Backstory: my mental health and physical health are linked together, just as everyone's is. However, I've noticed that mine seem to be a little more connected than most people's.
I have always been a high-stress individual, so I'm more susceptible to contracting certain illnesses than most people my age. Usually, it's strep or a stomach virus.
The illness will usually manifest itself after an extremely stressful or traumatic situation or event. Once everything starts to calm down, my immune system goes completely haywire.
I am currently battling strep, but this time is a little bit different. I predicted I would get strep right after I finished summer school, and I was right.
The most hectic summer of my life is coming to a close, and my body reacted to the change in my mental health by undergoing a physical illness. It was all my fault.
I put myself through hell for three months straight, and now I'm experiencing my karma.
I literally had no summer "break." From the day I arrived home for the summer back in May, I have put myself through levels of stress that no human can endure, at least not without breaking. I finished an entire semester of college in one summer. To break it down, I did a May minimester, two classes during the Summer I session, and I just finished my two Summer II classes yesterday.
On top of that, I was working two jobs: one in person six days a week and one online through my college. On top of that, I continued writing for Odyssey and kept my leadership position.
During this time, I failed to realize that I am a human, not a robot.
I have been a perfectionist since I was born. Anything less than an A was not okay with me.
I was not raised to be a perfectionist; my parents were perfectly happy if I brought home B's, but a single B swimming in a pool of A's on my Blackboard account would result in a meltdown.
It's hard enough trying to balance the various roles in my life: student, employee, daughter, friend, writer, etc., but I tried to be the perfect student, the perfect employee, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect writer, etc.
The human body can only take so much. I wish I had been nicer to myself.
I was so concerned with failing everyone else around me that I failed myself. I didn't treat myself with respect. I didn't ask for help when I was having vomit-inducing panic attacks. I was alive, but I was barely living.
This summer has taught me some important life lessons that I will definitely be taking with me as I enter my last year of college.
Strive for greatness, but remember that you are already great.
Be nice to yourself.
Taking a break every once in a while isn't a luxury; it's a necessity.
Listen to your body. If your heart is in it but your body is not, then don't do it.
You are only human, and that's good enough. I wish I had told myself this three months ago.