This semester has held quite a few ups and downs. The first few weeks were pretty hard on me. I knew I’d have to step up my game to accommodate for my post surgery responsibilities, but I was just looking forward to returning to the college lifestyle after such a rough winter break. I thought about what was ahead of me only from the physical standpoint like, “whatever, I’ll handle it.”
It wasn’t so easy to handle though…
During that first week back, I was feeling more down than I was excited, but I was thinking it was only temporary.
You’ll get used to this.
Things didn’t get better though. Things got worse.
Well ya know, this is some pretty rough weather we’re having this year. Of course I’m gonna be bummed out if I can’t even make it to the parking lot most days.
I kept telling myself things of the sort.
Whatever, I’ll just move south in a few years and be fine. No more snow, no more cold, I’ll be golden, and I’ll be happy.
It stopped snowing so damn much. It even warmed up to 60 degrees for a few days. I was still irritable though.
Alright, what the hell’s going on?? This pissy mood is pissin’ me off. Am I depressed? No, I’m fine, why would I be… Am I though??
This turned out to be more than just a physical struggle. It was mental and emotional. That was not that long ago, and the same day I talked to my boy Jeffrey from RIC. I asked him how he was doing. “How are things bro? Like really, how are things?” Trying to get him to fess up about not being so great either. “Everything’s pretty cool with me I’m ’bout to start promoting my new designs for my clothing line,” he said. He was doing great. Of course I was happy to hear it, but I thought if he was in a rut too, maybe we could use each other to dig ourselves out. I told him how I’ve been lately — good one day, bad the next. “You not depressed or anything are you?” he asked. I really thought about it this time, “I mean I don’t think so. Ive been really good ever since rehab. I guess maybe I could be from my last hospital stay?” Then he pointed something out to me, “You know it could be medicine, this one pill i used to take used to make me have mood swings.” He might be on to something here, I thought. Nurses warned us about this at RIC. “It could actually be from this one pill, so I’ll mess around with it,” I responded. I had been taking this pill almost everyday for months, but for post surgery precautions I had been taking twice the dose for a little over a month.. About the same amount of time I had been moody. Luckily, it was right around that time I could start cutting my dose down. Even stop completely, depending on how risky I was feeling.
I was feelin’ so risky. I quit altogether. Being off another med was relieving, to say the least. I had been taking it every morning for almost as long as I could remember. Being dependent on anything is never good and I’ve reluctantly become dependent on a number of things the past year and a half. I hate every one of those things.
Even better than gaining independence back was gaining the old me back. Jeff was spot on. Only a day, or two off the medication was I feeling 100 times better. I finally felt like myself again and was assured there was nothing to worry about.
Now that I’ve overcome the mental brawl I was having with myself, I feel like a new man, and was reminded once again of the necessity for struggles… I moved out on my own a few weeks after a huge surgery and only one week after being released from the hospital, was dealt twice as many daily self-care chores, became a full time student, managed campus in a wheelchair during the worst winter in decades, all while taking medication that forced me into depression. I called my parents from time to time when I was having an especially hard time. Over and over they suggested I move back home, “It isn’t too late, we can still get our money refunded. There is no shame in waiting until fall to start again.” I can’t say it wasn’t really tempting. I played a mental game with the thought of it
Yeah I know this sucks extremely bad right now. But… You already missed a year of school. You just changed your major last semester. You’re not expected to graduate until two years after your classmates. You have another internship set-up for the summer. How long you think that company will wait up for you to graduate? You want that job don’t ya? If you stop now, there’s no telling if/when you’ll finish. Don’t stop.
The “hard times” in life have a bad name. I have grown to really appreciate the hard times, and look at them much differently. It’s during those hard times that you learn the most. You are taught essential life lessons that make you a stronger person. Lessons that can’t be taught from a friend, family member, or professor. Whenever the time comes that you defeat whatever you’ve been battling (and it will come), you taste the sweetest victory known to mankind. The bigger the struggle, the greater the taste.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”
― Frederick Douglass