Falling in February

There are many times in life when you feel like your world is falling apart. February was certainly that time for me.

Losing my breath Photo by Perla Farias Losing my breath
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Part of the process Photo by Perla Farias Part of the process
Photo by Perla Farias

 

Deprived Photo by Perla Farias Deprived
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

02Cold-and-Alone

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.

Fading Photo by Perla Farias Fading
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Too Much Photo by Perla Farias Too Much
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Empty Photo by Perla Farias Empty
Photo by Perla Farias

 

Mental Mess Photo by Perla Farias Mental Mess
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Cut Up Photo by Perla Farias Cut Up
Photo by Perla Farias

One thing I learned through therapy is that I tend to run and hide from my problems.

In the Dark Photo by Perla Farias In the Dark
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

When It Slows Down Photo by Perla Farias When It Slows Down
Photo by Perla Farias

I didn’t realize that part of the process is sitting in my sh-t in order to feel those ugly emotions.

Winding Down Photo by Perla Farias Winding Down
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Light. Searching. Photo Perla Farias Light. Searching.
Photo Perla Farias

I keep pushing and pulling to do the work that needs to be done, even when I don’t believe in myself.

Tapping in with Lights Photo by Perla Farias Tapping in with Lights
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Close Up Photo by Perla Farias Close Up
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Sections of Me Photo by Perla Farias Sections of Me
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Near the Ocean Photo by Perla Farias Near the Ocean
Photo by Perla Farias

 

Golden and Chilly Photo by Perla Farias Golden and Chilly
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Confronting the World Photo by Perla Farias Confronting the World
Photo by Perla Farias

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.

Pushing My Boundaries Photo by Perla Farias Pushing My Boundaries
Photo by Perla Farias

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!”

Reach the photographer at pfarias@asu.edu or via Twitter @farias_perla


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