After a long three month hiatus, I’m finally back! I feel extremely guilty for having spent hours on Snapchat and Instagram and not enough time on 53 marcel. I’ve been struggling to feel genuinely happy lately — more specifically for the past seven months — and here’s why:

Aside from enrolling in a Makeup Artist Diploma program at Canadian Beauty College and starting a new job at Canada’s very own, Squish Candies, I haven’t been doing much of anything except for watching YouTube videos. Have you ever had so much free time that you have no idea what to do with yourself? That happened to me when I dropped out of university. I would text Tati to tell her that I was going crazy because I was so bored and lonely. She would reply saying, “Everything is going to be fine. Apply for more jobs to keep you busy, nonosh1.”  She was right, as always. I had to apply for jobs if I wanted to have a productive year off.

It took me seven months to find a part-time job. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? But it’s a sweet gig and I love it.

I made the brave decision to withdraw from university back in February and I only stopped regretting it in August. I never imagined that I would be taking time off school. I thought that I was destined for university and had been anticipating the day I would officially be pursuing higher education for my lifelong career as an Urban Planner. Of course, nothing in life is set in stone.

For six months, like many uni dropouts, I wondered whether or not I had done the right thing. I spent most of my days sulking in insecurities and self-doubt. Questions like, “How did I end up here?” or “Why do I feel so sad all of the time?” and the famous, “What am I doing/going to do with my life?” all clouded my mind. I felt discouraged, uninterested and hopeless which according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, are all signs of depression. I also experienced what it felt like to have anxiety. Since the term  has been glamorized online and on TV, I had no idea what the term meant. Thanks to articles like, “The Difference Between ‘Having Anxiety’ and ‘Being Anxious'” on thelala.com, I could read up on my situation. Rachel Knuttle conveniently lists and briefly explains the common types of anxiety disorders, which made it easier for me to classify what I was experiencing. I found two disorders that encompassed my feelings: “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” and “Social Anxiety Disorder”.

I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I worry too much. I can’t help it. I’m still learning how to stop my mind from wandering off to overthinking mode. In terms of social anxiety, I’ve never been the type to crave being the centre of attention but when I dropped out of university, this overpowering fear of talking to people developed inside of me. I didn’t want to be faced with the question, “How are you?”. I felt like a hermit crab. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to get out of the house to breathe fresh air and interact with people, but the thought of stepping outside of my sanctuary scared the hell out of me. When I was caught up in my terrors I couldn’t help but wonder, “Would I ever feel like myself again?”.

The answer is, yes.

Things don’t get better, you just get stronger.

You’re probably already familiar with this saying. What I wanted more than anything was to feel happy again and to reconnect with old passions. When old Steph checked out, she took everything with her; blogging included. The only thing I wanted to do on my computer was to watch an unhealthy amount of YouTube videos and, occasionally, browse Manrepeller.com. There were days when I felt inspired to blog or to film videos but I couldn’t physically bring myself to do any of it.

It took me months of reflection to realize how pathetic I was being and I immediately switched my mentality back in July. Here are some of the hobbies I picked up to make me feel good about myself:

  1. Drawing/Painting/Water Colouring
    Staring at the same four walls every day drained the creativeness out of me. I didn’t feel creatively stimulated. One day I opened up my sketchbook and started sketching and that was probably the best thing that ever happened to me since February. For the first time in months, my mind felt empty. It was as if the darkness that was lingering around me evaporated the more I filled my sketchbook.
  2. Pilates
    I don’t remember when I started to make morning Pilates a daily routine, but it helped me tremendously. My day didn’t feel right if I didn’t put on my yoga pants and sports bra before leaving my room in the morning. I finally had an actual schedule! I committed thirty minutes to pilates every morning and guess what? I felt happy. POP Pilates founder, Cassey Ho, became my inspiration and I wanted to exude positive energy just like her.
  3. Blogging
    When I was in grade nine, my geography teacher told me that my writing level was weak and to this day, I still feel insecure about my writing. Thankfully, the new me is more than excited to learn how to improve my skills. I solemnly swear that I will contribute more to 53 marcel.

Taking a few months off of school was the best thing that ever happened to me. I learned that I’m happiest when I have a busy schedule and that mental health is a serious matter that isn’t to be taken lightly. I continue to struggle with the anxiety disorders mentioned above, but I no longer let them take over my mind and body. Some days are better than others but that’s okay.

If there’s one thing that I want you to remember about this post, it’s this: Self-diagnosis isn’t the wisest thing to do–it’d be best to seek professional counselling to help you cope with anxiety. When you talk about your issues with other people, you’re one step closer to feeling like yourself again.

Here are links of some of the weird, funny and heartwarming websites/videos that have cheered me up:

→ Manrepeller: On Confidence, Confession: I Started Drinking Diet Coke Again, (any Manrepeller article, really)
The Ellen Show: Any of Andy’s Haunted House Adventures (the one with Ariana Grande, the one with Jacqueline, the ones with Amy)
→ YouTube: Desi Perkins, LustreLux, NikkieTutorials, PatrickStarrr, Claire Marshall, Estée Lalonde (and her vlog channel: Everyday Estée

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