Confessions of a Twenty-Something: I Lost My Light... Again 💡
I feel like this pattern happens way too often...
One minute, you're having a good time trying to live life to the fullest. Then, the haze sweeps in. For some, this looks like a loss of interest in anything beyond the bare minimum. For others, it looks like a shortened temper and a serious case of the "Negative Nancys."
Unfortunately, this is super common. I've experienced this sensation more times than I can count at this point. Sometimes for a couple of days. Other times for what felt like an eternity, which is more like a couple of months.
My worst experience with this haze happened when I moved to college. I was, and still am, someone who gets REALLY comfortable in her comfort zone, so flying the coop and moving to a new city for the first time took a humongous toll on literally everything. I went from a straight A high school student taking AP and DE classes, performing in shows, and dancing competitively to a college freshman that could barely cook and clean for herself on top of keeping up with her coursework.
Fortunately, the over-achiever in me didn't let the mid-spiral me get too far down and I was eventually able to start building a new life for myself. However, it wasn't until over 5 years later that I was able to truly glean the lessons that this experience- and all my other stints with the haze- had to teach me.
So- in hopes of saving you the trouble of fighting through the trenches blindly- I'm opening up about my personal experiences being in the haze and what they've taught me.
Before we go further, I want it to be known that being in a haze can look very different for everyone and can be triggered by literally anything- big or small. Of course big, life-altering events like moving away or losing a loved one have the power to throw you into a mega tailspin, but the little moments, especially when they compound on a daily basis, are also plenty to induce a haze and can often lead to more negative emotions because others may not understand you and you may not immediately understand why you're feeling the way that you are.
To illustrate, in 2021 I had to rebuild myself after a series of losses. This dark period was super understandable to me and those around me because we've all had our fair share of grief and know what emotional baggage that comes with.
During my rebuilding process, I got myself my first teacher job and my first role in a musical in ~4 years! Excited was an understatement describing how I felt being able to teach the youth of America and share my talents on the stage again. And for the first few weeks, that excitement stayed...
However, as time went on, I noticed the haze creeping in. Every Friday, I'd come home and completely crash without fail. I could barely keep my eyes open past 9 PM. Plus, the harsh realities of what I was doing started to take their toll. It became harder and harder to handle student behaviors and keep up with my hectic schedule.
Eventually, I realized what was happening, but I felt like there was nothing I could do about it and felt guilty for the feelings I was having. "I was living the dream compared to the hell I went through 6 months ago, so why was I complaining??" This is just one example of the negative self-talk I allowed myself to have.
Soon enough, my class and I got into our flow and I started making the necessary rest changes to get me through my show. By the conclusion of the show in October, I was relieved, saddened, ready to do it again, and (unknowingly) stronger for the experience.
This is just one example of many times where I seemingly had everything, yet allowed myself to lose my light. During my last big run-in with losing my light, I decided to do something that revolutionized my mindset and allowed me to learn so much about these dark times: I went to therapy.
Therapy has given me a chance to look at myself and accept myself for what I truly am- human. A big part of my loss of light had to do with me pushing so hard, demanding perfection of myself, and constantly keeping my checklist FULL. If you or someone you know are struggling with similar issues or are curious about therapy, I highly recommend you use BetterHelp, which is what I use for my therapy.
In this journey to connecting with my humanity, I learned a huge lesson...
Dark Times Are Inevitable
Now, I don't say this to be all gloomy. It's simply the truth! There are going to be dark periods. You're going to hit lows you didn't think possible. Heck, if you told 2019 me about all the lows I'd hit in less than 5 years, her head would've spun.
Having an awareness of this fact is the first step in being able to move through these times. Sometimes, we hold on to our pain like a crutch. We sit in it because it's what we know for the moment. Plus, it often takes less effort to stay in that pain than it does to pick ourselves up and move on from it.
By bringing your awareness to the truth that dark times are going to happen no matter what you do, you give yourself the ability to recognize when you're in one and, eventually, work in the ways that help you best to get yourself out of your dark time.
Once you've taken in this truth, there's another concept that needs to stay in the back of your mind...
I know, it seems so simple, but it's something we don't fully grasp so often! Being human means that we're not always going to be rational and we're going to have needs that aren't always the most convenient.
The biggest example of this in my life is rest. I typically get about 8 hours of sleep a night, which is what doctors say we need. However, there are times, like when I've been super stressed out and/or sick, that I get super exhausted and need more sleep. In the past, I never let myself "give into the laziness." I would just keep pushing along until I inevitably crashed. However, I've since seen how powerful giving your body what it needs can truly be.
Being human is your superpower. It allows you to connect your mind with your body and experience so many of the incredible things this earth has to offer. Instead of severing your mind-body connecting in the name of hustling, mend that connection and work with your mind and body to find your light and keep it on.
This will first start to look like pouring back into your body. If you're like me and lack enough rest (no matter how much rest you get), you'll start to rest more and more when you're open to this concept. From there, take every opportunity you can to connect with yourself. Journal, be in nature, meditation, do yoga, work out- anything that fills your cup and keeps your connection going strong. You'll find that once you have a regular habit of connecting with yourself and, most importantly, can adapt to your needs with kindness towards yourself (because we're all human and dark times are inevitable), your life will become a whole lot brighter 💡
For anyone feeling dark right now, know that I see you, I feel you, and I'm here for you in any capacity you'll allow me to be. Send me a DM to chat ✨