Wednesday October 26th 2016:
I knew when I woke up this morning that today was going to be a busy day. I began with a checklist:
Some people are immune to a busy schedule. They need to having something going on at all times. Me? Not so much. I love my schedule for this semester because I have breaks between my classes. I can grab a snack, breathe, get work done, take a 3 hour nap if I need to.
Not gonna lie, after my 8 am class I was ready to cancel my yoga class sign-up for the day and just go back to bed. I was already dressed in yogi apparel so that definitely was a motivation booster.
There is this one thought that comes across me at every single yoga class I take.
"I got myself here."
Despite whatever is going on in my life, within my body, I got myself here. That alone, is enough for me to push through anything that day.
Things were working out. My Connections group was canceled so I had extra time to do homework, AND the campus welcomed a therapy dog for midterms week.
I went to yoga, I pet a therapy dog, life is good.
I recall saying "Wow, I'm weirdly.. very calm and chill right now despite all of this sh*t I have to do. Must be the yoga. Nice."
I still do believe the yoga helped me continue my inner calm throughout the day.
But it sadly did not last..
I had my psychiatrist appt. There is a consulting psychiatrist that comes once a week and this was my first meeting with him. It went well considering how awkward it was.
"Hi I'm Haley- okay now you want to know my history? Ok well, Once upon a time-"
I had forgotten the amount of discomfort over restating the worst, and even self-conscious moments of my life to a complete stranger. I kept it brief. We both were awkward and made jokes which made me less anxious because he was new to [working at] the school as well.
So after that, and my seminar, I lost my shit. Yeah, guess I'm not semi-censoring this anymore. I started crying. I was in the library looking for a political cartoon and crying. Nobody could tell. By crying, I mean tears here and there, but discretely.
Everyone (mainly twitter) talks about those college mental breakdowns over assignments. Yah I've had them, but not over an assignment. This was my first. Should I mark it on my calendar?
Social anxiety folks, it is a tad easier to present when you are confident with what you are presenting.
I was not.
I had no idea what I was doing.
9pm..I just want to go to bed.
"9 am tomorrow I have to..."
*starts crying again*
I just froze up. Overwhelmed. Scared. Scared I will present nonsense and that I will sound stupid. (I do not know much about the government or politics.) Scared at the fact that if my presentation is under 10 minutes it will be "heavily penalized." Worried because my brain works faster than my mouth, and my words result in a jumbled mess.
BUT also in my head I had, "Okay Haley, you know that no matter what you will be okay. Worrying is a waste of energy. If it sucks, you pick yourself up later, but right now just focus on knowing you will be okay no matter what."
I fought back tears, and then said in another mindful reasoning, "F that, you go ahead and cry because your body wants to. Just cry, give your body what it needs. Listen to your body." So I did. I went back to my room and just let myself hold my hands in my face and let out all of my stress and frustration.
I tired out, pulled myself together, and continued working on my presentation.
I told my roommate that whenever I started to dread my presentation, she should remind me that once it is over all I can do is look forward to Candace Moore's book signing and yoga workshop tonight.
I love love love the inspiration found from those who rise above from a difficult past and use their story for a purpose. I am so looking forward to meeting her.
When I started to stress/cry about my presentation my roomie, Kelly blurted out, "Candace." I stop, say, "Oh yeah." and continue to breathe.
There is something good in every day.
I nailed my presentation. Eye contact, wasn't shaking, didn't fumble over my words (even though at some points I probably was babbling nonsense in a way that might have portrayed intelligence?)
The best part? Besides getting it over with and a weight off my shoulders-
My professor looked me in the eye after class, gave me a thumbs up, and said "Good job."
I notice a pattern, and it is incredibly frustrating to me.
I get so worried, and then I am okay. I am ALWAYS okay. No matter what, I will be okay!! LOGICALLY I know this. A part of me, however, is still scared.
Worst case scenario: I get up there, I freeze, I give a crappy presentation, everyone knows I'm nervous, and I get an average grade.
And there's more that could go wrong, of course, but why go to extremes?
I realize it is not so much a fear of the outcome at this point. It is a fear of the present. It is a fear of the uncomfortable feeling that goes along with "riding the waves" and I prove to myself every time I make it out on the other side that it was worth the discomfort.
I am here now, trying to analyze what I need to work on, and what I didn't do.
Maybe that is not the point.
I could have stayed in bed "sick", I could have emailed my professor an "anxiety = I can't", I could have tried to handle this mess all on my own.. but I didn't.
I reached out to my uncle, and a former teacher of mine for insight and suggestions. I eliminated the worries I had control over.
I gave myself permission to cry.
This is what gets me very very confused:
I often believe that "recovery" and "working on me" mean that I should be able to let this magical thing called "positive self-talk and redirecting thoughts" save me. No. That is a piece, but not all.
I need to give myself permission to have the fear in the first place, right? To worry, to cry-
It is then that I use my tools to decide where I will go from there.
Holding back crying, and then letting it all out showed me the difference between accepting and rejecting my feelings.
I am reminding myself through my return to the yoga practice, and my wise mind, that to keep going forward, does not mean you can not have "down" moments.
I have proof of this when I find myself here.
Blogging, about how I picked myself up again.
I have so much behind me, and so much to look forward to today.
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A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.