Living A Life Of Stable Instability

Living A Life Of Stable Instability

Life Post-College, And The Reminder To Keep Pushing Onward
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Almost every morning, upon waking up, I struggle to find the meaning in life. Yet, every morning, against the mind’s hazy desire to remain stationary, buried by the warmth of my comforter, I will myself to get up and move onward, into the day.

I rise, and follow through with a morning ritual that has changed little over the years—only has become more involved. Put the filled kettle of water on the stove, grind the coffee beans while awaiting the kettle’s whistle, cook two eggs, toast two slices of bread, prep the avocado, tomato, greens, then assemble the sandwich. Silence the kettle, and pour the boiling water over the freshly ground coffee. Steep, remove the filter and used coffee. Pour. This, now, is the most recent rendition of that ritual.

On Mondays, I water the plants scattered around my house. Laundry is tended to, as well as some cleaning. Eventually, should I have the money, I may leave my house to go grocery shopping. The time that is left open in-between these acts is filled with reading, attempting to write, and the search for a stable job.

This, mostly, is how my days off go.

Slowly, as the days pass by, turn into new months, I feel the growth of anxiety spreading throughout my mind. I’ll be twenty-six this year, and though it’s young in the grander scheme of life, I feel as if life is passing me by.

There are mornings when this thought becomes heavy and renders me immobile. Each day has become, more or less, the same. I look forward to my morning routine that I’ve honed, but once the morning has ended, it is hard to hold onto hope for much else to occur. I go to work. I come home. I repeat.

Time feels as if it has come undone, and I’m reliving the same series of events time and again.

Unsure as I am as to when things will change, I push onward. Go on with the morning routine, then the day, then the night. Each time I try to change the history of my life, it tends to repeat itself. Quite a few people have told me that I have to make things happen for myself; we must carve out our own pathways.

I believe this, and for a time it seemed to work. But the past few years have been a horrific struggle with depression, with anxiety, with loneliness, and it was only recently that one of those three issues has subsided, or transformed; I’m fearful for the day that I must share living space with another. There are days when I feel as if I’m a fish, hooked, and the more I fight, the more I struggle, the deeper the hook sinks, the closer I come to the surface of something terrifying.

The most stable and consistent aspect of my life is the instability and inconsistency I experience.

I push onward though through the uncertainty, into the unknown.

At times, when I was younger, I would have a recurring dream that I was stranded on a boat in the middle of some great body of water. Fog shrouded my sight. Waves rocked the boat, violently. Fear constricted my lungs, making it hard to breathe. This dream—nightmare—persisted for years. When I was about fifteen, this was the last time I can recall having the dream.

All previous occasions, I sat in the rocking boat, below the deck in the small cabin, and cried as water slowly poured into the boat as it washed over the sides. This final time was different. I felt fear, and I cried, but then I stopped and walked up the short flight of stairs to the deck. Without seeing any distant lights, hearing any distant noises, I moved. I pulled the sail—which I didn’t realize I knew how to do—and began sailing the small watercraft through the fog, over the swells, off into the distance.

There was no way for me to know how long I’d be moving through the fog, or if I’d run ashore, hit something and sink. All I knew was that I couldn’t remain still, or else I’d drown. So I moved. And, remembering this dream, I will move again.

Cover Image Credit: Coty Poynter

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

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


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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The Lazy Girl's Guide To The Gym

Also, everything else you should know if you're a slightly out-of-shape girl (like me).

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With my freshman year coming to an end, I realized a lot of things. I made new friends, I found new hobbies, and I learned a lot of lessons. One of them being that the "Freshman 15" is very real and very scary.

While my friends and family have attempted multiple times to convince me that I'm just being dramatic (I am), I still want to make a change in my lifestyle or I will, in all seriousness, be on track to the "Sophomore 20".

Here is a list of my best gym and healthy lifestyle tips that I am slowly attempting to live by this summer in order to resurrect Emily's 18-year-old body and health.

1. Increase water intake.

2. Find a gym buddy.

3. Start off with cardio.

4. Don't stop on your cardio until you're dripping in sweat.

5. Chug a LOT of water an hour before the gym.

Do not do it right before, or you will be in pain.

6. Eat light beforehand but just enough to hold you over. 

7. Plan out what your routine will be BEFORE you get there.

My routine: Elliptical for a mile, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, ab HIIT workout for 10 minutes, 5 more minutes on Stairmaster.

8. Buy healthy foods while you're feeling motivated.

9. Find a gym that isn't too far from your house. 

10. Don't get mad at yourself if you don't see results in a day.

I know this is a hard one.

11. Try fitness classes. 

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