Tuesday, November 1, 2016


The rain woke me up this morning. It furiously battered the windows, loud as an avalanche, and then, suddenly, stopped. The clouds cleared away and the sun stretched its beams through the grey to sweep across the walls of my room, and in that moment, I felt timeless.

It's Halloweekend and I'm not in the spirit. I don't have the energy or desire to go out. I could probably blame it on the daily grind of midterms and homework and essays. Nothing bad has happened; I'm just not particularly excited about anything coming up, but there's actually plenty happening to be excited about. Maybe this isn't normal.

I feel like I'm drifting through the doldrums of life. I've figured out my winter break schedule, I've figured out classes for next semester — there's nothing left for me to figure out right now. I have achieved "being happy," I have achieved being organized, I have joined archery and all those other things I wanted to do at the beginning of the semester. I've accomplished these goals, and it's time to set some new ones and get the ball rolling on those but I don't know what I want.

It's odd to not move forward in life. At any given moment, my brain retains the option of "What if you just died?" and then I get reckless: not caring about my health or wellbeing at all, needlessly shopping to fill an unknown void, staying in bed and skipping lectures, or crossing the middle of the street without looking both ways. Then, on some days I feel infinitely on top of the world — I know my destination, what I want in the long run — but I don't know what I want right now, in general, without the winds of change propelling me forward (I didn't mean it to sound so melodramatic but I have no other words).

It's not necessarily a bad thing. It means there haven't been any problems in my life occupying my consistent attention. There's a privilege to being bored. But just because I don't have problems doesn't mean I can't have a change. I want to make something happen for myself, so I don't become too complacent, mired in the mundane struggles of life. I never want to stop improving.

Setting that next goal has led me to thinking about relationships, romantic or otherwise. For one, I want to have a group of four to five close friends like I did in high school, physically here with me at Berkeley. That was part of the reason why I joined archery and BPR, to try to get close to people, but so far I haven't been making a lot of meaningful connections.

Part of me wonders if that's because I'm too comfortable with the friends that I already have. I became so close to people in high school due to shared struggles with mental health, and I've come to trust and rely on them to support me in those issues. However, lately I feel as though I've been suffocatingly close to those people, especially as they are going through amazing, positive events in their life. I don't want to be a negative dent in that.

Talking to friends is one of the best mental health outlets, but I need to find better mental health avenues that don't drag them down with my mental health. As good as they are, they don't have the training to not be overwhelmed with my issues, and it's not fair of me to force that on them. I don't want them to have to go through that. And if I'm to honest, it forces me to focus that emotional attention on making new connections at Berkeley.

This month, I've taken the rather drastic step of informing two friends of this belief and forcing myself to not talk to them for a month, while I work out how alternative ways of dealing with internal negativity. I feel secure enough in those friendships that I know it won't be a permanent break. Hopefully it'll turn out for the better for all of us. It's easy to spit out all of my thoughts so they fall on someone else, but I want to learn how to let go completely so I can feel better without it being at another person's expense. That's not healthy for either of us.

Maybe I've overthought it. Due to a toxic family situation with my parents, I have been so accustomed to having my perception of reality questioned that everything I perceive to be true becomes warped and twisted, leading to long term struggles with dissociation. My reality often feels heavily constructed, almost to the point where I don't know how to take something at face value. This has taken the biggest toll in terms of internal paranoia in how I perceive my relationships with people, because I don't know how other people feel about me.

Oftentimes it feels like I'm playing a game of mental health Jenga. I carefully make my choices and build up my tower, until I pull one brick too many and it all comes crashing down. However, lately it's been different. I've been constantly playing Jenga for such a long time that the tower falling down is no longer a catastrophic event, rather, it is just a minor inconvenience. I sigh, clear the board, and rebuild it one more time. It's no big deal. I've done it before and I can do it again. But I'm bored of it. I'm tired and annoyed at having recurring mental health problems. It's a nuisance and I want to be rid of it. I want to play some other games, not just Jenga.

I'd hate to make new friends solely for mental health support or find a relationship just because I'm bored. That feels incredibly selfish. Hopefully by improving my mental health on my own and breaking out of my pit of self-indulging pity I can become genuinely interested in other people's lives. I'd like to strengthen my friendships with people I already know, and create new ones with all of the interesting people this school has to offer. I don't know how that will work out yet but I do I know I want to do something to break out of this stretch of stagnation. ◊

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