In honor of World Teen Mental Health Day, Unconditionally Her showcases one of the powerful stories from UNTOLD: The Campus Diaries.
Each day of this semester has been a blur. Each day bleeds into the next and I have lost all sense of control in my life. The student I was in January of 2020 and the student I am now are two different people. My January self had a planner; had a 4.0; was elegantly balancing work, school, and being President of her student organization; and most importantly: was happy. Today I find that I go through each day not knowing what will come the day after. I have no schedule, a half-empty planner that sits in my bag unopened, and a constant feeling of numbness. If not numbness, the only thing I feel is self-hatred because I have lost myself in the madness and am now failing three classes when I am supposed to be graduating in December. I try to be kind to myself and rationalize my situation by saying, “you’re living through a pandemic, you are struggling in isolation, and you are doing the best you can.” But that’s just not enough. I am an over-achiever at heart. My self-worth is measured in my ability to accomplish things and accomplish things well. And now there is not a single area of my life where I feel that sense of accomplishment. Hell, not even in my personal relationships. Because of all of the things constantly swirling around in my brain, I have detached myself from many of the people I love most. Including breaking up with my boyfriend of 2 years. I’ve become an asshole to those who have shown me the most kindness in my life. I used to love college. Every aspect. I loved walking to class, attending lectures, interacting with my professors, being involved in student organizations, and of course the social life of it all. I could sit in the library for hours and be unfazed. But now, because of quarantine, my attention span has become so short that I am lucky to be able to make it through 15 consecutive minutes of reading. I used to be admired for my leadership skills in my organization, but now I feel like all I ever do is drop the ball. Throughout this semester, I have come to hate school. Every day I dread opening up my laptop and logging on to Zoom. I dread opening my textbooks. I dread planning meetings. It’s all become so much and while in the past I have been known for my ability to “do it all,” I can’t do much of anything now.
Photography by Lorna Dancey. LornaDanceyPhotography.com