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See Yourself In Me

By an anonymous UAlbany student  | April 22, 2024

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When I moved to Albany, I tried to convince my parents to take me home. I was ready to leave all of my stuff in the dorm and hop in the car to go back home. I was ready to shrug my shoulders and call it an experiment that didn’t work. I imagined myself, telling my family college didn’t really work out for me. 

And I was okay with that. I had spent eight years struggling with crippling anxiety and eventually depression. I loved being alone but I hated being lonely. My parents made mistakes but I just wanted to go back to the familiar.

I’d wanted to move out of my house since I was seven. I had everything except love and kindness from a mother and I decided that I was okay to continue living with that to escape the pain I knew was going to come. I didn’t want to admit it to my parents but I wasn't sure if I would be able to go on without them. Sometimes I’m still not really sure if I can but the choice is always made for me. I can do nothing else but go on. 

I questioned if I belonged at college because I was so difficult for myself to take care of. I never had a problem with academics but it was humiliating to admit to myself and others that I couldn’t figure out how to take care of myself as smart as I was. There is always something more powerful, something to ruin perfection and for me it was crippling mental health problems. 

I did end up staying at school and moving to Albany but I was right, my next years in college were so difficult. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy and it’s staggering that I survived, which brings me to my first lesson: Things are going to be hard but if the human body is capable of conjuring up some horrible dream to live in, your body is also strong enough to bear them. You can survive your brain trying to kill you and that’s the remarkable thing about humans. 

My second lesson: Your imposter syndrome is lying to you. You might say to yourself that you don’t belong because you didn’t put the work in, because the people around you are different, because you have different priorities. Guess what? None of that matters. You belong there just as much as anybody else. You are there, wherever you are, for a reason. For me, it was my job. I didn’t believe that I deserved to work in the place I did, I was too young, too goofy, too unstable. 

And then I was proved wrong and right. I was young, and I was goofy and I might have been unstable but I also did good work. I was kind to the people who came in and I was more than my own instability. It didn’t affect my work and my boss doesn’t even know about it. The way you see yourself is so different from the way other people see you. 

In all those years of struggle and tears and everything in between, I learned a couple of things. Time doesn’t stop. You can be dry heaving over a toilet with tears streaming down your face or cradling yourself in the middle of the floor of your bedroom, but I promise time still goes on and you can only suffer for so long. You will never stay in the same place for long and that’s a fact. Take it from me.

You have to be assured of yourself. It might take a lifetime to achieve but trust me, it’s worth it. Mental health issues don’t just go away with the snap of a finger but working towards an easier, more fulfilling life is always worth it. 

I still try to convince my parents to let me stay home every time it’s time to go back to school. They’ve never said yes no matter how much they miss me but sometimes doing the scary thing is the right thing. If nobody else reads this, at least I’ll know that I did something I was afraid of by putting my thoughts to paper.


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