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Wellness > Mental Health

The Cycle Breaks, For My Mental Health

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

6:45 am on a Monday morning, the alarm goes off, and the cycle begins. It continues in five minute increments until 7:50.

7:52 am, getting stuff packed and walking outside.

7:57 am, reaches the crosswalk with five seconds left on the walk sign, so I wait.

8:00 am, I reach the second crosswalk with 20 seconds counting down so I stroll on through.

8:03 am, I reach the painting studio and sit in my seat.

There are no feelings of motivation now, as my eyes drupe and my heart sinks deeper inside my chest. There lies nothing behind my eyes except fire… the fire that rises with feelings of being burnt out. “You just have to make it to the end of class and you can go home and rest,” are the words I repeated to myself multiple times until I believed it. I never believed it.

8:15 am, I begin working on the encaustic painting of a young boy who died and looked happy in his portrait. I aspire to live a life where in the end, I can say I was happy.

10:20 am, we cleaned up and it’s time to go home.

10:28 am, I reach the front steps to the Rutledge building patiently waiting for my body and soul to reach my room inside.

10:31 am, my shoes are off and I’ve reached the bed and say to myself “rest, you need it,” but I get up and I eat. I get lost in the anxiety of not having all of my work done and ahead of schedule, so the work begins. All of a sudden, I look up and it’s 1:00 pm. I let out a sigh of dissatisfaction as I whip up a quick lunch. I change my clothes and put on shoes.

1:20 pm, I walk out of the back steps to my car and leave for work.

1:32 pm, I reach work dreading the 2:00 pm clock in because I am running on less than no sleep and all of my feelings are moot.

1:45 pm, I walk in to see my coworkers and wait until the 2:30 pm program start time. From then on until 6:00pm, I hide my feelings. I don’t put them on the kids, and I work with a smile on my face.

6:00 pm, my alarm goes off. Now I’m begging my descent into the harsh and bleak reality that is ahead (I drive back to campus).

6:15 pm, I reach my lot and walk up the back steps to my apartment.

6:20 pm, I get inside, take off my shoes, and wait for a thought to pop in my head as to what I will eat for dinner. Air seems to be the easiest answer. If it weren’t for the external voice (being my boyfriend) telling me I needed to eat actual food, air would have been the answer.

6:30 pm, I make and eat dinner.

7:30ish pm, everything is cleaned up and I return to my room with the thought of just hiding under the covers.

7:35 pm, I’m at my desk doing homework because there’s too much of it.

7:37 pm, a text pops up on my Macbook reading, “Do you want to go out with us tonight?” No emotions are felt when reading this, but I start to type back, “Yeah for sure.”

11:30 pm, I get ready for bed.

11:45 pm, I am in bed staring at the ceiling. I finally close my eyes and drift off…somewhere between 12:30 and 2 am…8:00 am on Tuesday morning, the alarm goes off. 

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

60+ College Life Quotes to Get You through the School Year, www.seventeen.com/life/school/a28799474/college-life-quotes/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2024.

How are you feeling right now? I bet a lot of you may have said “I’m okay” or “I’m fine.” But you’re not and I wasn’t either, as you can see from my life schedule. How happy are you – really (which is an article you should also read)? It would be a lie to say I felt 100% better right now, because I don’t, but I definitely feel more like myself again.

We live during a time where doing a whole lot at the same time or in a short time frame is deemed normal. We’re young adults so we can handle it, right? We are college kids, it’s all supposed to be doable, but sometimes it’s just not. I’ve been juggling going to class, going to work, unfortunate things that happen in life as a human being, and keeping up social appearances because “I’m not lame.”

“Do it for the plot” is the attitude I had freshman year, and it carried into sophomore year, but it’s going into retirement (not completely though, don’t worry). Life is A LOT to handle. I was repeating the same cycle everyday, but I wasn’t living. It wasn’t life, or at least it shouldn’t have been. I made the tough decision to switch it up for a while and to find myself. I stopped writing articles, I took a step back from going out and being so social. I kept to myself and as hermit crab of me that experience was, it needed to happen. I needed to figure out a way to stop the fire that was brewing inside of me. I needed to put it out, so I did. Thanks to the yoga class at Studio Fire that Her Campus at South Carolina did, I really got back into it. I, to an extent, forced myself to do it at least every other day. I started drinking more water and just reading for fun. I created a schedule for my classes and the corresponding homework I would get. I continued to remind myself why I was here and what the end goal was. My eyes cleared, I could see it now. 

I stopped saying I was fine or just okay, and started actually accepting those feelings and embodying them. I’m at the point now where if someone were to paint a Fayum Burial style portrait, I would be smiling. I guess the take away from all of this is to just stop pretending. Stop trying to compete to have the best or better college experience. I want you to come back to this article and re-read it. When you get to the self reflecting questions, I don’t want you to say “I’m fine” or “I’m okay.” I want you to even say “I’m great!” We’re all beautiful people who deserve to live beautiful lives. 🙂

Kristen Bryant-Winky Face With Pills
Kristen Bryant / Her Campus