Dear 100 Hour Board,
It's been a year since I've asked this question (Board Question #92816)... Need to vent (or gush) about anything?
-G. Rosie Posies
Dear Goes Roald,
Despite everything, classes aren't terrible this semester.
Life is actually not bad, pandemic notwithstanding. Although I have yet to find a job that I feel physically and mentally capable of holding since my anxiety set in last year, and I continue to struggle with keeping up academically and medically, I'm in a much better place than I was for the whole last half of 2020, and that's good enough for me.
However--I find that the pandemic has not only made it incredibly hard to be social, it's all but destroyed natural dating opportunities. I'm not dying to get married ASAP, but I'm 24 and I've been home from my mission for two years now, and my dating life has been at a total standstill since 2015. Instead of meeting a variety of people in normal on-campus settings, I find it really difficult to make friends and virtually impossible to date. I found both to be difficult in the best of COVID-free circumstances, and the last year has been nothing short of awful. So I'm now reduced to aimlessly swiping on any dating app I can sign up for, gripped by the dread of not knowing how to sell myself on a million blind dates when my ideal weekend is sitting at home playing Final Fantasy XIV or Super Smash Bros., and my ideal conversation is a discussion of the philosophical implications of God's foreknowledge or textual criticism of the Bible in an LDS context rather than the same old small talk. How do you meet people in this day and age? I don't know.
I want to take a minute to gush about therapy because - let me tell you - it is one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I've gone to therapy a few times before (through CAPS), and had a pretty good experience, but in August I decided that I wanted to be able to see a therapist more frequently and long-term than is really possible through CAPS. So I met with the CAPS case manager to tell her what I was looking for in a therapist and what my financial/insurance situation was, and she recommended a few people that might work well for me. I picked one and made my first appointment with him in September and it's been SO good.
I mean, I still have problems. My therapist and I regularly just take a minute to acknowledge how much everything sucks right now for so many people. But I feel much better equipped for some of the things I'm facing right now, just because of some new mechanisms I've learned that allow me to accept and interact with myself in a more integrated and helpful way. Also, he's just so validating and encouraging and he helps me practice holding space for conflicting ideas/emotions.
Anyway. I know that I always jump on the opportunity to recommend therapy, but seriously. Dear readers: If you can do it, please do. And if you can't, there are lots of resources that might work for your situation - if you need help finding some, send in a question and we'll be happy to help.
All my trauma comes in waves. This time around, my grandmother passed away and I learned that the man I like is dating someone (which isn't nearly as traumatic but is still a bummer and I feel like being dramatic).
My grandma and I had a complicated relationship. I'm sad and I'll miss her, and I'm also confronting the fact that becoming like her is one of my biggest fears. Not in totality of course, because she was kind and generous and friendly, and I'd love to gain more of those qualities. But she was depressed and lonely and spent the last twenty years of her life sitting around and watching TV and not accomplishing anything, and I'm terrified that I have a tendency to do the same. And terrified that I won't even have the support of family around me, because the chances of me finding love seem to be getting slimmer.
I miss being able to interact with other people so much. I can remember the days in college where I'd start to get wistful, sad, and a bit lonesome because I'd be the only one in the apartment on a summer day and so would be without human interaction. Now that's my entire life. Days blur together and I can hardly feel a difference between a Friday and a Monday. Somehow an entire year has almost passed in this way. And it's making me so weary. I'm lucky in that I have close relationships with my family members and my friend Black Forest Cake, but day in and day out, it's just me and my laptop screen. Whether I'm crying, laughing, shouting, or simply being, there's no one to share the moments with. I've tried to fill the void with podcasts, books, and shows but nothing can act as a substitute for constant human presence. Growing up, I had my siblings and parents. Then when I went to college there were roommates and friends--I always had people living beside me. Now that's all gone and all I have are brief snatches, treasured hours that I hold close and try and stretch between the weeks before I might experience something like a human smile that's not confined to a screen again.