I am Struggling

More than anything, I want to be real and raw with you all. My purpose of this site is to promote a healthy, balanced life. A normal life is nowhere near ‘perfect’, in fact, it is the exact opposite. A normal life has both ups and downs, there are good days and bad, there are highs and lows. That is life. And right now, life is getting the best of me.

Where to begin? Let me start with school: In my biology class I have been assigned a presentation that also calls for a corresponding powerpoint, I have a literature review paper, and I have to write my own scientific experiment paper on a recent three-week lab we did. Did I mention I haven’t been able to figure out how to write a scientific experiment paper? Or that all the examples I have found use heavy, non-understandable science language? Then there is anthropology where we have an upcoming test on a large array of material (including 20 different essay questions of which we don’t know which we will be asked until we are taking the actual test). After that comes college algebra in which we are working on logarithms. They have always been confusing for me, although they’re getting easier. However, the lengthy, daily assignments that take me over an hour to complete don’t make life any easier. Lastly is my advanced comp class in which I need to write a 20 page argument paper for…enough said. On top of all of this is the echoing call sent to me from the millions of scholarships that are out there that I should be filling out, but just haven’t had time for. However that doesn’t include my scholarship essay for The King’s College, which I have been working on endlessly, for the possibility of obtaining a full-ride for four years in NYC. The essay is about complete, but next comes the transforming it into a speech, memorizing it, and then creating a corresponding powerpoint. Talk about pressure.

School aside, there is my health to deal with: I am still in the early stages of eating disorder recovery. However, I have been doing some back-tracking lately. I’m the victim of a recurring cycle entailing trying to restrict my intake of food, only to starve, and end up binging on a large amount of food at once. Then, I feel guilty for eating lots and so I restrict and overexercise only to repeat the cycle on a loop. Some days I am on top of the world and food is a piece of cake, but I have been having more of the latter these past couple of weeks. The holidays are on their way as well, and we all know that that means food heaven, however for me, that could mean the exact opposite. As I said in my last post, I have been challenging my disorder a lot as I am getting much stronger, however, I am only human, and I fail. My latest struggle, when I am able to eat foods I wouldn’t normally, or eat more than usual, includes me feeling guilty and ashamed for whatever it was that I ate, or the amount; I feel that I didn’t deserve it, that I am going to ruin my body image, or that I need to go to the gym. Body image has been an especially tough issue. It is so funny though, as I never judge others for their bodies. If any of my friends or sisters gained or lost 20 pounds, I would love them the same. Their bodies don’t matter to me, it is their hearts. I love all body types, and I am an advocate for body positivity…so why do I hold myself up to such a high standard? Going back to my feelings of guilt: experiencing this after eating can become an even bigger issue at times because occasionally I’ll then go into a hypoactive state where I slow down and don’t want to do much. When I overeat, or undereat and have no energy, I often only want to go to sleep or just sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing because am not able to process my feelings at that moment. This issue isn’t only dangerous in itself, but it is amplified when that effects the fact that I have multiple papers with approaching deadlines that need to get worked on, and many other important tasks to do.

Loneliness has been a large contributor to life lately as well. It is something I have dealt with for quite some time now. I have come to terms with the fact that it will be like this until college, I just don’t fit into the mold of the lifestyle around here, I live my life in a very different fashion. However, it can still be hard. When you’re having a tough day, and don’t feel as though you have anyone to talk to about it, it is not easy. Now, everyone knows that I am a very sociable person. I get along really well with all the kids my age, and I do have a few good relationships with people in Hibbing. I also have some great friendships with some others from different places, such as Duluth. However, not having a best friend, or even a really close friend that you feel you can text at just anytime of anyday, that one person who gets you more than anyone else, that can be very, mentally hard.

How much harder could my life get, right? Well, let’s throw in the small factor that there are only 24 hours within a day, only 7 days a week, and only 4 weeks in a month. November is jam-packed for this girl. I have my 18th birthday, my father’s birthday, my niece’s birthday, and my grandma’s birthday. I have begun to tutor everyday Monday through Thursday. I have a gynecologist appointment, an oral consult for my wisdom teeth, and an endoscopy. Within the next two weeks, I have to get all the the homework gathered for my New York trip, and finished, before I leave (the dates of my trip have changed to November 29th through December 7th, which means I am now missing 8 days of school as I am staying in Minneapolis through the 10th for a concert). I have a Friendsgiving party to attend, oh, and of course you cannot forget Thanksgiving itself, along with Black Friday. Most of the papers I talked about earlier are due within the next two to three weeks as well. I have much happening in Key Club, where I am the treasurer, and was recently named the VP of National Honors Society. Imagine trying to take all of that, and balancing it with sleep and having a life… It is tough. I have so much to accomplish, yet I still enjoy spending time with my family. It is a pretty hard question to ask yourself if you should have dinner with a friend or stay home to study, when you have to sacrifice writing for your blog to finish up a paper that is screaming for a conclusion, when you want to take your sister out for coffee but you have a scholarship that is due tomorrow. If I want to still have a social life, I am putting myself at risk for not finishing all my work and getting scholarships done in time. If I want to succeed in all my classes and not have to pay much for college, I lose the possibility of making memories with my friends and family.

The last little devil on my shoulder is house-work. I am an extreme neat-freak; an “everything needs to be spotless and I need it all to be perfect” kind-of-girl. My mom is currently on shift work, so she barely has time to be home. When she is she either needs to shovel, do laundry, cook, pay bills, or occasionally take the breaks that are WELL-DESERVED by going out in the hot-tub or watching Netflix on the couch. With Lizzy either at school or playing sports, that puts me in the position to be the maid of this castle. Everyday I need to do the dishes, keep the kitchen clean, sweep, and occasionally mop and vacuum. When the snow gets bad, I have to shovel, or when the laundry is out of hand, I have to fold and put it away. I try and keep the garbages empty, the counters clear, the shelves dusted, the shoes neatly aligned, the fridge stocked, the bathrooms sanitary… you get the picture.

So that is where I am in life at the moment. Sticking all of this into the brain of a girl who has OCD and feels the need to control everything and have a set schedule where everything fits and makes sense…it is not a piece of cake. I always have to do everything to the best of my ability; it needs to be perfect, or not at all. I have a black or white view sometimes where I need to work on remembering that life is a spectrum. I just haven’t known what to do these days, or how to handle this all. I am only 17, and not a superhero. I’ve been flustered and overwhelmed. I was ashamed of this up until just days ago because I tend to fall into the mindset that I need to be perfect and have it all together. After pouring all of this out, it took only a small reassurance from a very important person in my life to remind me that it is okay to have a season of life like this-everyone does. It is okay to struggle, and cry; to not always have it all together. Life is not a perfect journey, it is a roller coaster.

One of my favorite reassurances in The Bible is Matthew 6:25-34. Verse 25 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”. Then verse 27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?”. The entire chunk is is all about how to deal with anxiety and worry. Every time I am struggling with food, my body image, worrying about school work, or life in general, this is where I run. I strongly encourage you to also check out these verses if you are struggling with anxiety and need somewhere to look for hope.

So friends, if you are like me and you’re having a hard time in life, or something has got you down…maybe you feel like a failure, I want to be the person to say that it will all turn out okay. It is okay to be in a low, to feel like a failure, to be overwhelmed, to cry a little (or a lot), to not know what to do, not know where to turn, to need a little bit of hope, to ask for some help. It is okay to not have it all together all the time! Nobody is perfect nor were we made to be. This is me telling you that you have permission, and you deserve, to take a warm bath, eat a few cookies, throw on a Hallmark movie, and just relax. Take a deep breath, give yourself a bit of a break, and tomorrow morning, when you are feeling better and on top of the game, you can tackle life head on.

One thought on “I am Struggling

  1. We are here anytime you need to get away. I am here anytime you need to talk, and I mean anytime. I am going to leave my number in your messages on FB.
    FYI, you are an incredible writer. It was easy to feel the anxiety and saddness you were experiencing as you wrote this. I look forward to reading everything you write.
    We love you Serena!

    Liked by 1 person

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