This is where the real work begins. I was wrong to assume that the transition into college life would be the time that would trip me up the most. The voices are easy to quiet when you’re so focused on where you’re supposed to be, at what time, in which building or finding out where to do your laundry or catch the bus, etc. You don’t have time to hear them when you’re trying to make sure that you didn’t forget the right music or that you’re headed towards the right room for your sectional or rehearsal. You can’t be bothered by the voices and ugly words when you’re watching street names fly by as you try to make sure you get on and off the bus in the right spots so you can get to where you’re going with the least amount of trouble.
But what happens when you find a daily routine? What happens when everything that was once new and exciting becomes your “normal”? When you know where your going and your mind has a chance to pause for a breath instead of watching every classroom number or street sign pass by? What happens when you feel comfortable to let your guard down?
A few days ago my tapes began to play just like they had been before I moved here, just like they do every time I’m in an environment that I’m familiar with – an environment that feels somewhat comfortable. Every time is a little bit different…tapes start playing for different reasons and they say different things. Sometimes they play for a few days…sometimes they stay for months at a time. It’s basically a form of depression. I know there are many people who suffer from similar things.
It doesn’t really matter what the tapes say, it just matters that they are playing. Sometimes it can get so bad that I want to press stop and run screaming in the other direction – to get as far away from them as possible. Sometimes certain tapes impact my eating disorder and recovery, some simply heighten my anxiety, and others leave me feeling stranded within my own depression. Sometimes they play louder than others. The past few days I’ve just heard my tapes playing distantly in the back of my mind…almost like white noise – I can easily ignore them when I’m staying busy and keeping occupied, but the moment I sit quietly and try to clear my mind, BAM!!! They suddenly become deafeningly loud.
For better or for worse, I am one of those individuals who likes to figure everything out – I have to have a reason for every single thing. Sometimes, I can’t find any reason for a tape to have started playing – that’s the case this time, as well. The only thing I can come to conclude is that I’m in a position now where I feel comfortable enough with my environment to have more space inside my head for other things, and unfortunately…these tapes that play will immediately take advantage of any free space they can find.
So, what’s the solution? I don’t think there’s one single solution. I think it depends on the person and on the nature of the tape that is playing. I know for me…the risks that come with being too comfortable are those that will impact my performance in recovery, school, and my spiritual life – all things crucial to my development as an individual and things I value and cherish. Knowing what’s at stake when your tapes start to get too loud is the first step towards quieting them.
I’m not sure if my tapes will ever go completely away…I’m not confident that they will. For now, I have to learn how to live with them and how to quiet them as much as I possibly can. For me, that includes self care, LOADS of prayer, constant contact with God, and friends who uplift me and make me feel loved.
These are the not-so-glamorous parts of my story, but they are parts of me which can help me grow if I let them. By fighting my battles and by sharing my battles with others, I hope I can provide hope and healing to anyone who is fighting their own wars. When your mind becomes a battlefield – run to Jesus. He’s the only one who can bring you true and lasting peace.
“After every storm, there is a rainbow. If you have eyes, you will find it. If you have wisdom, you will create it. If you have love for yourself and others, you won’t need it.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“I will be stronger than my sadness.”
― Jasmine Warga