To All The Kids Out There Just Like Me

To All The Kids Out There Just Like Me, Trying Their Best To 'Figure It Out'

I understand that it may be scary not knowing what your exact purpose is. But every day is a new chance to align with that purpose.

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For starters nobody knows what they are doing. No one has their entire life planned out, and if they do, I am impressed. Luckily we have our entire lives to figure it out. So before you start to go into a panic, remember to breathe and you're not alone.

Being a college student with all of the external pressures is challenging. We are told to clarify a major, get out into the world and experience, to get internships, and at the end of your four years; land a job. But it is not that simple.

About two years ago, we were in classrooms, now we are thrown into real life aimlessly running around looking for validation, support, and signs. I am here to say I understand you, I see you, and I feel for you.

It is difficult to have someone ask the question of, "What do you want to do with your life?". We are so quick to say I don't know. But that has a negative connotation to it, and I think that we should be conscious of the words we speak out into the universe. So the next time someone asks you that ambiguous question say, " I am figuring it out."

I am someone who has always stressed over the future. I know how I envision my life to be. I want to marry, have children, to connect with people on deep levels, and to wake up everyday with a grateful heart for the life I have chosen.

Anxiety gets the best of this vision sometimes and hijacks my moral compass. I now being a sophomore communications major in college; still feel like I have no clue what I want out of this experience.

Last year I would constantly stress over my end goal. Life is a vast, open opportunity and the thought of not having a clear end goal in sight, well it is frightening. This is something that I have personally been trying to work on, going with the flow and not forcing life. Just letting it be.

The important thing to know is how you want to impact the world and people around you. Start there and the rest will simply fall into place as it should. Think about what you want out of this life. Lets talk through it in steps.

Step 1; For me, I want to help those around me. Whether it is in small or large ways. I want to be a resource and a helping hand in times of need. Now that could lead me to a number of directions in life. Doctors, Therapists, and even Writers; they all have impact.

Step 2; Figure out where your strengths are and utilize them. I understand that I am not scientifically minded, I am more of an abstract thinker than reliant on concrete facts. I have more of a holistic mindset and approach to life.

Step 3; How would my work fit into my daily life. Do I want to pursue something that allows for me to travel? Personally, yes. I would love nothing more than to be exposed to the abundant cultures and perspectives that the world has to offer.

After these three steps, it is a comforting way to ease our minds. Because even though you do not know the exact direction you're headed in, you know the three goals of how you want to live.

It isn't hard to get trapped in the riptide of questioning, fighting against the currents of life. Instead, just ride the wave. Set reminders for yourself daily. For me I recently got the tattoo "Be Present", on my wrist.

This reminder is that I am young, living in the now. That I do not need to know exactly where I am going, but I should sure as hell enjoy every moment spent on this earth. Absorb information, expand my mind, try every day to be the best possible version of myself.

Your purpose falls into place as it should once you ride the wave of life. I have not found purpose yet but I am on the way! By expressing myself through the art of sharing and writing. Connecting to those through words and allowing for them to relate to me and feel like they are not alone. Perhaps this is my destiny and what the universe has set out as my purpose. Or maybe this is the transitional period to my purpose, I don't know!

Either way it is a learning experience, guiding me into my next phase of life. So the next time you are stressed, anxious, or simply frightened by not knowing, know this; it's okay to just be "figuring it out".

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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