“You never know what’s hiding behind a beautiful smile.” – Anonymous
Most of the people who’ve been around me can tell you I love a laugh and I love to make people happy. I care about people a lot even when its to my own detriment. I know for most of you reading this right now, this is you. You spend countless hours being there for people without taking care of yourself and when you least expect it, you lose it ( I don’t necessarily mean a mental breakdown). Before you go jumping to conclusions, this isn’t an article about fake friends and disloyalty or a bad break-up. This article is about inspiring someone who may have “lost it” and needed confirmation that it will get better because I am living proof.
I’ve always been the girl who smiled before she cried, who laughed before she bashed or who walked away before she blew up. Whatever I went through, unless it was unbearable, no one knew and I liked it like that because I dealt with it and moved on; I even forgot that some of these trials existed. I made it through Combermere quite alright even though something major happened when I was fifth form. I may have lost some weight but I quickly got back on my feet like nothing ever happened. Even my grades reflected a stable student. While I was in cadets, nothing ever fazed me because I loved cadetting since it was one of my happy places.
Before university, I was living a happy-go-lucky type life and I was fine with that. Everything was unicorns and rainbows and every one was trustworthy and had my back. Obviously, I was wrong and it was during my time at University that I came to this realisation. First year, almost my entire grad class stuck together. We all hung out under the tree by Roy Marshall and we painted Cave Hill blue and yellow during Combermere Week. We had classes together, we went to interschool sports together, we just had a good time. We weren’t really bothered about life, per se.
(At this point, you’re probably saying I had a cake walk through my first year but nah. I failed a course and I had hell doing lab write-ups and other projects. But, I made it through).
Then Summer ’12 happened…
I met someone who I instantly fell in love with. His physique was nice, his smirk was like a magnet and he seemed like a nice guy. Majority of the people in my life told me to leave him alone and of course I didn’t. Long story short: I had mountains of drama and I was left with a broken heart and a magnificent case of acid reflux. This “relationship” spanned second year and the first semester of third year. My grades declined, my relationships with friends got sketchy, I started doing things I never thought I would have done. Then I finally walked away and never looked back. But by this time it was too late and along with my acid reflux came depression & anxiety. I had never felt like this ever in my life and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Going to school on mornings was a struggle because I would cry all the way there. I couldn’t be around people because the anxiety would kick in and I would instantly start to feel sick. I would skip classes in small rooms because I hated being cooped up. I stopped smiling and I lost all of the weight I gained during first year.
Being home at night was worse because I hardly slept and I would just sit up and cry fearing the next day because I felt no better and I had to act like nothing was wrong. Like, my life was a mess. At the beginning of the second semester [third year] my grades were horrible and I wanted to give up so badly. This was my penultimate semester and I can remember calling my friend, Daniel crying to him telling him I can’t go on. I can’t do it anymore, I give up. He tried his best to console me. I messaged my mum and told her I wanted to take a break but she quickly told me I can do it and I am not a quitter. I honestly thought I couldn’t make it. Richell-Ann and Shakelia sat me down and just told me to let it out, release all of my emotions and don’t hold back. Stefan was my listening ear and he too knew what I went through because he went through it. Many other friends inquired and we spoke with the usual encouraging ending.
All in all, I completed that semester with the best grades I had ever gotten at university. I was bewildered, I couldn’t believe it. During exam time, I said a prayer. It was the first time I had prayed since secondary school and it worked. It wasn’t an immediate improvement because I still fought with my demons throughout the summer but eventually life got better. I prayed more often, I started going out more, I believed in myself more and I graduated University. I did it. I made it through University. I endured. There is no better feeling than the one you get when you make it through a hardship you thought you would never survive. You feel like you can take on the world and nothing scares you as much as it used to.
All of this could have been avoided if I had just thought about me, for once. I gave all of me to the wrong cause and it showed. I lost myself, I lost my personality and I lost the will to carry on. I was never alone, even though it felt that way, because my family and friends had my back. God sent them for me a long time ago & it was through my rough patch I found out why they were there. So many people, unnamed, came to my rescue and I have them to thank. They gave me words of encouragement and they showed me that even though we weren’t as close as we used to be, they still cared.
DO NOT GIVE UP. It may seem like you are having the worse time ever and there is no light at the end of the tunnel but, there is and you’re going to get there. Even if you think you have no one to talk to or that will understand what you’re going through, you’re going to make it.
I am still dealing with my problems. Every now and again my anxiety raises its head and I am able to push it down. I don’t let it get the best of me and I try to push myself past my fears so I can enjoy life. I am not fearless, though and I still prefer being home. However, I refuse to let life pass me by.
I choose to live.
“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” -William Wallace
– the Awkward Chemist
P.S. – talking to someone helps a lot. Especially someone who is neutral and has no affiliation to you or what may be troubling you. They see things clearer and they provide you with unbiased advice that is sure to help you. For me, that person was Dr. Badenock who was my Organic Chem lecturer. She showed me the bigger picture and that motivated me enough to get my life back on track.