We All Get A Little Lost Sometimes

We All Get A Little Lost Sometimes

Disclaimer: This self-silhouette picture is totally not from like, 2013, and I totally didn't take it while blasting Twenty One Pilots outside of my garage.

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Who's ready to get a little emotionally detached for a second? I feel like it's that time of year where we're are in a bit of a mental funk. Actually, maybe you're like me and you've been in this weird bit of time where it seems like nothing is happening.

As a freshman in college, there's bound to be some identity crisis with time flying by seemingly fast. For me, I started the summer not really worrying about the upcoming transition to college. I was really enjoying my time off and didn't really go full out with the whole "let me plan the whole year out immediately, like right now, no sleep until I have the next four years planned out." Then I got hit by the whole panic of actually going to college and spent all of August panicking and drowning; August was rough, no lie.

But after I completed the transition from just getting off the adrenaline overdose from the rollercoaster that is high school, I settled into this middle road of not knowing what I was doing but knowing I needed to keep working. In other words, I know there's a life goal that I am actively working towards, but time doesn't feel right now. It's November? Huh? Even now, I feel like I'm just stuck in this weird moment of "in between."

I think part of that is being in college; it doesn't feel real. And part of THAT part is living in the same town as my college and not having left this town for about 16 years. I went to pre-K ten minutes from campus and spent my childhood running around the Chemistry Department at UGA as my parents both worked on their post-doctorate and masters. I've been here for so long, nothing seems new anymore. It just seems like a continuous cycle with not much changing. But hey, this seems to be the path that life has set out for me, so I don't really have any choice but to follow it. It's the only sense of direction that I feel I have.

This isn't a full-out complaint though. There is some convenience and advantage that comes with being so at home and familiar with my environment. For one, I was lucky to not be thrown into an ocean of "new" when starting college. Just a lake.

Needless to reiterate, I'm feeling lost, like my head is up in the clouds. I'm figuring out what I have the freedom to feel and invest in, but I know I can't sacrifice too much mind power to that balance of work and play. And just so I can work in that weekly reference to Ariana Grande, I just gotta keep breathin.

So to anyone else feeling that winter weather slowing your soul, keep your head up and carry on. We've all been there. Don't let it drag you down too far, but let it be a lesson to keep working up to the top of the mountain. You'll know you've reached the summit where you reach happiness and satisfaction in what you've accomplished and worked towards. It doesn't have to a huge life milestone. Maybe it's a small internal goal, but it's still monumental.

If you can picture your self, zoom out on you, on your home, on your city, on your country, and on Earth. Take a second and look around the galaxy. Look how much there is. Now zoom back in. Look how small we are. We are all inconsequential, theoretically. But it's the happiness and meaning we achieve in our non-lost moments that make us the most important beings to exist. Grab on to those things that keep you grounded and come back down to earth. They'll keep your gravity intact, as long as you remember to hold on.

Okay, I think I've made it very obvious that I wrote this article at 2:17 am on a Friday night.

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An Open Letter To My Fears

Sorry to say, I'm not scared anymore.
Haley
Haley
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Hello. Yes, you. You know who you are, what you are, what you did. You know the everlasting grip you have on me, halting my breathing every time I approached you.

I'm sorry to say, not anymore.

From that day, you have always controlled me. All those times I missed out on outings, because I needed to avoid you. Every night's rest, halted from the nightmares you plagued on me. Every time my lungs collapsed and I couldn't breath due to the fear coursing through my veins.

I'm sorry to say, not anymore.

I remember that time I first noticed you, watching over my shoulder. I can still feel the chills crawling down my body, and I froze. Unaware and clueless at how to act. Can I get rid of you? Simply, close my eyes and wish you away. Will everything then get better? However, this was never a true possibility.

I'm sorry to say, not anymore.

Now, you are no longer an ever-fixed mark on my soul. I am free. I could never find the right words to say, the right actions to take to stop you from controlling me. I was stuck.

I'm sorry to say, not anymore.

I am grown up. I live in a world now where you are a luxury we cannot afford. We must be strong. In the past, I could hide in my you. Use you as an excuse to forget, to avoid, to close up. You were my evil crutch, supporting me every step of the way. Whether I wanted you to or not.

I'm sorry to say, not anymore.

I am strong. I can no longer depend on the fear to keep me from living. I must be free. You used to haunt my every memory. Stop the new ones from forming. Scare away those dear to me. You, tried to destroy me. And, you almost did.

I'm sorry to say, not anymore.

I am a warrior. I no longer fear because I do not need fear. You are not a crutch I require to walk, I can run on my own two feet. I can go through life without looking over my shoulder. I can go be myself without you casting a shadow over me. I can live.

You used to be all I knew.

Controlling everything.

You were everything.

But, I'm proud to say,

Not ANYMORE.

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." -H. P. Lovecraft
Cover Image Credit: Pexels
Haley
Haley

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Please Know That Being Diagnosed With PCOS Is Not The Same As Living With It

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2018, but it wasn't until months later that I realized what it’s actually like living with it everyday.

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In October 2017, tired of counting calories and never seeing the scale move, I decided to try the latest fad diet: Keto.

It worked.

I lost almost 40 pounds in half the time it had taken to lose 20. I had lost nearly 10 inches from waist and hips. I went from a size 18 to a size 12.

Getting into ketosis was hard, but once I was there, I felt incredible: better mental clarity and focus, astronomical amounts of energy, regular body functions. Don't get me wrong, this diet is hard. No carbs, no colorful vegetables, no pasta. The struggle was real. But what it was doing for my body was worth it.

Except for one little thing: my periods had lost their minds. I'm talking bleeding for three weeks straight, no break. Coming and going in particular pattern, sometimes twice a month. Side note: this is not normal. In the world of Keto, it's supposed to help exponentially with fertility and hormone balances; people use this diet as a way to reverse hormone imbalances, PCOS, and infertility. This was virtually unheard of in all of my support groups.

Months and months go by with no relief. My doctor can't figure out why everything is so wonky. She takes me off the pill and things get better - slightly. Any improvement at this point was a victory.

She finally gets my ultrasounds back and she says "Well that's a surprise!" Cue my questioning look of confusion. "Umm care to share?" "Your ovaries have the characteristic look of PCOS. But you don't have any of the usual symptoms. I'm guessing the Keto diet was helping in it's own way. I recommend staying on the diet, let nature re-regulate your natural hormones, and we will re-evaluate in a few months."

I was frustrated, but this was totally do-able. I had been living this lifestyle for months, so I didn't foresee it as an issue. But then my kidneys starting reacting to the diet, and that doctor recommended I come off it. Obviously I wasn't going to jeopardize my health, so I started a low carb version of the Mediterranean diet.

I went in fully expecting to gain some weight back, because I was reintroducing carbs when I had gone largely without them for over a year. I knew that this would happen, and I didn't let myself get discouraged when the scale started going forward.

What I did not expect was to have my PCOS start running lose with my entire life and sanity.

Don't get me wrong — my periods were normal again, but everything else went AWOL. My hormones were going up and down of their own volition, we are talking sobbing hysterically over a butterfly commercial one minute and then fuming with anger over a car ad the next.

I started experiencing pelvic pain that feels like cramps only not all the time and without rhyme or reason.

My hair became uncontrollably oily to the point where I had to wash it everyday like clockwork; it started to thin and fall out.

I also started getting darker hair everywhere. I'm naturally an incredibly fair-skinned person so having black hair anywhere stands out like a sore thumb.

I felt like I wasn't in control of anything going on with my body. I felt like a hairy, unattractive monster. Everything that made me feel attractive and desirable was slowly being taken away from me piece by piece.

I had been living with PCOS for nearly six months, but I hadn't realized what it was like to actually live with it. I thought it was just irregular periods, but it is so much more than just a weird period.

I went back to the doctor, and she explained to me again how PCOS works, and how she didn't think traditional treatment options were the best thing for me. "Go back on the Keto diet. You were having incredible success with managing your symptoms. Go back to that."

Going back has not been easy. When I first started Keto, it wasn't easy, but I got into it quickly. I've been trying since January 12th to get back into it, and it hasn't worked.

I'm now in a place where I need to do it — for my health, for my sanity, for my self-esteem — and I physically can't. I do exactly everything the same as before, and it's not working. I'm trying to move away from the mentality of doing it for weight loss, and move toward positive thinking about how it's what's best for my body and my health.

My PCOS has forced me to have militant control over everything I eat. I can't simply enjoy food anymore. Everything that I chose to eat directly relates back to my PCOS and what that particular food can do for me. I think about everything that I put into my body, and the potential it has for either healing my body or harming it.

I see a piece of cake and I smell it, and picture in my mind what it tastes like. But I know that if I eat that piece of cake, I will bloat, get a stomach ache, and have to start back from square one the next day.

I cut out the carbs. I say no to cake. No potatoes. No pasta. I eat only green vegetables. I drink coffee that has nothing but heavy cream. I try to do intermittent fasting for 15 hours a day.

And I hope that it works. I hope that today will be the day I can get my life back on track. That today will be the day Keto works its magic.

I hope.

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