Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Voice Inside My Head

Being an adult was not what I expected it to be. It’s a hectic and confusing mixture of happiness, pain, security, insecurity, loneliness, and anxiety all at the same time.

Frequently, this voice in the back of my head tells me to just give up, give in, stop trying, and just end it all. If I’m dead I don’t have to worry about eating, sleeping, homework, failing, repaying thousands of dollars in student loans, disappointing and burdening the people around me, being abandoned, being hurt by others’ addictions and abuse. Sometimes the voice makes a lot of sense, and sometimes it stays with me all night and keeps me awake in a dark room. Alone. While people sleep. It tries to convince me to hurt myself, because physical pain is easier to feel than emotional. It knows how and when to bully me. It knows when I’m most vulnerable.

But what the voice doesn’t realize, is that it underestimates me. I’m stronger than it thinks I am. I have a life where I can choose to keep breathing for another day. The voice is good at making surviving seem like the last thing I want to do, but I’m good at finding something to stand for and sticking to it against opposition. The voice is good at constantly telling me I’m alone, no one cares, no one is listening, and that I will be abandoned. But I’m good at reaching out to people I trust and respect for advice, help, and support. I’m good at trusting that people are good and willing to listen and help until proven otherwise. And I know how to step away from negative and poisonous people in my life. People that want to bring me down and that need to see me fail to feel better about themselves.

I didn’t realize during my high school years that I was learning what it means to be my own person. To believe what I know is true and right, and to live it despite what others think or say. I didn’t realize that my desire to connect with and confide in people older than me was helping me safely distinguish between the people that really care, and those that just pretend. And I didn’t realize that a handful of the people I associated with in high school would still be here for me now.

I’m a lot stronger than I ever knew I was growing up. Some of that strange I had to build myself, but most of that strength has been inside me all along. Because my physical and mental struggles are not a reflection of my spiritual and eternal character. I am not the depression, anxiety, fears, doubts, or voice inside my head. And I can choose to keep living, learning, and overcoming, and creating my own story.

Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Coming to a Close

As this year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about how much I have been blessed.

When this year started, I began my junior year of college. March marked a year of me recovering and enduring the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with: Depression. And this year, I’ve only had three major anxiety attacks TOTAL, which hasn’t happened since I started having them 11 years ago. 

I knew I wanted/needed to live in Rexburg for the year – I have learned it’s healthier for me to live away from home for a few different reasons – but had no idea how it could be done. When Spring semester started and I paid for tuition and housing, I had $11 left to my name. That’s it. I didn’t have enough to pay for my books (which were about $80), and I barely had anything for groceries.

I had faith God would provide a way. I knew either way, He would support me and give me what I needed to live either in Rexburg or in Utah.

I was/am blessed with good health. I started donating plasma 1-2 times a week in order buy groceries. I applied for two jobs on campus. The first one I was turned away, the second I was asked to complete an evaluation, and then I had an interview. I was offered the job pretty soon after the interview. That was an AMAZING blessing. I’ve had roommate and friends who have been trying for TWO semesters to get a job on-campus and have had no luck. After I got off the phone when I was offered the job, I prayed so hard and tried not to cry and look like a weirdo in public.

I've been able to stay in Rexburg the entire year and not starve and get kicked out because I couldn't pay rent. I had to live off of Pancake mix for a week, go to bed hungry, or make it through an entire day on nothing but a packet of microwave oatmeal. (I did order WAY more pizza then I should have and then had to pay the credit card bill the next time I was paid...I could have saved so much money had I not done that...but I was hungry!!)

I got to teach seminary earlier the year. Something that I count really special and neat, even though it was only two days. I learned more about myself and what is right for me (or not right in this case). I got to feel what it's like to spend lots of time thinking about a class full of teenagers, and got to spend the night after my first teaching experience on my knees, praying for each of them by name, and wanting so badly for them to feel the truth of the Gospel like I did when I was in seminary. For only a two-day experience, it was one of the most intense, frightening, exciting, spiritual, and strengthening things I've ever done. (I can't imagine if I would have continued farther!!) Phew!

And even though I don't live in Utah, I've been able to come and visit for the holidays. I've been able to take shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc. from my parents house because of my mom's super coupon skills, and I've never had to buy my own of those things while in college. And I've got awesome grandparents who have been so nice and gracious to help me by contributing some money when I've come to visit.

But ultimately, I am so grateful to have a loving and supporting Father in Heaven, who has made everything in my life possible. Without Him and the testimony I have of Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, I know for a fact I wouldn't have made it last year, and nothing that has happened this year would have even happened.

I'm so grateful for so many people for making this year and everything that has happened in it possible.  Life is crazy. College is crazy. But you play it by ear, keep working, moving forward, trying new things, and sometimes step forward even when you have to step into the dark and put all your trust into someone else.

Life is just great. And such an amazing blessing. I'm excited to see what the next year has in store for me. :)