Last week, I found myself in a locked room. I had no key to get out, so I knocked - lightly at first, but then more insistently - hoping someone could come to my aid. No reply. I proceeded to become more and more frustrated and sincerely thought about throwing myself against the door, screaming, doing something extreme.
This, my friends, is the locked room of my mind.
For the last few weeks, I've been pacing around in it, measuring the length and width with my steps. I was experiencing the ultimate academic burnout. Emotionally, I was flat-lining and felt guilt over my lack of motivation. Physically, I was trying to rebuild a self-care routine out of sand. I felt trapped by my inability to be Superwoman, instead constantly dwelling on the mighty to-do list that usually governs and stabilizes my life.
But, for all that effort, the door would not budge. I was forced to sit with the uncomfortable tension of not getting everything done and not feeling up to doing even a little bit of it.
At some point, I made a grand realization: no one cared about my work as much as I did. Not to say that no one cared about me and my accomplishments, but no one cared about me finishing everything I'd set out to do just when I set out to do it. I'll expand on this point:
I missed many events, classes, and opportunities to study or socialize throughout the last weeks. And I felt madly, passionately guilty. But, at some point, the tension began to lift. And it was all because I realized that people will forgive you for not being perfect. In fact, no one expects it of you in the first place. We all have our moments of doubt and instability, so it may even be less effective to fight through them than to ride them out.
No one was giving me a harder time than myself. So I made a decision - I could sit in that little room in my mind and kick at the walls, or I could use that space to chill out and let myself come back to center. I'm sure you can guess which one I've gone with.
This week, I am slowly coming back into the world outside, not mustering through, but giving myself some room to feel comfortable again out here. Patience is the key.