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Mental Health: A Journey with No Apparent Destination

Story By: Hannah Lanier, Reporter

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As we begin the month of May, also known as #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth, it is time to get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations.

As I am currently embarking into my 20s, I feel like I am being suffocated by the unfair obstacles that I have been thrown with the requirement to overcome.

I’ve become so fixated with accomplishing my goals and aspirations in a specific amount of time. I’ve wasted nearly all of my time worrying about time.

I wish to graduate at a certain time. I wish to have my career established by a certain time. I wish to be married with a family by a certain time.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t always play out the way you wish. While being caught in the dead center of disillusion, I distracted myself with all things unnecessary and unimportant.

I can’t tell you about anything I have learned in my philosophy class, but I can tell you what happened on Jane the Virgin last week. Or how Ross and Rachel weren’t on a break that one time on Friends. My point is, I am wasting my time.

Maybe it’s because I am scared, worried that I am incapable of living up to the insane expectations that nobody aside from myself has set.

I have overworked myself with a huge course load, job, internships, and personal relationships.
Yet, I have not prioritized any of those listed above.

I prioritize Netflix. I prioritize Hulu and Youtube. I prioritize the useless.

And I am damn near depressed, anxious and overall lonely because of it.
My room has become as messy as my mind.

My grades have fallen to the point of breaking a promise I made to my father: a low that I thought I would never fall to.

Rather than accept the fact that I am not okay, I convince myself that it’s just life. “I am just tired,” I say to myself. “I am just doing too much.”

Is my distortion of priorities forcing my mind to focus on a dark place of insecurities and self-doubt? To a point that I just don’t care anymore.

I have people in my life that I love dearly telling me I won’t get anywhere with that attitude.
But not caring has made everything easier;

Everything that has happened I have pushed in to a deep, far away corner where I locked it and threw away the key.

Thus, here I am. Feeling nothing. Not caring. Allowing numbness to take control and make feeling nothing present itself as happiness.

I will have frantic outbreaks of stress, making those around me uncomfortable, or concerned.

Regardless of all that, you know what? I appear happy, cheerful even—for the most part.
Going about life as if I have everything together. As if my future is intact, as if I have no worries in the world other than what I plan to eat for lunch.

Weird, right? Having read this far, it must be clear to you that I struggle. And that struggle reflects my mental health.

But any person off the street would glance at me and guess that my life is damn near perfect, because mental health is never printed in big bold letters across your forehead: “HELP ME.”

Wouldn’t that be nice though? You wouldn’t be forced to be vulnerable with someone. You wouldn’t have to let anyone in. They would just know.

Aren’t those closest to you just supposed to know?

No.

Only you know your experience, or maybe you don’t.

Mental health is not a desired destination that once you arrive, you are forever content.
It is a continual growth and development. As you progress, so does your mental state.

You may be okay today, but something happens and you are off balance again.

Mental health is something that must be prioritized and maintained; taken care of as if it is something of worth. Because it is.

Simply, just realize that you are having a hard time and figure out the cause of the stormy cloud hanging over your head.

Tell someone that school is draining you, or that you need time to yourself in the abundance of chaos that has become your life. Realize that it is OK–necessary even–to get rid of whatever or whoever is causing said stormy cloud.

You may not be OK–and that is OK. What is not OK, is acting like you are.

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Mental Health: A Journey with No Apparent Destination