S. Keen

Sydney Keen.jpg

My junior year of college, I started working at a new job, and quickly was promoted to a lower management position. This was the first time I had ever worked a job of this kind, and I was slightly overwhelmed. I had just gotten through one of the hardest years of school I had ever experienced, where I contemplated dropping out of school and moving back home indefinitely. At my new job, I had an extremely overbearing, emotionally and mentally abusive manager. He never accepted anything I had done as good enough, and it slowly began wearing on me. During this same time, I had experienced heartbreak like I never had before and any motivation I had before was now gone. I experienced increased anxiety throughout my day to day life as well as extreme depression at some points.

Because I had such bad anxiety, my social life definitely took a hit. I stopped hanging out with friends, and going to social events. Instead, I threw myself into my work, even though it was the cause of my anxiety and depression. I was able to stay focused in school, but I was having a hard time sleeping and would have a hard time staying awake during the day. The hardest part about this experience was having to realize that I can’t handle everything on my own. I have a bad habit of not asking for help, even when I need it the most and this experience really highlighted that I can’t do everything.

I finally realized that my job was making my life miserable and that something needed to change. I had accepted that I didn’t need a guy in my life to make me happy, and that I needed to focus on myself. I began to tell other members of management at my job that I needed help, and finally began to tell other people what I was going through. I finally stood up for myself and quit my job and it immediately felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. My friends who worked with me during this time were extremely helpful to me and making sure that I was okay. My sorority sisters were also there by my side the entire time I was going through this experience. They repeatedly checked in on me and made sure that I was eating and sleeping well. They also helped me realize that I was so much more than my job, or any boy.

I think that there is a stigma around sharing personal struggles online, people care, but not enough that they are comfortable seeing people actually show and document their struggles online. I think that even though we know that people go through struggles and difficult times, we are uncomfortable viewing them online and so that prevents people from posting a more realistic image of their life. I think if I were to share this struggle on social media, it still wouldn’t look like how it does in my private life. I think that even though some people might be inclined to post about their struggles on social media, we still think that we have an image to uphold, and our stories would be distorted to match the image we want to portray for ourselves on social media. I think the effect would be positive, but still not as positive as it could be.
I would tell women going through the same thing, that it really does get better, but it takes time. It’s okay to stand up for yourself, your mental health, and your sanity. It’s okay to quit a job that isn’t giving you what you need. It’s okay to let go of a boy if they aren’t reciprocating the love that you deserve. This is just a bump in the road to something bigger and better!

Asia Croson