April 4th, 2016.

I haven’t posted anything for a while, and I would like to start off by saying thank you for stopping by to read! If you’re new to my blog, thank you so much for taking a second to check it out. If this isn’t your first time here, thanks for coming back! I like to post updates for my friends and family on here occasionally, mostly to give family peace of mind that I’m alive and well. Anyway, this is just a brief update about what I’ve been up to recently, because a lot has changed for me and things are pretty different right now.

 

Towards the end of February/beginning of March, a kind of domino effect happened where the people and things in my life that were important to me kept falling apart. It felt like one bad thing after another was happening and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The last two weeks of winter quarter were extremely difficult. Finals week was the hardest, because I only had one actual exam and the rest were essays, so when I wasn’t writing for a class, I had nothing to do to keep busy or to distract from everything that was going on. I fell back into some unhealthy coping habits from my past and picked up some new unhealthy ones as well, so I really did not deal with anything very well. I felt as though I didn’t have any kind of accessible support system.

 

I went home for spring break instead of my planned Nicaragua trip, which actually turned out to be a good thing, because I had whooping cough during the entire break (which would not have been very fun in Nicaragua). My break consisted of coughing and watching Grey’s Anatomy. I made some decisions that I thought would help me get back on track for the spring quarter, and I felt okay about going back to school. The last couple days at home were difficult as I realized that I did actually have to return and go through ten more weeks of school, work, and extracurriculars. The night before I left to return to Denver I realized how much I did not want to go back, which was a horrible realization. I remembered how excited I was to go to college in the fall, and how ready I was to return to school in January. The difference in March was extreme.

 

I returned to school the third week in March (after spring break), and I was all set with some classes I was excited about. I was enrolled in a class about Islam, continuing with Spanish, taking my hall social justice course, and beginning a class about African cultures with an anthropology professor I had in the fall. I tried to stay busy that first week with classes and work, but I was still struggling so, so much. I didn’t want to go to class or do the course work because I didn’t see the point, and there were some dangerous incidents with friends of mine related to drugs and alcohol that required a few hospital visits. I wasn’t sleeping or eating or doing things to take care of myself, because I really didn’t see the point. I was still falling into old coping habits that I thought I had been rid of a long time ago, and I tried to erase those thoughts with the newer coping habits that were also unhealthy. I felt completely alone and hopeless.

 

So after much consideration and discussion, I decided to withdraw from the University of Denver for the remainder of the spring quarter. My leave constitutes a medical leave of absence for mental health. I recognized that I was falling very quickly into a spiral that would take a long time to come out of, and I wanted to stop it before it engulfed my entire life. At first, I was set on returning home. I did not want to be here anymore. However, I decided that I did not want to leave Denver and remember it as a place where I was once incredibly happy and then extremely unhappy. I am currently living with relatives in the Denver area, and I live right on the light rail line, so I am still able to see my friends. I transferred the job I adore from home to a location nearby, where I am able to work part-time. I found a church I like and have begun attending Bible studies and young adult ministries. I am trying to take some steps to engage with life again in a healthy way.

 

My life is different right now, but I am where I need to be. I have been living off-campus for over a week now and after some separation, I see how upside-down my life had become. I didn’t care about the things I used to be so passionate about, like volunteering or sponsoring children. I know that change happens during this part of life, but I don’t want the important, central parts of me to change. This is a very unsettling time for me, because I have no idea what my next steps are. I’ve never been in a place in my life where I cannot see what’s ahead. I am beginning again. And I am trying to be as transparent and vulnerable as possible about this situation, on social media and in person. I feel like it’s so common to hear these amazing stories of how people’s lives turned around or how horrible life was at one point in someone’s life but how great it is now, and we never hear stories while people are hurting. And I think it’s important to talk about those things, so that we know it’s okay if life doesn’t always go the way we planned it to. I definitely did not plan to take a leave of absence for mental health from college, but it’s my reality. That’s where I am right now, and I am in the middle of a very hard time. I don’t know if I will be continuing at DU next year, and if I do, what my major will be. If I transfer, I don’t know where I will be going or what I will study there. Right now, my life is just day-to-day—just get through today and worry about tomorrow when it is here. I am using this time to do some soul-searching: this is my life. If I don’t like it, I get to change it. If I am not living where I want to, I can move. If I don’t love my major, I can declare a new one. I have this time right now to recreate myself, to begin again. And I think there are certain points in our lives where we get to ask those questions, and that’s where I am right now.

 

Everything is up in the air for me, which is somehow both horrible and refreshing at the same time. And I am trying to be open about the fact that sometimes, life is hard and it doesn’t go the way we thought it would. Sometimes, life is weird and messy and uncomfortable, and we don’t like it. That’s where I am right now. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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