Anxiety Feeds Off Boredom
I HATED SUMMER BREAK
Growing up, you live for the summer. Two and a half months of pure freedom just lounging by the pool, going to the beach, constant play-dates with friends, playing pretend in the backyard, running around barefoot in the grass, and catching lighting bugs in jars.
As a teenager, things change. You watch TV, go on Facebook, tan, hook up, drive around aimlessly, drink, do drugs, and avoid your parents as much as you can.
In college (or uni, for you Brits), everything you enjoy in the summer as a teenager is what you do during the school year. And then from May to August, you're back in your hometown with your parents' rules and your college friends are all hours away. You think summer is going to be awesome but two weeks in, you're bored af.
That "oh shit" moment after graduation
I didn't have a good senior year of college. I was literally counting down the days until graduation on a whiteboard in my room. (TL;DR: There was a lot of drama living in close quarters with people.)
When I packed up my car and drove home after the graduation ceremony, I waited for the sun to come out of the clouds and for me sing out "FREE AT LAST!"
I bawled my eyes out instead because I was terrified. I didn't have a job lined up, I just left a place that'd been my home for the past four years, and my friends were now hours away. I was in a perpetual summer nightmare.
Why get out of bed when you have nothing to get out of bed for? That was my thought every morning when I woke up. I was depressed.
Going back to school for my masters was the best decision I could've made for my health and happiness. From the time I got accepted to Edinburgh to halfway through my masters program, my anxiety was virtually nonexistent. I'd never lived further than 3 miles away from home before, but I was so freaking happy and excited that it didn't even faze me.
"oh Shit" moment numero dos
I'd made a pretty cushty life for myself in Edinburgh, only for it to be ripped away after 12 months? The thought terrified me. I did not want to be in the same place I was two years prior.
Then I got into the PhD program and I was all set. *Wipes hands clean*
Can you get to the point, please?
Yes, as I said, anxiety feeds off boredom. Every summer in college I had too much time on my hands to think about all of the What ifs. It was the fuel to feed my anxiety attacks. But once my brain was occupied with something else, like schoolwork, I didn't have time to think about What ifs.
I had 4 months' break between the Masters and the PhD. A break I thought I needed and deserved but I was BORED. I was so bored that I began spiraling backwards, losing all the work I'd done to control my anxiety.
My days consisted of gym, cafes, and sitting on my ass talking myself into an anxiety attack. What am I doing with my life? Do I really want to be in school for three more years? I'm lazy. I've got no drive, I've got no talent, I've got no skill.
When I was sitting alone in my flat with nothing to do, it was hard to think positively. I cooked up so much bullshit in my head that I started to believe it was an inevitable reality. If it weren't for my friends and family reassuring me that I was on the right track, I might've dropped out of the PhD.
Now that I've started the program, I'm too distracted to overthink. I've got words to write, places to see, books to read, food to cook, shitty realty TV shows to watch, and new friends to hang out with. It's incredible. I'm smiling like a moron.
the mind is your best friend and your worst enemy
The average person has around 60,000 thoughts per day. How much bullshit are you telling yourself and how much of it do you believe? How much time are you wasting in your head?
If you're feeling sad or anxious but you don't know what's triggering it, you might just be bored.