I had my first mental/nervous breakdown last week

I knew I was nervous going into my second term, but I didn’t think it would make me physically sick by the end of the week.

A combination of things broke me down by Friday. Too much to name and some are personal. But that with the biggest weight on my shoulders (school) was enough to send me spiraling. On Thursday I felt nauseated, dizzy, sweaty, and really hot when I overthought a specific thing and did some research on it. I was sitting and I’m almost sure if I were standing I would have fallen. My anxiety had me shaking and I was unable to process thought.

By Friday I could not stop crying. It was so bad. It was the first time in a while that I cried in front of so many people. I cried quietly during class wiping my tears over and over hoping no one would see them dripping down my face or hear my sniffles. A classmate saw how swollen my eyes were and said, “Alba! What’s wrong!?” and I had to step out and just let myself cry uncontrollably. I had 5 episodes that day. I even took a pregnancy test because (hormones) I was like WTF!? The underlying question was what could be hurting me and scaring me so bad that it makes me cry like a lost child seeking their mother.

I knew the answer. The specific answer with the utter overwhelm of that first week of classes was unbearable. I not only had one or two massive worries before me, I had stacks of books that had lessons I needed to master.

I’ve always seen failure as a step to success. A step in the right direction. Failure gives us a lesson. It showed us why abc did not work and the potential in which xyz could. It guides us to (hopefully) another, better path. It talks to us. It prepares us. It shares its experience. It’s an amazing teacher, and for the first time in a while I became supremely afraid of it and I was suddenly afraid I might face it. I sat in every class doubting the shit out of myself before putting pen on paper. I’d tell my brain it couldn’t do it before letting it show me maybe it could. The professors voice came in and out. When it was in I could hear what she emphasized in the lessons, when it was out I was dosing off, considering I “could not” do anything or “was not” capable or intelligent enough.

That day I spoke with 5 people that believe in me— or pretend to. Who knows. I’m a skeptic of it all. But two people, including my best friend, told me one very simple and special thing. I’ve heard it before, but I took it in different this time.

Work with what’s in front of you.

In an instant, almost, I felt a wave of calm. I’m literally someone who builds 20 detrimental scenarios that have a 99.8% chance of never occurring, but I live in fear as if they will. It’s a ridiculous thing. It steals my positive energy and sense of wellness and peace. It all traces right back to worry. WORRY! The thief of joy. Why am I worrying about the 18 horrible things that could occur 8 months from now instead of just doing this paper or reading this assigned reading?

An accumulation of what you do NOW is the determinant factor in what happens then.

It’s Sunday and I have a wedding to go to. I still don’t feel super confident about the 3 pages worth of vocabulary words I’m getting quizzed on tomorrow despite having had a week to learn them, but I’m going to go to this wedding and enjoy my time. I’m going to live in the moment and do what the exact present is calling for. At night there’ll be more time to do and study. And same for everyday.

Bits and pieces of now will make for a good and calm later.

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