It’s Okay to Take A Break


Photo Courtesy/Flickr Commons/The People Speak!

Mental health must be discussed to de-stigmatized.

Alexis Gaskin, Staff Writer

The pressure to be perfect and to be the best of the best is somewhat ingrained into the minds of this young Millennial/Generation Z era. In a society and generation that has such a large fear of missing out and the need to always be number one, the margin of error is non-existent. In college, it’s hard to not constantly compare yourself, and for me, it feels like I’m never doing enough.

At the beginning of my junior year, I started out with a full course load of 18 credits, was a new RA on campus, was working on two shows with my theatre group and trying to tackle three internships. Yeah, three. I would look on Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin and see my peers with amazing internships and succeeding in such immense ways that I felt inadequate. It didn’t matter that I already had, at that time, two internships under my belt and on my resume; I wanted more. Honestly, I wanted to be better than them, and I thought that my resume and experience was the way to do that. I was trying to juggle all of my responsibilities and commitments and kept adding more, but eventually I got caught up.

I kept missing deadlines and my work suffered because of it and in return, I ended up getting fired from one of my internships. The thought of me not constantly being busy made it seem like I wasn’t trying hard enough. I felt like my world was slowly crumbling and then all at once, it did. As the semester continued, things only got worse. I stopped going to classes, turned in sloppy work and did the bare minimum to keep my GPA up.

I was too busy being angry at myself and punishing myself for not trying harder that I didn’t realize my actions were all signs of depression. It wasn’t just getting out of bed that was difficult, but other simple things like brushing my teeth, washing my clothes, and eating meals. I didn’t want to do it anymore.

According to the American Psychology Association, 41.6 percent of college students present as having anxiety while 36.4 percent present as having depression. Trying to get a handle on my depression while juggling my workload seemed impossible. I was embarrassed by how badly I messed up that I let my work bury me and when friends, managers and professors asked what was wrong, the thought of telling them about my depression made me feel weak.

Accepting my depression and my pressing need to compare myself with others is something I still struggle with. I never allowed myself to take a break or to have a place to prioritize my emotions.

Now I’m in my second semester, I’m still depressed and I still compare my work with others, but I talk about it. I discuss these feelings with my friends and speak to a counselor on campus.

Self-care is tossed around a lot on social media, but I think true self-care is acknowledging your problems, taking a look at what is troubling you and just taking a break. I’m not saying ignore your problems and just light a candle, but processing and giving yourself that time and space to just observe and respond.

This whole college thing is hard and I know I’m not the only one who thinks that, but often times I have to remind myself that it’s okay to not be okay all the time and that I shouldn’t compare myself with others, because I am enough.