This crazy weather my region of the US has been having is ridiculous – it’ll go from being a beautifully sunny day in the lower 40s to showering us with a 3 inch snowfall in the matter of one day (sometimes its the same day!) That weather is really reflective of where my head has been the last couple of days since my blog post about Off-Days. I feel like every day in this past week has been an off day for me. My fellow sufferers of Depression will be able to understand that sentiment.
“Depression is like trying to house-train a pet: just when you think you’ve made some progress, your new puppy has had an accident on the living room carpet and you’re left trying to pick up the pieces and bust out the carpet cleaner.”
In all honesty, I went through a bad week. I did a lot of reading, I even regularly did laundry and other chores just to get my mind out of the pit of darkness it currently was in. But, even though I was craving structure and progress, I vegged out completely and watched a lot of Netflix. I go through periods where I get stuck on a concept and will not budge from where I am mentally. In this case, I told myself I could not study for the MCAT if I didn’t finish The Office on Netflix. Let’s examine that statement for a moment, shall we. I stubbornly decided to sacrifice my education – the one thing in life that I believe can redeem myself and make my family proud, the one goal I have set for myself in life, and the one aspect of myself I associate with truly being ME – in order to finish a pre-recorded TV series on a medium that will still exist one year (probably more) from now.
What’s wrong with me?
NOTHING. I am a human being, and I have to accept that and love myself. Recovery is a work in progress, ladies and gentlemen, and I keep making steps towards the road I’m on by questioning my actions. Soon, during one of my The Office Netflix binges, I came across this article by Buzzfeed. It helped me realize that what I was experiencing was not unique to me, that hundreds if not thousands of other members of society have it worse than I do. I was able to kind of snap back to my goal-oriented self for a moment. Soon afterwards, my loan check had arrived and I was able to register for the MCAT, after two months of anxiety that I would not be able to get a test date. I treated myself to my absolute favorite pens, the Pilot V5 Precise series, and set to work building a new, more forgiving schedule.
By questioning my decisions, I’m able to have a sort of therapist-like conversation with myself. Journaling has been essential in this progress, as forcing myself to outline the steps of why I want to do something (like mindlessly snack on junk food or re-watch old John Oliver videos on YouTube) allows me to get to the root of my urges. For instance, I questioned the reasons why I wanted to have a snack of oreos dipped in milk before bed and came to the conclusion that I wanted to reward myself after having a great day of healthy eating, completing chores to help my family, and studying yesterday. Although it got out of hand, and I ate more oreos than I planned on doing so, I determined that I won’t mindlessly eat out of the original oreo container and will portion two or three into a smaller bowl next time.
Likewise, I decided to build a schedule with even more flexibility than last time, breaking up physics chapters into three days and a designated review/break day at least once a week. I’m only human, but I’m working to make myself better every day. Signing up for MCAT question of the day emails also helped in this journey because I like to start my study sessions with these questions and also a CARS passage or two. A lot of MCAT question of the day emails are free, and the CARS passages from Khan Academy (along with their other godsend materials) are free as well. In addition, by setting a morning routine of reading theSkimm in bed, scrolling through Instagram (I was pleasantly delighted and incredibly humbled when I saw that my most recent post has gotten over 50 likes! THANK YOU SO MUCH IG COMMUNITY!!), showering + breakfast, and then attempting my MCAT questions of the day to start my dedicated study time, I’m helping pull myself out of this fog.
Anyone suffering like I am, craving structure but afraid to make progress, feeling helpless and lost, and just looking to start the day right needs to listen to my favorite Podcast by productivity guru and best-selling author Tim Ferriss. His podcast, the Tim Ferriss show has helped me pull myself together, as he interviews prominent successful celebrities to find out about their rise to the top and the rituals they stick with to better themselves (the Jamie Foxx podcast episode is one of my favorite podcasts ever!). This episode in particular describes his own morning rituals, and really helped me. You can check him out on the free Podcast app in your iPhone or online!
Until we meet again,