Things Are Not Going How I Planned

Wow guys. College is hard. It hit me like a brick. After 12 years of sleep-away camp and 18 years of pretty good, easy to achieve, grades, I never expected college to be the way that it is! My mental health became a struggle again for the first time in years. My grades are average, just average. And I work hard to get those average grades.

My expectations for college life were, in all honesty, unrealistic. It was sort of selfish of me to expect college to be this breeze of a ride. It was kind of stupid for me to assume that everything would be fine at college when, in reality, for the first time in my whole life, I don’t know what’s going to happen next. College is a world of unexpected adventures, and no, not all of those adventures are one’s I enjoy enduring. Some of them are great, fun, and exciting. Others are depressing, anger inducing, and unhappy. Right now, it feels like none of these adventures are good… I know that isn’t true, but that’s just how it feels right now… and it’s likely because my mental health is not where it should be, and that’s so beyond frustrating to me.

After years and years of hard work to get to the place of solid mental health that I had finally achieved, the second I got to college, I felt like I started slipping away. There are some personal things that are factors in my mental health going south, but it’s still really frustrating to watch myself struggle and still have such a hard time controlling my thoughts, and how I’m feeling. I’ve reached out to my psychologist and leaned on friends for support, but I will admit, some days I just can’t do it.

I know that everyone has times that they feel this way, and everyone needs a day off once in a while, but for some reason, I feel like I need a day off almost every other day, and that’s ridiculous. Yes, this indicates that I need help, and yes, I am getting it, so please do not worry. Life can’t always be easy, and I know that, but knowing that doesn’t make times like this any easier, it makes them feel like they’re going to last… forever.

One of my greatest fears is that this hill that I’m sliding down will never end, that I will never hit flat ground and be able to climb back up to the top. It’s scary to feel this way, and it’s hard to understand if you’ve never been in a situation like this.

So many questions have come to my mind throughout this entire experience.

Will I get through it?

How could it possibly get any worse?

Can anyone tell that I’m hurting and struggling?

If anyone can tell, do they care?

Should I tell my parents, or will that freak them out?

What can I do to fix myself?

All of these questions race through my mind every day. I know that most of these questions are unreasonable, because this experience won’t last forever, people are aware of what’s going on and they do care, my parents are on my side, and I’m not broken so I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t know why depressing periods make me feel so broken. Maybe it’s because it feels like I’m the only person who feels depressed and is struggling and it seems like everybody around me is so happy and normal. It makes it seem like something is wrong with me. And yes, in a way I guess there kind of is, but mental health is something that most people will struggle with at some point in their life, though it may not be quite as bad as what I am feeling right now. Mental health is something that people don’t need to be ashamed about, yet so many of us are, because we all strive to be “normal.” But what does “normal” even mean?

I don’t think that being “normal” exists. No two people are the same, which means that if one person is considered “normal,” nobody else in the world can be “normal.” Everyone is unique, in both good and bad ways. Everyone has a different body, a different mind, and a different life. There are standards of normality in our world, but nobody, and I mean nobody, not even the most famous person in the entire world, fits in to every standard of normality that we have. While that may seem far fetched, it is true, and it’s okay. We don’t have to all be this image of perfection, because nobody is perfect.

Honestly, if you know someone who is “perfect” please let me know because that means that you’re missing something. Being perfect isn’t possible, and the people who seem the most “perfect,” are often the people who are struggling the most inside themselves (at least that’s what I’ve learned from my experiences with thinking people are “perfect”). Trying to act “perfect” or “normal” often leads to mental health issues. Possibly even to a warped reality where you don’t even notice that you actually aren’t okay, and that’s dangerous!

College has alerted me to a lot of these “perfect” people. I have met so many wonderful people who I think are amazing, and who seem to have everything down pat, just to learn that they are struggling just as much, if not more, than I am. I’ve always known that a lot of people are secretly not okay, but being in college is probably the first time I’ve really seen it a lot. Its sort of ironic too because college is hard. Everything is changing. Everyone is changing. It’s a new start, you have to find a new group of friends, and adjust your lifestyle. So why, when we are in one of the hardest environments to adjust to, is it so important to be okay, and to be this image of “perfect?” Why does our society need us to be one way when being a different way is the way that makes more sense? I honestly don’t get it.

I walked in to college expecting a “normal” experience. Coasting through classes and groups of friends, and finding my place. After one long, hard semester, and half of another semester, I have been slapped across the face with a piece of frozen meat.

1 in 6 American women have survived an attempted or completed rape.

I NEVER expected to be 1 of those 6 women. Never.

And it has made college harder. Because that is not the only statistic I have fallen victim to. There are more, and they will keep coming.

My point here is really to just never expect things to go a certain way, because in reality, expectations are so unrealistic. Everything in our world is photoshopped and warped. Any expectations we have are based on the fake things we see and the gossip that we hear. TV shows, movies, and even books, portray things like college in such an unrealistic way. They lead us to have expectations that don’t make any sense. Expectations that are dangerous in some ways. I’m basically saying to not have expectations, because in the end your expectations will NOT be reality.

I also realize that saying to not have expectations doesn’t make sense because how do you go through life if you walk around never expecting to take another step, or not thinking about what will be around the corner. You have to have expectations. But it’s important to be careful of your expectations. Don’t expect everything to go perfectly, expect bumps and rough patches, and for a lot of things to not work out, because that’s the reality of life. Nothing is steady and easy, not for anybody. And it’s hard. But that’s okay. Because even though nothing makes sense right now, and things are rough in every aspect, it will work out. In the end, everything will be okay.

Everything happens for a reason. What all of those reasons are, we may have not yet figured out. But I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that in the end we will learn important lessons from everything that has ever happened to us. It may be a clich√© saying, but it is honestly something that I live be, and it’s a huge part of why I am still here, and why I am able to push through.

Everything will be okay in the end. Everything will one day make a little bit more sense. And everything will teach us something important. No matter how small the lesson, or the event that occurred, may seem.

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Acceptance

I have spent 18 years trying to accept every flaw, every trait, every feeling, and every situation that I have encountered. Throughout these years I have learned that some things are significantly easier to accept than others. For example, it only took me a few weeks to accept that I’m not a straight A student, but it took me 17 years to accept my struggle with mental illness.

The latest thing that I have come to accept is that I’m bisexual. And honestly I haven’t accepted it 100% yet because it still takes a strain for me to say it out loud. With that being said, in honor of pride month, I felt as though this was as good a time as any to tell all of you that I’m bisexual because I’m tired of hiding it! (PSA that doesn’t mean I’m going to flaunt it because I’m still the same shy, introverted little CJ that I always have been ūüôā )

There are a lot of stigmas around being bisexual and (at least for me) none of them are true. Being bisexual doesn’t mean that I’m trying to be greedy and date the entire world. It doesn’t mean that I am going to stare at every single human ever when someone is changing in front of me. It doesn’t mean that I’m open to dating any guy or any girl that I see. It doesn’t mean that I’m attracted to every guy and every girl on the planet. It doesn’t mean I’m attracted to guys and girls equally. It simply means that I’m attracted to both guys and girls. And personally, I find myself a little more attracted to girls than to guys, and that very well may change over the course of my life, and that is completely ok.

This little blog post is another (kinda big) step in my journey of acceptance. I have a long way to go. There are so many more things I will one day need to accept. I’m in a place right now where for the first time in my whole life I don’t know what to expect! I don’t know what’s going to happen at college next year. I don’t know who I’m going to make friends with. I don’t know who is going to be in my classes or what classes I’m going to be taking. I have an incredibly unpredictable road ahead of me. But for now, I’m happy with how far I’ve come on my acceptance quest. I’ve learned to go with the flow and relax and smile because the things that I may be struggling to accept about myself, most of the time, the incredible people I have surrounded myself with have already accepted those things about me.

Life isn’t perfect. It doesn’t go exactly how you want it to go. It has a funny way of creating struggles for you that one day you will realize have changed your life. I didn’t sit around and choose to be bisexual. For a while, I thought it was another struggle that had been thrown at me that I had to figure out how to overcome and get rid of. I’ve learned now that my sexuality is not a struggle, it’s simply just the way I am. And that is totally ok. It’s more than ok, it’s good, it’s great, it’s real, it’s ME!

From Darkness To Happiness

There was a long period of time where¬†I was in such deep darkness, I didn’t think I could ever be happy. I was so depressed that I’d forgotten what happiness even felt like. I was numb. I¬†was living in a black hole. I was scared. I was sad. I was angry. I was screaming for help on the inside but couldn’t communicate how I was feeling to other people. To feel so depressed and empty is awful and terrifying. It’s a feeling that no one can prepare you for, and¬†I would never wish it upon anyone. Depression ruined my life for 3 years. I completely lost sight of happiness during those 3 years. However, using all of the energy, effort, and motivation I could find, I pulled myself out of my deep, dark, depression and I rediscovered (or maybe discovered for the first time?) true happiness.

The past 3 years of my life have been some of¬†the happiest years I have ever experienced. I spent my freshman year of high school at a small private school (it was basically a therapeutic school but not technically… idk how to explain it)¬†and in a psychiatric hospital. It was a tough year, but in the end my mental health got much better and I decided that I wanted to go back to my public high school for the rest of high school. I knew that at my public high school I would be challenged academically, which was honestly the biggest reason I chose to go back. I did have friends at my other school, and I do miss them, but 3 years later, I’m now a senior, and I’m positive that I made the right choice by going back to public school. The decision to go back to public school was scary. When I left, everyone knew I had been having mental health trouble. I was scared that no one would talk to me and that people would always look at me and talk about me like I was “that girl with mental health problems,” and I didn’t want that. I was beyond terrified of that. I was afraid that if it were to happen I would be launched back in to the depression I had worked so hard to fight off. Lucky for me, I completely flew under the radar when I returned. People of course noticed that I was back, and probably talked about me in their friend groups at least once, but no one ever said anything about my mental health crisis to me. Instead, my transition back to public school was probably as smooth as anyone could hope for. I easily slid back into my old group of friends (with some new additions ūüôā ). I can’t explain to you how incredibly lucky I am to have the friends that I have. They are the most supportive and caring people I know. We all drop everything to help out one of our friends when they need it. It’s kind of incredible, and I absolutely love it. They made my transition back to public school so much easier. They are also the people who made me feel happiness again for the first time in years.

The first time I clearly remember being happy for the first time since my depression was when I was added in to the group chat my friends had. I was added in within a week of my returning to the school. I literally smiled for hours because to me, it was acknowledgement that I actually had friends and that they weren’t just pretending to be friends with me. I never told any of my friends how much it meant to me, but it was honestly what launched me back in to the world of happiness. I was now in on all of their inside jokes. I was being invited to all the hangouts. I saw the little disputes my friends had with each other every once in a while and sometimes, I was involved. I saw how much everyone supported each other. It made me feel like I was becoming part of their family, and I was, and it was really special to me. For a person who hadn’t felt happiness for a long time, the way that being added in to that group chat and being included in conversations made me feel was something incredible. It was something I never thought I would feel again. It was happiness.

From sophomore year to senior year, I have continuously gotten happier. I am closer to my friends than I have ever been. I no longer see the dark side in everything. I can see the light within everything and everyone. I am now able to relax,¬†smile and laugh with my friends. That’s something that I was not able to do my sophomore year. Each year I have grown a little bit more. Sophomore year was all about transitioning back to public school and forming friendships. Junior year was about making those friendships stronger and learning about myself. Senior year¬†(so far)¬†has been about continuing to learn about and accept myself, slowly telling people things I’ve learned about myself over the past year, and forming a social life that I never thought would exist. This year I have felt so¬†included and like I’m not COMPLETELY invisible to everyone at my tiny school. It’s made me really happy realizing that more people want to be friends with me than I thought. It’s been incredible.

If you had asked me 3 years ago where I thought I would be in 3 years, I would have looked at you like you were crazy because I didn’t think I was going anywhere. I didn’t think I was capable of getting in to a college I would want to go to, but I have been accepted to every school I applied to.¬†I didn’t think I would make any new friends. I didn’t think I would succeed in most of the things I did. I hoped, of course, but I didn’t think any of this was possible. I never thought I would learn to love myself. I¬†thought I was going to live on the edge of happiness forever but not truly find it. I never thought that I would be able to be as happy as I am right now, but I am, and it is absolutely spectacular.