When You Forget to Live

eMost of my life I’ve been scared. I’ve been scared of sticking out of the crowd, of failing, of trying, of looking stupid, of dying. These fears hindered me and how I lived my daily life. In my first two years of college, I would simply go to class then go back to my dorm. I didn’t go out at night. How could I when I wasn’t “cool” enough? I joined a few clubs, but that’s about it. After college ended, I was in a hole for a while. I forgot how to live. I was in a relationship, and it wasn’t a good one (see here). I would come home from work, watch tv, eat dinner, sleep. The next day would be a repeat. I wouldn’t go out on weekends. I wasn’t able to do my own thing. I was stuck and letting the days pass me by. When I ended up at graduate school, it was similar. I remember that it was a beautiful fall day in Vermont and I couldn’t get off the coach. I watched television all day. That’s the day it hit me, that I couldn’t keep doing this. I was wasting away every day.

I had a few moments in my life that I felt that I lived. This is when I was doing what I wanted to do. Enjoying life. Experiencing new things and breathing.  Sometimes they were months at a time. My Junior year of college was one piece of this. I finally felt okay. I had my life on track. I was doing things. I was meeting new people. I was happy. Then since around a year ago this month, is when I started to live after those 3 years of not.

I made friends. I was doing things. Going places on my own. Doing what I wanted to do. Started to feel comfortable in my own skin. Now, this wasn’t without my bits of anxiety and depression. I had my moments of grief and anguish. It felt amazing, however, to be able to do all those things I wanted to do while still battling depression and anxiety. It is quite difficult to go grab lunch by yourself in a restaurant while there’s a voice in your head telling you how stupid you are. I fought through it all. It has been a year of taking risks and starting over.

I wasn’t alone in this. I gained a lot of inspiration from people close to me. My friends from a while ago, new friends I made at graduate school, and my family all assisted in guiding me in my efforts of exploration. Around six months ago, I started dating someone new (we are even still dating – so proud). That has been an adventure in itself. He has kept me going when I wanted to give up on trying to experience life. He allowed me to push through my anxiety to experience new things. I have done things that I never would have before. I canoed in the Adirondacks, rock climbed outside, skied in New Hampshire, and much more. These six months have been a balance of work, living, and graduate school homework. It’s been a tough balance, but I also felt like I lived these past few months. I have been exhausted. I have been sore. I have lost my patience. But I’m here. I did things that I never thought I would do.

Anxiety and depression enjoy trying to convince me not to live. To keep myself in a bubble and leave it at that. To hide away. I still have to push through at times to experience things I want to experience. I take it one day at a time and do the best I can do. Moving forward.

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