I have anxiety and I know that my future success will be built upon the achievements of today. I go through my head and imagine a day, four years from now, when I accept my degree and am acknowledged for my hard work and dedication. What scares me most; however, is having that degree mean nothing. In a world as it exists today, people leave with degrees that are meaningless and instead spend their adult years, moving from one precarious position to another. I want to write a post that is inspirational and helpful, but mostly I want to write a post that is honest. I struggle day in and day out to achieve my best, impress my professors, earn the respect of my faculty, involve myself in student activities, maintain romantic and personal connections, work to support myself and my academic endeavours and maintain my own mental health.
I feel as though the weight of my entire future happiness is resting on the achievements of today and I hope I am not alone, when I say that it is overwhelming. I manage everything entirely well, I remain calm and persevere under the pressure and achieve more than I ever thought possible. I manage until I no longer can. I sit alone, crying in the bathtub, hyperventilating and feeling the panic surge through my body. I feel a weight on my chest and rationally, I know that I am not having a heart attack, but it feels so real. The worst is when I begin to feel dizzy and like a fuzzy feeling comes over my head, as though I am walking through a dream, as though I am stepping outside my body and I can’t manage to climb back inside.
I know that I need to accept less than perfection, I know that I am running a marathon and not a sprint and I know that something must give, or else my mental health will be the ultimate sacrifice. I will work hard this semester to accept that perfection isn’t always obtainable. I am trying to coach myself to respect myself and this is the true way to earn the respect of my peers and professors. I will try to be compassionate with myself. In that moment however, I had to settle for finding the strength to climb back into my skin, settle my breathing, calm my heart and dry my tears. For today, that will have to be enough, for today, I will have to be enough.