There are many times in life when you feel like your world is falling apart. February was certainly that time for me.
The difficulty in my life escalated into depression, making everything seem impossible to do or accomplish.
I couldn’t get out of bed.
I was sleeping too much for the kind of busy life I have. I was falling behind in school and in all my projects. I was crying just about every single day. I didn’t have much of an appetite. I nearly dropped out of school, and I was beginning to give up on myself because I felt miserable.
Honestly, this was not the time for me to be going through any kind of issue, given it wasn’t even the middle of the semester, and this is the year I plan to graduate.
I’m sure we’ve all been through something like this at some point or another. For me, this miserable feeling has crept up on me every semester, usually near finals.
But this time — it was different.
I, honestly, didn’t want to exist.
My depression slowed me down immensely, and the moment I would try anything, I would mess it up. I felt like such a failure in life that I was causing too much trouble for everyone around me. I felt like everybody’s life would’ve been much better if I wasn’t here. After all, I just kept messing everything up like some kind of uncontrollable tornado just tearing up people’s homes and workspaces.
And although I may not share the exact details of my personal struggle, I’m sure it is noticeable from my photos that what I’m going through is not easy. I’ve been feeling lifeless with negative thoughts throbbing inside my head, tearing me down because of the issues I am too scared to confront.
I started going to therapy in the beginning of the semester, which seems like such a taboo thing to do in my culture.
But getting emotional care is just as important as physical care, because like I talked about in my January essay, the emotional will cause problems in the physical.
One thing I learned through therapy is that I tend to run and hide from my problems.
For instance, I keep myself extremely busy and think that’ll help me disregard my emotions, when in reality 1) I get more stressed and 2) once I wind down from my hectic day, the emotions sink in and become a reality.
I didn’t realize that part of the process is sitting in my sh-t in order to feel those ugly emotions.
It’s kind of like having a dirty house. You have to recognize that it’s dirty and you may have to go through a few days living in your house with a big ole’ mess because you are too tired to clean up, but once you do, you have to kind of make an even bigger mess to make it spotless, especially if you want a good spring cleaning.
Luckily, I’ve been pushing myself every single day, even on the days when I feel worthless. I somehow manage to tap into a part of me that gives me the will to fight, giving me the will to be honest with myself, be assertive, and most importantly, be loving to myself.
I keep pushing and pulling to do the work that needs to be done, even when I don’t believe in myself.
But if I don’t believe in myself, then how am I able to change my direction?
Part of changing my direction cued into practicing self-awareness.
I had to be aware of my thoughts, my emotions and my actions. Sometimes practicing awareness meant sitting in my misery, making graphs to help analyze the situation or tuning into my senses and just breathing.
A few things helped me through this month: I started crawling out of my isolated cave by reaching out to my supportive and loving friends, family and a couple of mentors.
Going out of town also helped me.
I had to go out of town twice this month for two conference meetings in oceanic San Diego and peaceful Albuquerque. It was at these meetings where I practiced my courage and certitude. I couldn’t be shy Perla. I had to be a strong, well-spoken mujer while still being humble as others spoke.
Although the meetings I went to were intense, I managed to get some kind of break to breathe and practice loving myself.
Another great thing that has helped is taking the advice a beautiful friend of mine who told me that for times when I’m feeling down and times when I’m punishing myself and having a hard time making a decision, to tap into my wisest 100-year-old self.
Pretty hard to imagine yourself living up to 100 years, right? (I hope I’m a healthy 100-year-old woman.) Although it sounds funny, this trick really helped me near the end of this month.
Next thing I knew, if I told myself I couldn’t do something, I would tap into 100-year-old Perla and instantly receive an abundance of love and support.
This old Perla is so gentle with me, full of wisdom. I tap into her with initial hesitation because I think I want to continue punishing myself, but once I hear her talking, I can’t help but smile and sometimes cry some tears of relief and joy.
I know, I know. It really sounds funny, perhaps a little weird to have this connection with this sort of fictitious character within me, but I know we all talk to ourselves and sometimes creating this alter ego really helps us succeed in life.
Now, I just go to her whenever I need anything, and all of a sudden, I hear her speak to me in beautiful Spanglish I feel comfortable with.
And she tells me, “It’s going to be okay. ¡Tu si puedes, mijita!”