Where Can I Press the Pause Button? Because I Can't Do This Anymore

"Life is not going to stop for you, but you can still press pause even if it is only for a second."

For the past couple of months—since the school year started—I have never felt so overwhelmed in my entire life. I have had enough breakdowns to last me a life time, and I am someone who almost never experiences mental breakdowns.

I always considered myself as being a calm, reasonable individual—a person who does not allow personal baggage to impact his or her professional life. I managed to do this during high school, and I thought it would not be much harder to do the same in university. If I was unhappy in my personal life, I would throw myself into my school work or part-time job as means to distract myself, and as a result, my personal and professional lives never clashed.

But somewhere between working two part-time jobs, studying, and keeping up with extra-curricular activities, I became emotionally distraught. I was always coming home, completely exhausted—emotionally, physically, and mentally. Breakdowns began to occur more frequently, and it started to freak me out. Instead of trying to find a compromise for my mental stability and happiness, and commitments, I chose to ignore my mental and emotional exhaustion.

I invalidated my feelings. I thought I was being over dramatic; I thought I was playing victim to my “first word problems.” At point, I cried to my roommates about how selfish I was being for complaining about my privileged life when children all across the world were dying and trying to stay alive. So, for three more weeks, I continued to overwork myself and neglect my mental well-being.

Until, I had had enough. I simply could not handle everything. I had one big mental breakdown, and I came to the realization that I was failing and my situation would not improve. It took a lot in me to actually admit to myself that I was not good enough, not strong enough to take on the amount of commitment and responsibilities that I was involved in. I had to make some sacrifices.

It has been a full week since quitting one of my part-time jobs and reducing my course load. It has been seven days since I gave myself time to breathe, and I have never been more content. My personal and professional life are a lot more manageable—not perfect, but reasonable. One of my most frequently used phrases during the past few months was, “I can’t do this anymore.” It was always followed by uncontrollable sobbing and unintelligible words. But it was true; I simply could not do it. I had exceeded my limit of sanity, and mental well-being.

Being a university student is difficult; no one told you it was going to be a walk in the park. You knew it, your parents knew it, and your peers knew it. But do not make it harder on yourself by placing unnecessary pressure on your already overwhelmed mental state. Cut yourself some slack because trust me, you are doing better than you are giving yourself credit for.

Nobody is perfect. We are human, and because of that, we are going to disappointment people. It is annoying and extremely frustrating, but it is what it is. All you have to do is take care of yourself because otherwise, shit will hit the fan. If you give yourself some time to actually relax and breathe, even if it is for 24 hours, it will make a huge difference.

Humans have come a long way with technology, science, and medicine. We do not die at 30 anymore—for the most part. Contrary to popular belief, we have a lot of time to figure things out. So, stop trying to cram your whole life into one semester because it will end very badly. You have time, stop trying to rush everything. Take on what you can, and stop trying to beat time because you are going to fail. Life is not going to stop for you, but you can still press pause even if it is only for a second.

You didn’t start running before you took your first steps, did you? My point exactly. 

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