We’re coming up to the end of academic week. With classes having started back up just this past Monday, I find myself returning to a state of mind that often takes extra time for self-analysis. Part of it is a critique of myself in relation to the crowd, and other times it’s just me realizing how cranky I can get when people don’t use their common sense and stand in a single file line when lining up to board the bus that takes commuting students to the train station. But ya know–that’s just me…
What I’m getting at with this post had nothing to really do with me being a cranky 85-year-old woman at heart, but rather the struggles I’ve been trying to come to terms with.
I come from a family where while there are members who have their own personal issues, none of them really actively seek help they truly need. I know I’m not the exception, because from the behavior I hear of through the grapevine, or even witness, I know they would benefit from professional help. Then when it comes down to me, well, I never talk about it, unless I’m reaching a breaking point for having held things in so long, that has me sobbing in my room without even being able to provide a concrete reason behind my gasping sobs.
Then when I do muster the courage to finally say “I think I need help”, my concerns about anxiety and whatever else may be plaguing me, draining me, is quickly brushed off as being “overly ambitious” and a “perfectionist”. One, I hardly consider myself a perfectionist. Have you seen the condition of my closet? It’s a fucking mess! Haha, but in all seriousness, I do know perfectionism doesn’t often spread across the spectrum to cover every aspect of a person’s every day life, but rather focuses on distinct parts, like academics. Yeah, I work my ass off in school. I’m a university student from an immigrant family. If any of you are familiar with this then you know it’s not a walk in the park. I have struggled all my life since moving here to chase the opportunities that only appeared for a split second. I arrived with an accent so thick that people could barely understand me when I worked so hard to fit in with the rest of my peers. But now? Now people often can’t even tell that I speak another language. So yeah, I’ve worked myself into sickness to get to where I am today. I’m paying for school, paying for my car, working, trying to finish a book–yeah, I’m busy, there is stress in my life, which is normal.
But this isn’t what’s troubling me. I can handle academic stress. What troubles me, the even slight possibility of me having issues with anxiety, is that my concerns have been left feeling so invalid, so many times.
My family quickly jumps to the conclusion that I’m overly ambitious and strive to be the best student I can be–completely dismissing the thought of me actually needing help beyond their “advice”.
Then there was a shitty doctor who wrote off my severe anxiety and stress that left my throat tight and chest aching(that I literally could not breathe), and appetite virtually gone for nearly a month as me “being a woman”. His advice for me was “relax”. For those familiar with the struggle of stress management and anxiety in general, you understand how shitty it is when someone tells you to “relax”. It’s as if they don’t think we’d love that. But this isn’t an on-off switch.
Then there’s everyone else…
I am a very empathic person, but that often leaves me feeling and believing that my issues are not half as bad as those suffering from serious, textbook defined issues.
I wanted to go to a counselor last year (my school insurance and tuition offers all students 30 free counseling sessions per semester). As I was reading up on the questions they ask you to fill out when you first come in, I began to feel inadequate. Fucking inadequate to seek help. How fucking messed up is that? I talked myself out of getting help many times, and I did it again.
“I’ll get over it…”
“Why bother them with this?”
“This isn’t a real issue, is it?”
I’ve changed a lot in the last 6 years. Not so much physically, but mentally. I was always very family-oriented. I wanted to meet the love of my life, get married, have kids, and then somewhere along the way that desire was suddenly gone. Suddenly the thought of being remotely intimate with someone frightens me. The thought of children does not strike me as something to be desired. And getting married? Forget it.
So, not everyone gets married, which I think is a-okay. If the person is happy, they can do whatever they want! I honestly wish people understood that and stopped saying “oh, you’ll meet someone!” “You just haven’t met the right person yet!”
Is it so hard to believe that being single is their choice?
I don’t have anything against relationships, and I don’t hate on anyone in one. Frankly, I’m so happy for people when they’re smiling and happy to be with their significant other. After not being involved with anyone since a few years ago, I wanted to give dating another go. And I mean, dating in the sense of going out to meet someone, talking, spending time with them without having the expectation of a relationship. Because the first few dates do not making anything official. It’s not a relationship. I consider myself to be a casual person. So..there’s that. I expect nothing grand.
I gave online dating a shot. I was on the site PlentyofFish. This was for a two reasons, really. The most important one being: It was free. The other reason being was that I’ve heard good reviews about it from people who have used it. I mean, I know people who have met their significant others on places like Tinder, so why should these free sites have some sort of stigma that they aren’t good enough to meet a substantial person? Exactly.
Anyway, I did nothing but talk for a while until I started receiving offers to actually meet the people I was talking to both online and via text. I’m a very cautious person, so don’t think I’d just jump into anything for the hell of it. Too paranoid for that. But…I did it. I met up with one guy who I talked with. It was pretty relaxed, despite him being 2 hours late. We walked around the city and got some coffee. I talked a lot–I mean A LOT, but that’s because I tend to talk a lot more when I’m nervous. The guy seemed to be enjoying my company so much that he even brought up coming back to the same place where we were a year from that moment (mainly to catch the Buckingham fountain all lit up, like I had originally intended).Then when it came time to go our separate ways, I boarded the train home and started physically shaking. I was suddenly so terrified and struggled to take deep breaths. After that I sank real low. I started avoiding messages and even deactivated my account on that site. The more text messages I received from the guy, the worst I felt. I don’t know what did it. I admit part of what bothers me is when people plan so far ahead without knowing what will happen in the next few minutes, even days. None of my relationships have survived past a month. I’ve been okay with that. I can’t put my finger on anything in my past that would have me react that way. Needless to say, I stopped responding and basically dropped off the face of the Earth.
Well, after saying that I was not feeling well. So unwell in fact that I needed therapy.
This is true, but at that point I did it as a way of establishing that I was done. Done with online dating. Done with talking. Just done…
Now, knowing that /great/ fact about me….
I walk around campus now, and like I always do whenever and wherever I am–I people watch. It’s difficult not to notice all the people who have paired off and look so in-sync with each other. As appealing it is to be with someone who really /gets/ you, I know I’m not able to click on that level. There is always a conflict going on in my head. Part of me screams and fights for a chance of something like that while the other shuts it up and reminds me that nothing great can come out of it for me.
I don’t know how to commit.
I don’t think I’m able to.
I’m looking over my previous posts and I know I’ve brought this up before. I still don’t know how to define how I’m feeling. I still don’t know the reason behind my feelings or anything of that sort. It’s..truly exhausting.
I’ve hit too many low points this summer for it to even be considered a seasonal issue. It’s been hitting me hard every season.
I know I can’t push this back…
Well, it’s out. It’s out. It’s out.
And I should probably work on my notecards for French 😛
I hope you all have a fabulous day. Stay strong my fellow students, and keep smiling and striving to be your best!