Stop Reading This Article

I’m serious. Stop now while you can. Stop reading this article. You aren’t necessarily ready to hear what I have to say.

I like how you think. Tell someone not to do something and they'll do it. Hell, when thinking of things to write I said, “don’t write this article.” So here we are.

Why should you stop reading this article? You have shit to do. There are things to get done: studying to do, family to talk to, friends to hang out with, places to see, errands to run, people to remind that you love them. When it’s out in a list like that it feels pretty crushing, right? I did tell you not to read this, but you didn’t listen. So…

You need to find that motivation to do all of those things you aren’t doing right now, even though you’re so exhausted from life‘s pressures. Why? If you don’t get over the procrastination that led you to click on this article, you’re going to end up where I've been.

Don’t pick up that text book. Don’t go through your notes. Forget school altogether.

I didn’t put in the studying this semester that I should have and I’m disappointed in my grades. They aren’t horrible but they aren’t up to my standard, and it wasn’t some marking conspiracy: I deserved the grades I got. I can’t be mad at a professor because I procrastinated and didn’t try hard enough. But there are still exams and another semester, still time to fix it.

Don’t text back when your parents message you. Don’t go to your best friend’s birthday party. Don’t call your grandparents even though you promised you would.

I haven’t been talking to my family as much as I want to, so I feel distant from a lot of the people I care about. This applies to my friends, too. I’ve ignored a lot of people and forgotten my responsibility to them because “I’m having a hard time.” But so are they and, from experience, I know taking people for granted does not guarantee they will be there when you come back. In fact, I’ve walked away from a lot of people because they took off when I needed them. Frankly, I’ve been a bad friend. I’ve been a bad granddaughter/cousin/niece/daughter. We’re all bad somethings sometimes, but it’s up to you to be better and to come back.

Don’t leave bed today. Don’t go for a walk. Don’t see any of the places you love for months.

I haven’t gone exploring as much as I used to so I’m miserable. I feel starved, caged… like I’m going feral. I don’t take walks anymore and when I do it’s with the purpose of getting to a destination. I haven’t been visiting my favourite parks or my favourite coffee shops. I haven’t done my thrifting circuit in ages. I haven’t been to Museum London to look at the art in even longer. I’m abandoning the things that make me happy because “I’m busy.” The world stopped being exciting. Not on its own, but because I stopped searching for the excitement.

Don’t go grocery shopping. Don’t pay those bills. Don’t pick up your medication.

I don’t remember the last time I went to the grocery store—and no, I don’t count buying a snack from the campus grocer as grocery shopping. I’ve put off errands and only completed them when my only other option was studying. I’ve stopped all my chores and self care: I stopped doing my dishes, taking showers, remembering to take my medication. I embraced the slob monster and watched Netflix because “I’m exhausted.” Yet the “I’m worried” and “can we clean the kitchen please” texts would pour in and I’d try to come back.

Don’t tell them you love them.

I stopped telling most of the people I love just how much I love them. I tell my parents and my boyfriend—I don’t tell my best friends or cousins or grandparents or the person who needs to hear it. Instead, I’ve pushed. I’ve stopped checking in. I’ve stopped letting myself be vulnerable because radio silence to an “I love you” text is gut-wrenching, even if you know they love you too.

And here’s my big “excuse”: it’s because “I’m depressed.” Because it’s harder for me to do these things than people who don’t have chemical imbalances or whatever. Because getting out of my house is harder than it is for most people.

But so what? We all have something holding us back from being our best selves. You’ve got your own demons to beat, too.

So don’t fight back. Don’t listen to the kind voices. Don’t believe that this is only temporary.

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