My mom came over to visit last Friday to check up on a media table I had unsure of keeping in my living room. But I knew it was to check up on me. She was supposed to come by a month ago and now I was stuck with the tv console whether she liked it or not.
I had been able to keep the downhill state of my anxiety and depression out of my family and friends radar for months. But now my mental health was spiraling out of control. An A+ student that was failing in my classes within the first few weeks, trying to avoid having all social interactions and small talks. I had to ultimately exit my uncles birthday party because of a serious panic attack.
September has been one of the hardest months this year I’ve experienced yet. I have gotten to various breaking points to where I felt I couldn’t deal with the troubles of life anymore. I had become more fragile than I’ve ever been. And my family caught on. My mom had called me the day after the party and by her tone, I knew she was very concerned. I caved in and told her everything that I’ve been trying to hide from the family all along. In my eyes, it was embarrassing to approach my family at 30 with the same struggles I experienced as a teenager. And so my mom needed to have a heart to heart with me as many mothers do when their children are facing a difficult time. She is not a super affectionate person but this time, even though I was depressed, I knew that she would tell me things I needed to hear.
So we talked about different subjects that weighed over my mind in my kitchen. Before she left, with a rare emotional tone my mom asked, “What makes you happy? you have to ask yourself that question and if it is not going to college, then find something else.” She continued, “You cannot let what has happened to you define you. Eleny, what has happened to you is your school and you are learning. What you’ve learned is not to be that same person.”
And so the days have gone by and today, as I got ready this morning the same question echoed in my mind. Sometimes in life we grow up only to get wrapped up in other peoples expectations and goals for us. We claim it boldly as ours when truly we have no clue if we wanted these things in the first place. We look at others around us and compare our lives to theirs. We believe wholeheartedly that education, the recognition we receive at work and all the things that we have acquired will make us happy. I have done all of those things and have not found one ounce of joy in any of it. So instead of finding a cheesy and inauthentic response to the question, I will refrain from stating the obvious Christian response. But this isn’t an eat, pray, and love situation. I definitely am happy with my husband. In these last two years the dust has seemed to have settled in my life and now I am seeing my life for what it truly is. Everything seems uncovered, even the ugly inauthentic parts of myself. Maybe I just need to recalibrate my life and do more of the things I love instead of what I think people want from me. Maybe I need to focus on mending the ugly parts of myself, maybe I just need to trust God and wait it out. I just can’t wait to get out of this mess. I can’t wait to stop comparing the old me to who I am now. What makes me happy? I will report to you when I find out the answer. If you find yourself in the same situation, I urge you to ask yourself the same question. I know that God has created us for gifts that possibly haven’t been reached yet and that’s what I hold on to.