I’m starting to realize I’m a bit of an escapist.
I hide from a lot of things. My identity. My thoughts. My past.
They have a tendency to bubble up when I least expect them to, threatening my composure, invading my space. A quick click and I’m scrolling through my phone, ignoring myself, denying those needs. I’m trying to get out of my own head.
I don’t even know how to articulate how I’ve been feeling. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cried while editing the columns that my peers have written about their mental health.
But they remind me that I’m not alone.
Several people reached out to me while writing their columns for this project. They were afraid of sounding privileged or insensitive or sad. We’re so used to telling other people’s stories that we’ve forgotten that ours are just as valid.
This semester has been difficult for me in many unexpected ways. Being the sole editor of the opinion section at The Daily Gamecock, having a part-time job teaching at the gym and taking 17 credit hours of coursework have been stressful, to say the least.
I’m not going to pretend that I’ve had a healthy sleep schedule throughout my college career, but this semester has hit harder. On multiple occasions I’ve found myself going to bed at 4, 5 or 6 a.m. Ungodly hours. I’ve just been trying to stay afloat.
My roommate has started to notice. She’ll tell me that it’s not sustainable. She’s right.
I just haven’t been able to figure out how to stop.
Sometimes, the only release is to pretend that the work isn’t there. I’ll enjoy a few moments to myself and then spend the rest of the night making up for it. I can’t seem to win either way.
I need to create new habits. I need to give myself time to feel. This break is meant to remind us that we can exist outside of our roles at The Daily Gamecock.
I have to tell myself that The Daily Gamecock doesn’t validate my existence. I am more than my work. I am not a product.
This week, I give myself permission to breathe.