here I am (pity party for .05 seconds here) a neuroscience, pre-med, 3.89 GPA student and I can’t longer be in class because my classmates make me want to scream, throw their laptop, smack them if eating/chewing gum, leave via temper tantrum. Yep. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I feel pretty f***ing (am I aloud to say that on wordpress?!) worthless even though I know I am doing everything in my power to help myself get over this and that it’s nothing I’ve done “wrong”. I’m working with a therapist. I’m moving to campus to try and lessen the stress of commuting. I’ll be in an apartment so I have my own kitchen and share a bathroom with only one person. I’m taking smaller sized and very interesting to me courses with word on the street great prof’s. But I’m apprehensive. I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid I can’t be perfect anymore. I’m afraid that I’ll mess up and will prevent myself my reaching my goal of becoming a doctor all because I’m having a really hard time with my mental health now. Ultimately this is all pretty irrational IF I keep doing the things that will help me get better.
I realize that at thing point it’s up to how I want to take the wheel: either lift myself up and advocate for myself and what I need in order to be successful and ultimately get back to a place of better mental health, or pull myself down by isolating myself and just going through the motions but never really rallying for myself. I think each day is a choice between the two. Perhaps even a couple times a day and I keep telling myself that’s ok. I considered taking the semester off but I know myself well enough to know that while this is probably not going to be cake walk, keeping on keeping on… for me… is better than taking a break. For me, sometimes taking a break is what leads to pulling myself down. I’m not doing that no matter how tempting it is because it feels easier. But, if I’m being honest, it’s not easier.
That’s that for today. I’m not posting this for anyone to be like “omg, I hope you feel better”. Seriously. This is for an honest update to my blog. It’s for awareness of mental health. It’s for the beginning of advocating for me. This one is for me and it is for all of you out there who might also be struggling. Keep going.
“If the grass looks greener on the other side, stop staring, comparing, and complaining, and start watering the grass you’re standing on.” – Eugene Cho