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Stressed to Be Best

My breath is yanked under my thoughts as they rampage to control me. My lungs hurt, but my mind is telling me they’re okay because I want them to be- my family wants them to be. There is a pounding in my chest that is lulled by all the sounds that are staring me down. I can’t focus-I can’t breathe- I can’t- I can’t-

“You can,” my brother shouts at me in the car.

“No- I can-t,” I try to breathe out.

The panic subsides to a dull roar as I morph back into robot mode. Everyday is the same and yet it completely isn’t, but I feel trapped and my brother is telling me lies.

“Sometimes you physically and mentally can’t. I can’t put myself in a stressful situation or put myself in harms way,” I say but learn to contradict later.

“YOU always do this. You can do it if you put your mind to it. Mind over matter, Laurel,” he says as I get out of the car.

“Thanks for lunch,” I say as I walk back into school.

My relationship was like that for awhile, but it's okay now. But, what I am really trying to get at is the stress part of it all. I have always experienced stress and we all have, but I think the hard part of it all is having people tell us to stop being stressed when they are part of the problem. When my brother told me I could stop my mental disorder I got mad because right then I needed love and support. Yet, as I have found out in the last few months, it really does pay to follow one’s wants. (Not all the time obviously.)

Recently, I have been under the most stress I have ever been in, yet I am faring pretty well compared to when I was a freshman. As a sophomore, I have a lot of more responsibilities like a job and the mindset of my parents that I was going to be “normal” again. Or, well, I was going to work to making everything normal for them. I have a big problem with this because you can’t just advocate for yourself in any relationship. Yet, here I was -  and still am -  pressured by my parents to do the best I can.

So, I set to work, hoping that the normalcy they wanted would show through the cracks in my brain. I did do it for awhile and it worked for awhile, but then the breath disappeared as my mom yelled at me to consider her more. All the pent up tears spilled from my eyes and I yelled in my brain because doing so on the outside was wrong. It's always wrong to lash out no matter what you do, but this was different because I had always shown and expressed my feelings towards loved ones in my life. I had always powered through with reasoning and compromising, but yet again the noose around my neck tightened and the air was there, but the words were gone and meaningless. My fight was meaningless. But, I wasn’t done. I was just there. I am just here.

Everyday, we get up and get ready for others. For our parents, to make them proud; for our friends, to socialize; for our teachers, to get A’s and participate; for strangers, to blend in; for the opposite sex (or whatever your sexuality is), to look good; for society, to be perfect. Don’t forget! If you forget, you will fall and die. Well, they don’t say that, but I sure feel it when I am talking to someone about my future.

Personally, I don’t care about these things and don’t find myself worrying about them too much, yet they still matter to me. I am conditioned to believe that other people's opinions about me are important and I should work to change. But, they don’t matter because society is the people’s opinions that make it a culture and a way of life. 

We make this routine and over schedule ourselves for eventual success or sadness. We do this to ourselves. 

But, as always that is not the end of things. Once you begin to see differently, you feel differently. After I stopped worrying about everyone else, I didn’t worry because my opinion and self care mattered most. I’m not saying you should be selfish. I am just saying that in a very messy world it is easy to lose the breath that powers your soul, body, and mind. 

My breath almost never falters now. I find life in the things I love and eventually find peace after I am overwhelmed with stress. I still can’t do what my brother says I can, but my boundaries are strong and needed. I still have troubles and I still feel like a robot, but what keeps me going is the fact that tomorrow could be like the days that I wasn’t feeling like everyday is the same. For, if you think routine is routine you are wrong because the sun sets and rises differently everyday. And especially for me, I love seeing all the different sunset colors.

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