I’ll just come out and say it — I’ve been a little shit the past 2.5 maybe even 3 years…
Now let me explain. I battle with anxiety and depression and as a result I became tired and dejected. I had been working so hard for so long and couldn’t take it anymore. As a senior in college, long days of striving for my best self had left me drained. As an anxious perfectionist, I never wanted to stray from my comfort zone for fear of not being able to perform at my best. For that reason I avoided many things I felt I wasn’t good at or had the possibility of failing at.
So about 3 years ago I had a total shut down of my mental state. I didn’t want to do much of anything. Everything felt like a chore. I started to drift further from family and friends and who I thought I was… I was not a pleasant person to be around. Hypochondria was the thing I hid behind to keep me “safe” from the things I feared doing. I didn’t want to stir up and uncertainty or risks in my life during this time. So I sat – lonely, bored, and somehow complacent with just being a lump. I watched finished about 3 different Netflix series shows within a 4 month time period. That’s hours on hours of episodes per day.
This state of lazy complacency carried on for the next 3 years. (except I replaced Netflix with sitting in silence and worrying and thinking.)
Today I finally realize what happened…My anxiety allowed my depression to alter my mental state and to live in isolation and sloth-ness, all hidden behind hypochondria as my scape goat in my own mind to get out of almost any event, task, and responsibility I had. I allowed myself to slip. I allowed myself to be late for classes and for gatherings. I didn’t respect my own time, so why would I respect other people’s time?
I still cared about my grades and managed to continue to keep my 4.0* through senior year and 2 years into my graduate school. But, my mind was lazy. I didn’t want to improve, I didn’t perform at my best in school, life, friendships, family relationships…I wasn’t my best self because I allowed to slip into this state of constant bleakness. I saw my future as a blank slate with endless possibilities for myself to fill in the pieces of the puzzle, but doing that exerted too much mental energy so I would shut down and blame the fact that I had no “passions” for my lack of any vision or direction for the future. However, I need to make a distinction here — it was the lack of passion for my life that was the problem. I wasn’t living passionately. Now I see that it was not my situation that was the issue (which from the outside looks pretty darn lucky) but it was my own mental road block. My depression masked my inner self to make it appear I had no passion for life itself. It was easier and caused less friction for me to just ignore the outside world and become a sloth.
Now I will not allow myself to live this way any longer. Life is full of practical problems with creative solutions, so I cannot apply some textbook principle or follow directions to get shit done. School teaches you one thing – to follow directions. Read certain things and you will ace the exam. Memorize. But the real world is nothing like this. These principles can be applied, but anything worth creating needs a creative approach to figure out its solution. I can no longer live with the expectation of having the exact direction to get to the answer because there is no one answer to most things in life. There is no right and wrong choice (leaving out moral issues). If I cannot choose two paths, why not just pick one and go with it to test it out. Living life as a series of personal experiments is the only way to find something that clicks. So I need to stop looking for the right solution by pure analysis and take some action to create something new for myself. Life is tough and in order to thrive I need to take my knowledge, learn even more, and apply that to the problems, tasks, and obstacles in my life. They key here is action. Being in a state of inaction fueled by fear like I did for 3 years was not a very happy existence. I wasn’t the most fun to be around either. And I realize my attitude that things should just come easy to me and expecting certain outcomes because I’m me and I’ve succeeded in the past is an entitled outlook. Not knowing I even had this entitled attitude was the scary part. Past success doesn’t guarantee future success, nor does it entitle me to it.
Dig deep to see what things you could be doing without even realizing it that is holding you back from achieving, succeeding, and living the life you want. Get out of your own way. Stop the excuses and do the work. And stop delaying your life because of your mental road blocks.
*I did get all As except for 1 B+ my first year in Graduate School.