Communities Conquer Walls

This world may be home to a diverse group of individuals, but there is certainly one thing that we all have in common: the struggle. We hit a wall at some point in our lives; everyone has in one way or another. My wall probably looks different than yours, but it is still a common ground that we can connect on.

Personally, my walls have seemed infinite in the past six months. Right as I shimmy my way over one, another is there waiting for me, laughing in my face, and doubting my strength.

I will begin the usual climb that I’ve grown so accustomed to, but at the same time each ascend brings a new battle that hits me right in the belly of my insecurities.

This past week I was feeling confident and solid in my routines. It was the third week of classes, and I was getting into the swing of things. Consistent schedules are my medication. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, keeping in tune with my body rhythms is vital for my well-being. So weekdays are good for me because they are filled with structure. My health, mind body and soul, is maintained, and I thrive.

The weekend comes around, and my all-too-familiar acquaintance, anxiety, creeps in without my consent. All of a sudden, thoughts rush through my head worrying about the future, unsure of what I’m going to do, and overthinking every possible circumstance that could potentially happen.

Why? Why do I face these issues? Why am I trapped in this whirlwind of suffering? Why am I alone?

I begin to analyze to the point of mental distress. I grow weary and tired as I try to figure out the battle going on in my mind.

This is my wall. This is my fight. This is not me.

I always go back to the question, “why am I alone?” and I contemplate this. I am in Blacksburg, a college town, living among 25,000 other students. I am not alone. Even I can’t fool myself into thinking that. I am reminded of the population around me when it’s 11 pm on a Tuesday night and my neighbors are blasting music. I am reminded on the community I am in when I walk to class and exchange greetings and smiles with familiar faces. I am reminded of the friends I am surrounded by when I receive a hug or a phone call out of the blue just because.

I try to overcome my walls, time and time again. I am successful because I am not giving up and I have not given up, but the thought is always lingering in the back of my mind like a glowing exit sign.

I haven’t figured out how to overcome these racing thoughts completely because it is a weekly confrontation. I feel it coming on like the ocean pulling the tide in before a tsunami, and the force of the wave knocks me down every time. But when I am standing on that shore, hand-in-hand with my people, my family, my friend, that is when I can tolerate the weight of the ocean crashing into my fragile body. Because when humans support humans, the unthinkable can become reality.

Anxiety hovers over me day and night. I am still paralyzed by the overwhelming thoughts clouding my mind. I get nervous and think I am going to be like this forever; “I’ll never be normal again.” It’s not until I can humble myself to reach out and grab the hand of the people right next to me. That is when I sincerely believe that I am not alone.

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