I feel like it's probably important to start this article off by saying I have no clue where exactly I'm hoping to go with this but I do know that I have a lot on my heart that I feel compelled to be share with whoever feels like taking the time to listen. For those of you that know me, I'm sure some of you have noticed that I've been taking a break from writing recently or maybe you haven't but hey either way surprise I'm back. Well I've actually really been taking a break from almost everything since mid-November. For the past five months I've been on this sort of nonchalant but also awkwardly intense journey to loving myself and understanding myself better. I feel like even though self-love seems to be something that is constantly posted about it's always very fluffy. I want to leave out the fluff in this mostly because there isn't much to be gained from fluff and I guess that I want someone who chooses to read this to gain something.
My first semester of college was hands down the hardest thing that I experienced. While there were a lot of good things that came out of it there were also lots of things that I didn't realize about myself that I was having to face for the first time. As first semester went on I became more aware of how much my negative thought life was affecting me and I really didn't know what to do about it for a few months. I was watching my responsibilities slip through my fingers and watching myself become more and more closed off to the world of opportunity around me. I felt so helpless.
All of this being said, I realized that I was not putting out content on Odyssey that I was proud of. My content on my previous page was depressive and hopeless and I hated that that was the image I was projecting of myself online. I knew deep down that even though I felt depressed and helpless that wasn't what I wanted to find my overall identity in. I realized that by taking time away from content creating I would be able to improve myself which would hopefully improve my content when I chose to come back. So now that I've sort of explained a little about why I left I would like to share a tiny piece of what I learned while I was gone.
It was around November that I realized I couldn't get to where I wanted to be on my own. I spent a lot of time praying about what the next steps were to getting my life back and becoming grounded again in who I am. I started going to counseling on my college campus and let me tell you: it changed my life. Counseling is so underrated. I highly recommend you check it out if you feel lead. I know I said that I wanted to leave out the fluff so I think that it's important that I mention that counseling is a lot of hard work if you're serious about getting better.
One of the biggest things that I learned during my time in counseling was that there should not be shame in transparency, so that's kind of why I'm putting this out there online for whoever finds it to read. Adjusting to college can be really difficult and so can struggling with a mental illness but I feel like students need to hear that it's perfectly normal to struggle with both of those things. However, it's not normal to struggle on your own because you don't need to. There are people around you that care; you may just not know them yet. There are resources on your campus that you can lean into. If you're a person of faith I really encourage you to lean into your faith.
Like I said before, counseling is so underrated and I highly recommend that you try it out especially if you've been nervous to. There's nothing to lose when it comes to taking healthy steps to loving yourself. If this is a struggle you're currently dealing with I want to personally encourage you to go out and find your people, even if you don't think their out there: they are. Put yourself out there, go to campus resources: they're there because they're deeply needed. Continue to lean on your faith: you're fearfully and wonderfully made. And most importantly stop being embarrassed. Don't let anyone influence the way you feel about getting help and finding community. Don't let anyone make you feel less for taking healthy steps and gaining control of your life again.
*If you used to follow my Odyssey articles I'm sure you've noticed that this is a total new page and I get to start fresh which is really exciting to me. I'm hoping to write bi-weekly and can't wait to start sharing content with y'all again. But if you are looking for one of my older pieces the link to my old page is in my profile.*