Mental Health

Overwhelmed: Taking Five Minutes at a Time

Stress and OCD | Libero Magazine 3
I can’t take such a timeline all at once, no matter how much I wish I could. So I give myself permission to cut my life into digestible pieces.

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Tomorrow I’ll wake up and get ready to take a family member to an appointment for cancer treatment. The second they leave my car to sit back at home, I’ll be rushing to a therapy appointment where I have no idea what I will talk about because there are an infinite amount of things on my mind. I’ll go from my appointment, to work, where I’ll be until ten at night.

I have bills I need to get straight before the week ends. Financial aid for school still needs to be sorted out, though I have no idea when my deadline for that is, or if it’s even passed. Certain friends are asking more and more when they get to see me, and I have only vague answers for them. I could tell them Friday, but chances are when Friday hits, I’ll feel like curling in a ball until the next marathon of a day.

I’m slowly moving toward a degree in psychology. I’m hoping I’ll be able to help people with all kinds of mental illness, though I wonder how I’ll do that when my own mental health feels shaky at times.

There are millions of crossroads that are going to make me into who I want or don’t want to be.

Rewind four years, and I’d be tackling extreme anxiety with every mirror or plate I pass, and a razor in my underwear drawer that whispers on sad nights.

Life can sometimes feel like a nightmare. Whether you’re battling mental illness or not, it’s hard to juggle everything that we’re told to juggle, in a society that’s obnoxiously busy and buzzing.

My mind attempts to travel from today and back to embarrassing moments, and should haves. Once I snatch it back from the past, it works its way to setting me on sprint to having a husband and kids with the job of my dreams in less than four years (because, you know, otherwise I’m clearly failing).

I can’t take such a timeline all at once, no matter how much I wish I could. So I give myself permission to cut my life into digestible pieces. I’ve had worse and better days with it than today, but I go back to a takeaway I got from harder days in my recovery.

At this moment, I can swallow the thought of taking on tomorrow, and I’m okay.

Sometimes I need to take simply five minutes at a time.

I’m working on no longer asking myself to take on my whole world at once, especially while being plagued with disordered thoughts.

I’m not weak for breaking things into manageable pieces. I’m wise to respect my limits for future thriving. We’re made greater thanks to the moments where we cut ourselves a break, where the world said “do more or you fail.”

I’ve sat with a full plate, empty stomach, and panicked brain in eating disorder recovery. I’ve sat with suicidal thoughts.

With trials, I’ve taken five minutes at a time that gradually took me to today.

Some days, I was able to make leaps and be fine, and others, I crawled in comparison. Not every day or moment will bring the same strength.

While I’m overwhelmed I will ask myself: If I take only these next five minutes, how can I bring myself to life with those five minutes? There are more right answers than I can count, but for now, my next five minutes mean a damn good song, a strong cup of coffee, and the last few words to an article.

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Brooke struggled with disordered eating, depression, and self harm at a very young age. She went into recovery at fifteen in November of 2011, and continues to share and learn perspectives for healthy and happy living. Her faith in Christ is what motivated her recovery, and is what continues to motivate her to love herself and others more deeply every day. She deeply enjoys her work at a group home for individuals with a spectrum of disorders. Brooke plans to pursue a four year degree in Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Brooke believes people (herself included) are messy, but well worth loving and caring for. Some of her interests include running, reading, listening to spoken word poetry, singing in the car and shower, and drinking coffee no matter the time of day. By writing for the Libero, Brooke aims to find another way to put her trials to good use.

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