Last October-December were some of the worst few months of my life. School had really gotten to me, and my anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t eat without wanting to throw up, couldn’t do any work without having a panic attack, and couldn’t really even sleep, because even if I did manage to fall asleep, I would just have nightmares. I also realized during this time that I hated my major, and had no backup plan, which only made things worse. I didn’t want to hang out with my friends because I didn’t want to have a breakdown around them, and didn’t want to tell anybody the full extent of what was going on because I felt like I would become a burden. This eventually led to me becoming more distanced from my friends and family, which left me feeling very alone. The hardest part of the whole situation, however, was the realization that a vast majority of my issues were all in my head, and I couldn’t control them.
My main takeaway from the experience is that it is 100% okay to ask for help. Once I finally opened up to my mom about how I was feeling, while things didn’t exactly just magically get better, they did become easier to manage knowing that I had someone I could call if I was having a panic attack or just generally freaking out. She also finally convinced me to go see a counselor and a career advisor (a.k.a. professionals who could actually help solve my problems). Believe it or not, seeing those people was very helpful in both figuring out what was going on in my head, and what I was going to do with my future. I also realized that it’s okay to change your mind. Little did I know when I came into college that the major I thought I would love would become my worst nightmare. Coming to terms with the fact that I hated something I had convinced myself and others I was so passionate about was a real struggle. But after finally getting it through my head that I didn’t have to keep doing something I despised, and could just change my mind and my major, a major weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
People generally don’t like to see others complain about serious things on social media, and if you do, the general assumption is that you’re just begging for attention. I personally think people are very self-centered, and don’t want to see behind the curtain of everyone’s social media lives, because then they would actually have to recognize that some people are still thriving despite immense day-to-day struggles.Knowing me, if I shared this on social media it would probably just be a big, long, rambling spiel. I think the response would be split between positive and negative, because I know some people would see it as me begging for attention, but others would respect that I was putting myself out there, or might benefit from knowing that someone else out there is struggling too.
If I had an opportunity to talk to someone going through the same thing I would tell them to talk to somebody. Whether that’s friends, family, a professional, or a random person on the internet, it helps to have somebody to talk to, and know that you’re not alone. And to quote everyone’s favorite hobbit, Samwise Gamgee, “...in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass.”