Balance: Optimism, Fear, and Anxiety

“Depression is a response to past loss, and anxiety is a response to future loss.”
 – George Brown


In what will soon be a year ago, right before the midterms of school year 2012-2013, I lay down on the floor and refused to get up. I haven’t been back to school since.

Breakdowns aren’t sudden, though from the outside, it can look like that. Breakdowns come from taking on a little weight at a time, adding brick upon brick, until collapse. It doesn’t matter if the finish line is only a few feet away, if graduation hinges on only a handful of classes. When you’re done, you’re done.

Stopping school, even for only a semester or so, was never an option in my mind. It didn’t matter if I missed most of a class or was neck-deep in anxiety the entire year, I had to do school. It was already a crushing disappointment that a year at Northwestern College had given me little more than a few basic English credits and Bible classes that went towards “electives” at Macalester College, so I was set to graduate late as it was. Now, after officially withdrawing from college, I would graduate post-marriage and post-brother’s graduation, who had been in my same grade for eight years. My college experience has been nothing like I had dreamed about since before I was in middle school.

I go back in a weeks. Two weeks after that, I start a 4-credit internship at a book publisher’s. I’m caught between unreasonable optimism that everything is going to be great, it’s going to be easy this time, it has to be easy this time, and cynical terror. I don’t have any “words of wisdom” about how even though this is “a great hardship,” I know God is on my side, yadda yadda. God hasn’t promised me that I’ll finish school strong. Or that I’ll finish school. I just always assumed He did. And I’m tired of being disappointed by broken promises that were never actually made. I’m more interested in just being able to get up most mornings, get dressed, and do most of the things on my calendar. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.


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