Choosing Joy

Choosing Joy

Often in life it is easy to lose sight of all the beauty each day brings. We get caught up in school, work, relationships, chores, bills…the list goes on and on. Above everything else, I feel that in our world today it is so easy to feel alone. It is so easy to feel as though no one else knows what you are going through. You feel as if you could disappear and no one would know. Or you feel as though disappearing would be a much-needed escape from all the burdens each new day brings. Loneliness is a trap. Loneliness is locking your mind in prison. No matter how badly you want to let others in, you can’t. No matter how badly you want to get out, you can’t. You’re stuck. You begin to blame yourself for feeling this way. You blame yourself for pushing everyone away. You blame yourself for being a failure. All the while, you know where the key to this prison is. You can see it. You know it is within reach but there is something trying to stop you from reaching out for it.

Our minds are magnificent creatures, with the power to control every single thing we do. This is why mental health is so important. If our minds are not healthy, then we will gradually self-destruct. To be honest, since starting graduate school, I have been the worst offender with putting my mental health first. There have been so many changes within this past year, and I have been completely overwhelmed. I mean totally and completely OVERWHELMED. Never have I felt more alone. My first semester, every Saturday was spent home alone, with tears streaming down my face. To make matters worse, I blamed myself for the way I was feeling. I criticized myself for feeling the way I did. I criticized myself for not being more outgoing. My own mind began to attack me and I began to hate myself. And the thought of telling anyone else how I was feeling terrified me. I didn’t want people to think I was weak and I didn’t want these feelings to change how people viewed me. Therefore, I cut myself off from any form of refuge. I told myself there was no refuge from the enemy my mind became.

What I know now is that we NEED to reach out to others when we are feeling this way. We need to ask for a helping hand no matter how scared we are.

Mental health is a real thing. Mental health is an everyday battle. I still have constant feelings of worthlessness and loneliness. I constantly convince myself that if I just push a little harder, I can get closer to perfection. If I can make others happy, if I can please my supervisors, if I can get that extra point on an exam then what does my mental health matter. The truth is, there is no such thing as perfection and our mental health should not be compromised on the pointless pursuit of perfection or acceptance. Our mental health must come first and foremost, each and every day. If you are having feelings of loneliness and low self worth, you need to talk to someone. You must start doing at least one thing a day that is for you. One thing a day that you love and that brings you joy.

I will end by saying this. For the year of 2018 I decided to choose a word that will guide me through the year. I chose JOY. My goal is to choose joy each day and to see the joy each new day brings. Because in the end, we only get one precious life. It is up to use to live this life the way God intended.



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