*Trigger warning: this article talks about depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia*
This summer, I made a promise to myself that I was going to do some internal work. What does it mean to do internal work? In the context of spirituality, it means to take the time and sit with your emotions. Internal work is sitting with those emotions and working through them to reveal their purpose. This takes time because it does not happen overnight. It's allowed me to grow in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I went through a lot earlier this year as a college student that left me feeling empty, angry, and alone. This is the first time that I am opening up publicly about this but I know that I'm ready to share with the world my experiences. This could help someone that has dealt with similar issues that I have. Here it goes.
Earlier this year, I went through a lot emotionally. My anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia heightened to such an extreme extent that I felt like I was drowning. I felt that I was in a sea of water trying to get my head above the surface but there were things tied to me that were bringing me down. I didn't know If I could keep going. School and my overall well-being were suffering. I was taking two courses that I wasn't passionate about and were draining me because I was still in a major that I didn't want to be in. All of this is what led me to feel that sense of emptiness, anger, and loneliness. This was the first time where I felt like I lost myself.
I always knew that there were resources on campus that I had access to but for a while, there was something blocking me from taking advantage of them. I felt that I didn't need help and I could get through all of this on my own without help. But I was wrong and it took a lot for me to admit that. I was always used to keeping everything in and not sharing what I was feeling as a child. Sharing emotions always never quite made sense because (at least for me) they weren't always concrete. Because of this, I decided to attend therapy. Through therapy, I was actually able to make some sense of what I was feeling. It wasn't easy and I'm still making strides to further understand the emotions that I feel daily.
In therapy, I was given different resources that I could use to help internally understand myself. The resources that I was given were meditation, yoga, journaling, etc. Out of all the resources that I was told about, I can say that journaling, meditation, and my close friends are what worked the best for me and I continue to do them daily. Why? Through meditation, I am able to sit with myself completely. I am able to sit with the thoughts and emotions that are constantly running through my mind and body. At first, it was hard because I had never let myself feel everything.
I had never let myself be in such a state that oftentimes left me feeling empty. If you have ever tried meditation then you know that sometimes it can be calming but sometimes also seem as if it didn't at all. However, this is not the goal. The goal is to recognize your thoughts, feelings, and to be present. Whenever I meditate and I don't feel "calmer" afterward, I don't necessarily write it off as bad. I turn to my journal and write out what I am continuing to feel and think about. Without my friends (they know who they are), I don't think I could've truly gotten through it. I'm so lucky to have supportive, positive, and encouraging friends.
All of what I went through affected my life. It affected how I thought of myself as a person (and the world), my goals, and my sense of motivation. There were some days where I didn't want to get out of bed or talk to anyone. There were days where I wanted to be completely alone. However, I'm glad that through it all, I recognized that I needed help even though it may have seemed hard to admit. I definitely think this is easier said than done and it takes time. Not everyone has the ability or even the resources to get help. This process of internal work is still ongoing and I'm definitely not done. I'm still on my journey and what I found that gives me peace through it all is knowing that I have time.
Every change in my life that I've made is going to take time. I know that there's no rush to be at a certain point in my life. There's timing in everything and I'm okay with that. I think that many people expect the process of dealing with mental illness and body issues to have a happy ending but I don't think that there necessarily is one. There's always going to be good and bad. As someone that's currently still on this journey of internal work and self-love, I think that this thinking only allows for the feeling of pressure to get to a certain time and space. That's something that I'm not striving for anymore. I'm finally at peace with that.