Finding Myself Again

Finding Myself Again

My story of overcoming a difficult time in life.

Have you ever felt so lost that you think you'll never find yourself again?

Have you ever felt like a stranger in a room full of familiar faces?

Have you ever felt like you were just half awake, going through the motions?

I have felt that every day for the past four years. Only instead of getting better, it became worse with each passing day.

I started high school with a great group of friends and a feeling of confidence. Everyone said it was going to be the best years of my life, so I tried to live up to that motto. But slowly, I noticed those "friends" become distant as time went on, watching them slowly drift away and slip out of my grasp. No big deal, right? They're not worth it.

The following year, I found a new group of friends. Everything was great until I felt like something was missing. The group loved to get together outside of class and hang out, but never with me. Somehow, each time there was an event, my invitation wasn't extended. The whispers began, the conversations in hushed tones stopped when I walked in and all the stares were directed at me. Then, the dreaded words: "We're really sorry, but sometimes you need to tone it down."

"Sorry, but sometimes you're obnoxious."

"Can't you take the hint? You just don't really fit with our group."

It was a continuous cycle of being pushed to the side, being the third wheel, always being the one left out and never in the loop. I didn't go to semi-formal because those friends decided I wasn't worth their time anymore. I didn't go to homecoming because there was nobody to go with. Sure, I sat at a table full of classmates and managed to put on a smile. It was never real though. The laughter was always forced and the smiles were always half-hearted.

Slowly, I circled down this dark spiral of sadness. I was alone, so alone. Each school year resulted in the same situation, the same loneliness, and the same tears.

It's sad that I used to come home in tears almost every day. There was always something wrong: someone bothering me, relationships not working out. I let people walk all over me without a word in return. I was tossed to the side when guys were bored but I was happy. The only thing I knew how to do was hold it all in. My parents couldn't understand what was wrong.

"How can we fix this? What can we do? Can you wait it out? You're almost done."

There was nothing that could be done but to wait until graduation. I felt like I was half alive this entire time, just going through the motions and not feeling anything inside. The only people who were there for me were my parents.

My close friends seem to disappear into their own happy lives. It didn't seem right to kill their vibe with my constant problems, but it's not like they noticed something was wrong.

No really, I'm fine. Just tell me about the amazing senior year you've had with your friends, I'm happy to hear it. I swallowed painfully through the lump in my throat, still got up every morning and threw myself into my studies. That was the only focus I had: finishing my senior year strong.

Somewhere along those 4 years, I lost myself for the longest time. I counted down the days till graduation, the day I could finally leave the cage I was trapped in for so long. I had teachers who didn't do their jobs, friends who seemed to disappear when I needed them most and watched as my life collapsed around me. When I walked out of those doors for the last time, it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was free.

When senior year came along, I knew I had to leave. I was sick and tired of waking up to the same place every day for 12 years. I wanted something new, something that would light the flame inside again and make me happy. So I found this little town called Athens and decided to call it home.

There was no feeling quite like moving to a new place with new people. I get to do what I love, make new friends and try new things. Everything felt so new, so vibrant, and so different from home. But I don't live in small town PA anymore. That girl you knew isn't me anymore. I felt what it was like to be happy again, to love my new life and my new friends.

Then I joined ασπ and found the sisters I never had. I found girls who run out to town on coffee dates with me in the dark of the night. They’re the type of friends who run around the streets of Athens and yell stupid stuff at you out of love because it’s funny. I remembered how it feels to have people who care and worry about you every day when you’re away.

Coming here was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it helped me find myself again. I came out of that dark hole I was trapped in and saw the beauty of life. It's a blessing to have best friends who put me in a chair at dinner, demand that I spill the details on my latest love interest and then ask when the wedding will happen. I’ve learned to smile, laugh and be cherished again, which is something I haven’t felt in so long.

So here’s to my new life.

Cover Image Credit: My own photo

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Airplanes Are The Worst

Why taking an airplane is the scariest thing in the world

Here's the thing about overcoming your fear of airplanes...

You can't. And you won't.

Airplanes provide the possibility for endless adventures to places you would never even know existed years ago. It ALSO provides an opportunity to make unlimited amount of movies about airplane crashes that result in either death or being stranded on an island with only a volleyball named Wilson to keep you company for the rest of your life (Castaway movie reference).

I'm not sure when my fear of airplanes began, but these movies sure don't help the cause.

I can't decide if it's the concept of flying through the air miles and miles high that scares me the most, or if it's being in a small space with a select few people (not of my choosing) for many hours.

What if there are crying babies? (Happened)

What if there are barking Chiwawas? (Happened)

What if I'm stuck in the middle seat with two extremely large men who ask me for my airline snacks? (HAPPENED)

There's far too many risks you have to take when it comes to planes. The only thing is, I don't want to be stuck in one place my whole life and not be able to see what the world has to offer. But I also absolutely cannot sit in a car for over 20 hours just to see a palm tree. Planes are really the only way to do it, and learning to accept it is what I have done.

Even accepting the fact that I will continue to fly on planes despite my fear, I still go through the same process every single time I take a plane:

-Wake up to go to the airport.

-Eat not one single thing because i'm so nervous.

-Arrive at airport and see everyone in the security line.

-Calm down slightly because millions of people fly planes everyday and come out alive, so I must be okay too right?

-Freak out again after arriving at my terminal because I have just spotted three separate mothers that are getting on my plane with kids that are screaming for reasons God doesn't even know. (You're probably going to Disney so why are you crying?)

-Calm down because the plane doesn't board for another hour so at least I have a little more time to be on the ground.

-Freak out again because we're now boarding and I don't have a guaranteed seat with mom. And everyone stares at you when you're searching for a seat.

-Calm down because I got the seat with mom.

-Freak out because they're going through safety procedures and I've realized that I might ACTUALLY need the life jacket under the seat to float in the middle of the cold ocean if we go down.

At this point, there is no more calming down:

-Freak out because we're about to take off (what if we don't make it into the air before the runway ends???)

-Freak out because now we're in the air and there's turbulence

-Freak out because the seatbelt light keeps dinging and it always sounds like there's an emergency

-Freak out because I just looked out the window and were going through a huge cloud (HOW does the pilot see where we're going??)

-Freak out because we just got stuck in an air pocket and dropped what felt like 5,000 feet in half a second

-Freak out because we're finally landing and my ears are popping so much that I think they are going to fall off

-Freak out because the wheels are coming out of the plane for landing but it sounds like the plane is falling apart

-And when we finally land, you'd think everything would be okay. But then it takes the rest of the day to get off the plane because everyone moves at turtle speed. I start sweating because suddenly the plane is 1,000 degrees, I get claustrophobic, so I STILL freak out.

The whole flying experience for me is just overall awful. My heart is constantly beating out of my chest, and I'm constantly on the lookout for things that could go wrong. Spring break is approaching, and I have planned a trip that requires me to take a plane.

SO PLEASE. Wish. Me. Luck.

Cover Image Credit: Tech Crunch

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A Case Of The Freshman Blues Calls For Community

How to recognize the symptoms and fight them.

College is a time of excitement and new experiences. First quarter is filled with meeting new people, discovering new interests, and investing in certain organizations. However, winter quarter is when the start-of-the-year celebrations die down, and students are faced with a flood of assignments, papers, midterms, and finals. Suddenly, you’re hit by this overwhelming level of sadness that you can’t really explain or understand.

One minute, I was studying the laws of supply and demand, and in the next, uncontrollable tears were bursting out full force.

I forced myself to calm down, and I sat outside my dorm to call my best friend. I tried to stop my voice from shaking and tried to control my breathing. But, when she asked if I was okay, the floodgates suddenly opened.

The freshman blues is a common phenomenon that tends to plague freshmen in college. One can never know when it will strike.You tend to lack motivation, lose your appetite, and feel distant from your friends. You try to pressure yourself and say that you need to study right now, or else you’ll fail your exams and your classes. At the same time, you feel so weighed down by your feelings of sadness, that it renders you powerless and immobilized.

The reason for these feelings is that you are going through a time of transition. In high school, you were surrounded by the same exact people for four years straight.

In college, that is usually four times as big as your high school, you essentially meet new people on a daily basis, and you really have to make an effort and find time to invest in certain people.

In college, education is valued so highly, especially since you have to pay thousands of dollars every year. The classes are more interesting, but definitely more difficult than they had been in the past.

Sometimes, freshman year is when you get a C or lower for the first time in years. It may be the first time you’re in a non-platonic relationship. It could also be the first time that you’re away from your family for several months at a time.

Whatever it may be, these are some of the changes that freshmen may experience and could potentially lead to feelings of anxiety and loneliness.

During these times, we need to realize and remind ourselves that academics aren’t everything. It’s okay to prioritize your health, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It may sound a bit morbid, but does an academic degree really matter once you’re dead? Your health should be your number one priority.

If you are a victim of the freshman blues, acknowledge it and do something about it, but don’t let it consume you. If it comes back, here are some ways to fight against it.

1. Surround yourself with people who love you

When I was going through the freshman blues, I didn’t want to tell anyone about my problems because I didn’t want to be a burden. If these people really love you, they will be willing to do anything and everything to comfort you.

When I finally decided to talk to someone about it, I felt so much relief. That person was willing to listen to me, comfort me, and wait for me as I cried. Although you may be unaware, there are definitely people that love you and are willing to listen to you.

2. Find ways to release your stress

Everyone has their own unique way of releasing stress. For me, watching sad movies with my roommate released the tension and anxiety in my heart. Allowing myself to cry was the best thing I did to relieve my stress. It allowed me to process the fact that I was stressed, and that I needed time to myself.

Some other ways to release stress can be writing down your emotions of a piece of paper, crumpling it up, and throwing it away, or you can participate in the midnight screams, exercise, or go to a counseling session. Letting emotions of anger, sadness, and frustration fester in your heart and mind is unhealthy.

3. Reward yourself, regardless of whether you completed a task successfully or not

In the end, you need to realize that you completed the task, whether it was done successfully or unsuccessfully. Nonetheless, it’s a thing of the past now. There’s nothing you can really do to change what you’ve done, so you need to allow yourself to move on.

4. Smile

It’s one of the easiest ways to boost yourself up. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, frowning will simply just make you feel worse. In the end, you’re trying to get rid of these feelings of sadness, so just go through the actions of smiling. You just need to fake it till you make it by going through the actions, from which the emotions will follow.

College is a time for you to explore new things and meet new people, but remember to never lose yourself in the process. The freshmen blues is definitely something that will pass. Keep going at a pace that is comfortable for you, and remind yourself that you are loved!

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