June 14, 2024

Feed yourself; mental health is important

Picture me holding a vase filled with water. Harmless, bliss and calming on the surface. If I were to pick the vase up and hold it at arm’s length for the first 30 seconds, it’s easy, light and I can carry a conversation and continue with my day.  

As time continues, the seemingly light vase is a bit heavier, but not unbearable. As time continues, that once light-weight vase gets heavier and heavier. The water in the vase is the emotions in each of us. 

As we hold in our emotions for short periods of time, it is often easy and bearable to continue our day-to-day lives. 

The longer they are bottled up, it becomes hard, unbearable and overall exhausting. Some people choose to simply put the vase down and deal with the pain and emotions, others try and hold that vase until finally it drops and shatters. So why did I write this story about struggling in life? Because anxiety and depression are  hurting many students long before COVID-19. According to the APA, anxiety and depression are on a rise with nearly 42% of students with anxiety and a close 37% with depression.

Recently I have been struggling with these emotions. I thought this was just stress and thrived in those situations. I realized I had never taken care of those feelings and it started in my home, schooling, work and relationships. Like many people, I didn’t deal with this problem and often made excuses, deflected situations onto other people and ultimately did not take care of the problem, only made it worse.

Someone told me that I know where I’m going and was proud of where I’m from. Is that true? People tell me they are proud of me and look up to me, but lately I felt stuck. I am still in my hometown, I work two jobs that do not advance my career and drown in debt from medical, school and miscellaneous bills.

 Why am I not progressing? Many people reading this may feel the same way or have felt like this in the past. Please realize I am progressing and not stuck in my life. I am in a transitional part of my life allowing me to explore boundaries, test my limits and comfort zones, as well as starting to realize the important things in my life, where I want to be and push myself to start taking those steps. There will never be a time that is right to do something. This is a procrastinations precursor. In this time, we must push through the hard, explore our limitations and define ourselves.

Live in the now, acknowledge where you are from and feed yourself. To start everyday, wake up with the new day and do those things you have put off. Hell, participate in a polar bear plunge in a cold lake. It will push you out of the comfort zone, force you to think in the now and allow you to reflect on decisions made in the moment. 

Secondly, our past does not determine our future. Whether you come from a broken or loving home, with or without money, you can take actions to achieve the goals you set forth for yourself. 

Finally, as a story told in Habitudes, a baker wakes every morning at 4 a.m. to get ready for another day of work. He prepares for the breakfast rush and pushes himself every day. He is so focused on feeding everyone and taking care of their needs, he finds himself tired, starving and not wanting to continue. 

Why is he starving if he is literally surrounded by food all day? He has chosen to take care of others while ignoring his own health. If you are preforming at your maximum, you will be able to help others. You can reach goals never before possible. Mental health and planning is no joke, FEED YOUR SELF!