Most days I feel like Peter. For those of you who don’t know Peter was an apostle in the Bible. So a little backstory, Peter asked Jesus to walk on the water with him and when the storm came Peter looked down and started to sink. So, why I feel like Peter is because I feel like I lose faith and then I start to sink.
For those of you who have read my stuff before you know that I am an anxious person. I get anxiety doing anything new it could be moving, going to a show, if I have to take a test, meeting new people, or just doing something important. I get so fearful with change. So when somebody comes up to me and says “it’s all in your head,” or “you’re not going through that much,” or “somebody has it worse,” it really strikes a chord with me.
I know my life isn’t horrible. I’m not a refugee who can’t find any shelter or food and that my problems could be considered first world compared to their problems. And that’s my issue. I will stand up for myself to other people and tell them “you don’t understand my struggle,” and “you don’t know what I’m going through,” but I won’t stand up to myself.
Now, I know it sounds weird saying you want stand up to yourself but people who suffer from anxiety or depression, like I do, know what that means. It means that while everyone else is belittling my struggle and I stand up to them every time, I don’t do the same when I belittle myself. I’m just like those people because I will say “I don’t have problems as bad as anybody else,” “my problems aren’t that big it’s OK,” until one day I’m freaking out in the corner in my house and I don’t know what to do.
My problem is, and I’m sure others have the same problem, that I don’t believe in myself the way I should. I know that there are bigger and better plans for me out there. I know that something good is going to come my way. But when you’re struggling, when you’re drowning in a sea of terrible decisions and hard choices, and you’re just running yourself ragged you don’t know what to do. You don’t know which way is up and which way is down. You just feel like you’re making every decision blindfolded and people like to say “oh well you’re an adult.” But that’s not OK. It is not OK to feel like your drowning 24 seven.
It is not OK to be anxious all the time or depressed all the time. It is not OK to have these burdens on you and not be able to talk about them. Because we grew up in a society were talking about mental health is a stigma. Especially if you’re from the black community. It’s seen as a sign of weakness, laziness, and just not being able to handle day-to-day life. But that’s not it. It’s just that you need to have a creative outlet. You need an outlet where you can talk it out, vent, just be yourself and not have to worry about what others think or say. But in this day and age mental health, like I said before, is seen as a sign of weakness. So we struggle. We stay silent and struggle. And when we finally break down people wonder “why didn’t they come to me?”
And that’s why say I feel like Peter. Because I don’t believe that Peter loss faith in Jesus when he was walking on the water. I believe that Peter saw the signs of the storm; he heard that thunder rolling in and he got scared. He got scared of what was to come and he lost faith in himself. Just like we lose faith in ourselves all the time. We don’t celebrate the small victories that we have overcome. We just look at the war and see that we haven’t won it yet. We see that we have not overcome this moment of turbulence and becauseof that we don’t see ourselves as strong. But the truth is we have accomplished many small victories on the way to overcoming this period of trials and tribulations. We just don’t see it that way.
I believe we don’t see it that way because we were taught that if we haven’t accomplished something big then we aren’t anything yet. We were taught that if we didn’t have a college degree, a house, a car, and a family by a certain age we weren’t worth anything. We see ourselves not accomplishing these feats and we lose faith in ourselves. And that’s not OK. It’s not OK for the older generations put these pressures on us when it’s not our fault that we can’t get a good job straight out of college, it’s not our fault that we can’t afford houses in this horrible housing market. And yet when we speak up against these things we are told that we’re lazy, that we don’t ever want to work for anything, and that all we do is complain. We try so hard to make a difference in this world and all we get told is that we’re lazy, that we don’t care enough, or that we get riled up to easily. We can’t ever just be right for once. And that adds on to our stress and anxiety of day-to-day life because we don’t know where to we fit in.
We try to live our lives and not listen to the older generation complain about how we’re not doing things the right way. It’s just it hurts to not be able to have someone to rely on. To not have somebody be tell you “you’re doing a good job,” or acknowledge your perseverance.
So many of us take into account what is being whispered in our ear on a daily basis that we start to believe it. We start to believe that we aren’t worth anything, that we aren’t making a difference in this world, and we aren’t living up to the gold standard. That is when the toll of the stress and anxiety finally collapse upon you. And then that’s when you come in.
This is why I say that we need to take more victory laps. Yes, sure you’re halfway through your 20s, like I am, or you’re almost 30 and you’re not figuring out anything yet. You are not where you thought you would be when you were a little child. You may not be in a full-time job doing what you love, have a family, the dream car, or able to travel as much as you would like or at all. You are just stressing out every day running back-and-forth from job to job just trying to make ends meet. You are trying your hardest and you just can’t see it because you’ve listened to what the world has to say. What society has to say about how you are not measuring up, and not up to snuff. But that’s why we need to stop and take a moment.
We need to stop and take a moment and just bask in the small victories. Sure you didn’t get the dream job but you got a job, that’s a victory. Sure you’re not with the person you’re supposed to marry but you’re happy and in a good place, that is a victory. Sure you’re not able to afford to go travel the whole entire world but you took a vacation and you didn’t stress about money during this vacation because you could afford it. These are the small victories. These are the moments that need to be celebrated because you are trying your damnedest to make a difference in this world; to make your life better, to make the lives of your future children, and the future generation better. And if you don’t stop and take a moment you will miss it. You will miss your life because you’re too stressed out that you’re worked up, anxious, and depressed. You need to stop and believe that you can do this.
You won’t win every battle. But if you keep fighting there is no way that you will not win the war.