7.5 billion people experienced today in a different way than I did. That is awesome. That is powerful. My job is to listen to people speak about their experience and be with them in the simplest yet purest form of human connection…listening. I am a doctorate student training to be a clinical psychologist and I have the privilege of listening to people from all walks of life speak about their unique experience. The good, the bad, the painful, and the triumphant. I didn’t always want to do this job, I was set on being a doctor, a surgeon actually. In fact my parents thought I was certifiably crazy when I abruptly changed my major from Pre-Med to Clinical Psychology and told them I wanted to help change the way we look at the human experience. My first Psych 101 class was not my first run in with the field of psychology.
When I was 16, I hit my rock bottom. I was a student athlete striving for a perfection that didn’t exist. I was told that if I just lost a few pounds I would be even faster and more desirable to D1 colleges. I was told if my grades slipped colleges would forget about my athletic ability. And my harshest critic lived in my head. I was crippled by an anxiety that never subsided, I was never good enough, and I thought it would never get better. That was my reality, I couldn’t tell you half of what had gone on outside my head during my day because I was so preoccupied with my anxiety, and my flaws. I wasn’t eating, I was moving at a million miles an hour, I was self-medicating, I saw no way out, and I snapped. I was faced with an ultimatum and I had no choice but to face the thing I had avoided for so long. I was lucky to have people in my life that helped me through the darkest part of my experience and in the words of the great J. K. Rowling “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”.
I’ve learned to take life one day at a time because why fixate on perfection when I have a beautiful day right in front of me? I’ve learned to talk to myself as I would talk to others and to enjoy and learn from the ride. I’ve learned that life is about balance: be present, run on the beach, drink that chocolate shake you’ve been craving, go to the gym, love with your whole heart, dance in the rain, meet new people, make mistakes, learn, fall on your butt and laugh about it, do yoga, be reflective, just live. I’ve grown from my darkest times and if I can help one person out of theirs I’ve given something to this world. Live your truth and the rest will come in time.