A Very Real & Honest Conversation Part 2: Life Update

It’s a good problem to have, but lately, I’ve been excited by everything that I’m doing outside of school, that I’ve let my assignments take a back seat. However, I am so in love with everything that I am doing with my life in and out of school. I feel it’s a good time for a life update. Last time I did a post like this was about my transition into college, and I’ve had my ups and downs since then. Still, overall, I’m genuinely happy with where I’m at and where I’m going.

While I feel like I’m in a really good place, at the same time I’ve noticed that I’ve been experiencing depressive episodes much more frequently. Which is something that really sucks about depression. I’m on top of the world: releasing a podcast, enjoying college, doing what I love, growing spiritually, and embracing my creative side. Yet, I keep having to fight myself in my own mind to be happy. Sometimes I beat myself up because I catch myself thinking that I have everything that I’ve been wishing for, but questioning why is that enough to make me happy? Truth is, depression does not care how good your life is going, it’s not something that is brought on only when you’re having a particular hard time.

I haven’t written in a while, so it feels good to be typing in a non-academic format. The reason I haven’t been writing is that I’ve been creating different kinds of content and exploring new ideas for expansion. I’ve really been loving it and teaching myself new things along the way. I officially announced the release of my podcast, Inside the Mind, which I’ve been devoting a lot of time to. But I’ve also been teaching myself Photoshop and designing a few mental health awareness stickers just for fun. Here’s an unofficial announcement of that project, if you’d like a sneak peek of that — you can find it here on my RedBubble account. I’ve seen a sense of enjoyment from doing things I’m not necessarily good at but find pleasure in doing. I’ve noticed that I’ve been much more energized and motivated in life. Overall, I’m really encouraged by the potential that this campaign is started to form.

As for college, this semester is insanely busy. My classes aren’t challenging but I have so many other things going on my schedule. Despite the lack of breathing time within my schedule, I’m thriving. As for classes, I’m so excited to be in classes that I actually want to be in this semester. Considering how much my future plans changed and how stressed I was about that last semester, I’m so relieved that I’ve declared under a major with classes that I’m looking forward to taking. I feel like the workload isn’t as heavy this semester because doing the assignments isn’t a hassle since I’m energized by the things I’m learning. I can’t imagine how unhappy I’d be in another major if I didn’t have my friends and advisor.

Outside of class, volleyball has been a rollercoaster ever since I got my knee diagnosis. I went 3 years with knee pain, and doctors were not able to find the problem. Finally, my athletic trainer found that I have a patella tracking problem, known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. I’ve been doing physical therapy on top of workouts and open gyms. It gets discouraging because I’m still experiencing a wide range of pain. Which has been taking a toll on me mentally because I’m terrified that the worst-case scenario is a genuine possibility, meaning medical retirement. At the end of the day, I’m happy when I’m playing volleyball, and I can’t imagine giving that up right now.

So life isn’t all perfect right now. I feel like I’ve been so focused on myself lately, which has been interesting. Sitting out on the sidelines every once in a while because of pain is brutal. I watch my teammates play, I can’t help but reflect on where I started, but also how far I still want to go, it gets deep within my mind. Other than that, I’ve been in my own little world lately, which has been good and bad. Mainly, I come out of my own little world sometimes and feel like I’ve started isolating myself. I don’t feel as connected with my friends as I usually do. I’ve also been extra sensitive to being left out for that reason. I am having trouble navigating reality and irrational thoughts that my brain is coming up with. I start thinking that I’m not appreciated, or people don’t want me around, so I am struggling in that aspect, and I’ve needed a lot of reassurance lately.

I feel weird about posting an update like this just because I write so much about my struggles. While life isn’t perfect, because it never is, I can’t help but be appreciative of the place I am in, despite the depression. I say that it’s okay to embrace your struggle and let yourself be sad, but it’s also important to embrace your progress and let yourself be happy. At the end of the day, I’m reminding myself that it’s okay if I’m not happy even if I feel like I should be. My emotions have no obligations, I am free to feel whatever I am feeling.

In other news, the first episode of Inside the Mind is launching THIS WEDNESDAY! Available on 3/4/2020 at 6 AM CDT, listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic. A new episode will come on the first Wednesday of every month, giving a voice to student-athletes. This month you will meet Maddie Horin, form Junior National Team Captain and current USC middle blocker. She shares her experiences with managing ADHD and anxiety, all while thriving athletically. Follow the podcast on social media, @insidethemind.pocast on Instagram, and keep listening to hear the stories of many other student-athletes.

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