When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Heart Palpitations

The past two weeks have been particularly tough. During this time I’ve felt as though when one personal problem would end, two more would take its place. On top of this, my school work has piled on me with tests, assignments, extracurricular responsibilities, a presentation that has real-life implications and the list goes on even further. And I know I’m not the only college kid that feels overwhelmed right now—we all do—yet somehow my imposter syndrome always shows its teeth and I feel as if I am the only one that is incompetent and struggling. 


But throughout this there has been a shining silver lining: that no matter how much the universe piles on, I am dealing with it all head on, and succeeding in doing so. This is a big deal for me; it’s been a rough year (no kidding) and I’ve spent the majority of it licking my wounds and avoiding anything that could make things worse. So recently I’ve been choosing the hard things and learning to be tough again, even though my heart is beating out of my chest in the process. 


Some of it isn’t even that bad in practice. The other day I spent hours dreading and worrying over a phone call that ended really well and took maybe five minutes in total. And before that, I had such a stupid amount of anxiety over a presentation that my Google searches consisted of questions like “How to stop a panic attack,” yet it ended up going a lot better than I expected and even dared to feel proud of myself afterwards. It would be great if I could know this in the beginning, that it’s not as bad as it seems. I like to think of myself as an optimistic nihilist but truthfully I am a pessimist who believes every little thing matters—a lot. So these little victories—that often manifest themselves in a sigh of relief before moving onto the next task—have been feeling really good lately. 


Though as a pessimist, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop: For someone to deliver me bad news, for some brain juice imbalance to mess with my mood, for literally anything to happen that will yet again put me back at square one. So it’s in times like this where it is integral to remember that the past cannot be erased, and even if this all goes to hell tomorrow I will still have made these accomplishments. Instead of a bad day hitting the reset button it will actually be me going on sleep mode until I’m ready to get moving again (ignoring the fact that this is a dehumanizing metaphor). 


Overall, I would like to feel like I didn’t always exist in one extreme at a time, with one side feeling unable to get even the smallest task accomplished and the other feeling the need to get everything done before time runs out. I don’t really know how to go about finding a good and lasting balance between the two, but I am looking forward to figuring it out—hopefully sooner rather than later.