I went home this weekend for my mom’s surprise 50th birthday party, and whilst mingling that night, so many people were asking me about my life at school. Was I loving every minute? Did I feel comfortable there? Was my life just one big happy dance?
AND I GOT ALL CONFLICTED. A month ago, I would’ve yammered on enthusiastically about how much I ADORE school, and how amazing the people are and how I felt so lucky to be living my own kind of fairy tale. Then arose a problem: I was having a problem spinning the same kind of story this time around.
The truth is, I DO love school. I love where I am and what I’m doing. I am, however, learning the hard truth that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
- I am learning that school can be difficult, and that not every lecture is mind-bogglingly interesting, so I have to work twice as hard to understand it. I can fall behind easily, and then I resent myself.
- I am learning that even though I am surrounded by people, I can feel really lonely sometimes, and that staying holed up in my room can create a vicious cycle.
- I am learning that I can feel overwhelmed and not even acknowledge it because I convince myself I don’t have the time to deal with my emotions.
Right now, I struggle with identifying who I am and who I want to be. It’s terrifying, losing sight of yourself. Being self-critical and feeling unmotivated seems to be the equivalent of opening a can of worms. Really really overwhelming worms.
The thing to know about me is that I am possibly THE most independent person you will ever meet. I am that “mother hen” type of person that can be counted on to take care of everyone else. So asking for help? That’s reeeeeeeaaaallllyyyy hard for me. And I know that it’s really hard for other people as well. Mental and emotional health is more important than most folks are willing to admit. However, it’s something that I personally believe needs to be discussed. Today, I want to express the importance of having a support system.
I have a stellar relationship with my generous and supportive family. When I left home this weekend, I cried as I was pulling out of the driveway. I couldn’t identify any particular reason why. My father, being the gentle and considerate man he is, decided to turn around and make a big family dinner to buy me some more time. My siblings made fun of me as per usual, and my dear mother never prodded for answers, but let me come up with my own.
I am really lucky to have some of the greatest friends, both here at school and around the world. May all things holy bless the friend who allows me to talk about how I feel, especially when I don’t know how I feel…or when I’m not sure if I feel anything at all. Thank you to the friend who pries me out of my dorm to do something at least once a week. Thank you to the floor-mates who try their best to make me laugh, and if all else fails, will hold me when I need to cry. I have that best-friend-since-kindergarten who calls to make sure I’m holding up alright, and who will take things in stride and count down the days until we can see each other again.
I am surrounded by great networks and resources. I have a couple of profs who consistently ask how I’m doing and genuinely care about the answer I give them. They are often flexible and will go the extra mile to help myself and other students succeed. Glendon Career Counselling and Disability Services is a great resource on campus, with top-notch counsellors and staff. They are friendly, FREE, and totally approachable. I am so thankful that my boss is helpful and patient; that my don is always there should I need her.
What I want to stress is that no matter where you are, you will hit rough patches. Guaranteed. It’s okay to admit that you are not okay. There is nothing pathetic about struggle, there is no shame in asking for help. Trust me when I say you are NOT alone. You will find support wherever you are, but it’s your choice to reach out and take it.
Chin up buttercup!
P.S. You should also check out my friend (and fellow eAmbassador!) Krista’s post about her experiences with mental health. It was after reading her entry that I worked up the courage to write my own.Click here!