Recently, I’ve been having a hard time. And I’ve been embarrassed to say that I’ve been having a hard time. Or maybe, instead, I’ve felt ashamed or sad or afraid of what people will think- that I’m chronic, that I’m seeking attention, that I’m never going to get better, that I’m hopeless. Or maybe, even beyond that, I’ve been afraid that the more I say I’ve been having a hard time, the more that feels real and the more all of the things I feel other people might think, I, myself, might start to believe. Regardless, recently, I’ve been having a hard time.
Though I haven’t necessarily shouted it from the tops of mountains, I have been working every day with my team to have an easier time, to make things work. In doing so, I’ve been focusing a lot on the things that are going right, while others seem to fall apart, in the hopes of motivating myself and moving towards all of the things I still have that I could lose. I’ve been carefully holding onto all of the things I’ve been gaining as a result of being in life.
One of my biggest motivators has been my passion. For the first time in my life, I know what makes me happy and am allowing myself to pursue that. Upon my return this semester, I made the challenging decision to shift paths. For a long time, I thought I was going to be a doctor, and perhaps one day I will, but right now I have given up that dream with the realization that the road which brought me there wasn’t fulfilling me. Instead, I decided to pick up classes for no other reason than because they interest me. I am taking classes in journalism, poetry, and psychology as electives.
Now, to some that might seem like exactly what a person’s supposed to do in college- after all, everyone has heard that school is a place to explore, to develop oneself, and to find what they love. However, to me the thought of taking classes that didn’t have a purpose, that didn’t satisfy a requirement or look good on a resumé, seemed ludicrous. It was a leap of faith. Yet, every day I look forward to learning. Today and two days last week, I encountered snow days, and, for the first time, I was so sad to be missing out on a discussion that could have fascinated me or a tip I might not otherwise have learned.
In pursuing my passions, I also gave myself the chance to fill out an application for a position I already assumed I wasn’t going to get. I am now a news staff writer for The Heights, Boston College’s newspaper, where I have begun conducting interviews, attending events, and branching out into a world I feel like I fit into. I feel purpose and belonging and, well, just right.
So, it’s funny- actually, no, not funny, but strange and ludicrous and sometimes infuriating- to me that at a time where all of the holes I felt my eating disorder filled in the past are being sewn closed and satisfied properly with nourishing pieces of my life, I am also having a hard time. I feel like everything’s going right. I have a family that will do anything for me. I have friends that will do similarly. I got to spend an incredible weekend showing my people from school my people from home (see below). The world seems to be handing me a million opportunities that I’m actually interested in. And, yet, I still struggle to hold myself together.
Then, today, I watched this Ted Talk in preparation for an article I will be writing on Kevin Breel, who is coming to speak at BC. I watched the video and I remembered that I also have a mental illness, and sometimes that’s how it is. I in now way condone struggling “just because”, and I don’t mean to say that’s what I’m doing either. I’m working hard every day with a team. I’m checking in, I’m using skills, I’m picking myself up, and I’m trying. But, I can be watching a video that falls into my lap and think to myself, “Wow, the things I have to do for my work are exactly what I do in my life,” and feel incredible and also feel miserable. I suffer from depression. I battle with anxiety. I am in recovery from an eating disorder. And some days, that will feel bigger than everything that’s going right. It doesn’t mean that can’t be true or needs to be hidden, and it also doesn’t mean that it will always feel or be true.