Education has always been my escape.

I am that crazy person that takes 18 or more units every semester while working 30 or more hours a week.

It keeps me constantly moving, constantly thinking about everything except my own thoughts.

I was looking forward to this summer. The summer before I transfer to a new school.

I was going to be working 40 hours a week between coaching volleyball, coordinating youth basketball and volleyball leagues and instructing Pilates classes with my certificate I just earned from Orange Coast College. I even planned to shove in some beach days with friends, go to Disneyland or maybe even go on a road trip.

I was excited.

All of these things were great ways to keep me busy and not deal with the looming cloud of depression or anxiety following behind me. I knew the cloud would catch me, I just wasn’t expecting it to be on its terms or during the middle of a pandemic.

This summer will not be spent working, sun bathing on the beaches of Newport on a hot sunny day eating an acai bowl, or in the backyard of a friend's house sharing drinks and hugging while laughing so hard about a memory of the previous summer.

I will find myself driving down PCH alone to see the crystal clear water taunting me, longing to see my coworkers again and sitting 6 feet apart at a park reminiscing on our time before this.

I have been forced to look at my own lifestyle and see if it is really worth it.

Is it really worth it to be getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep during the semester and totally disregard any kind of mental health?

Although unwelcome at first, this time has given me a chance to look at what is around me and see what I need, what will help me understand myself better and, most importantly, realizing that I could accomplish everything I could have ever dreamed of. 

But if that looming cloud or depression and anxiety is pouring down on me and I haven’t done anything about it, what is the point?

So this summer I will be finding what I need to do to better my own mental health, whether that be therapy or just talking to a friend.

I plan on making better decisions about my work load, by saying no if I need to and finally learning that it is okay to ask for help. I have to know that I am not alone and I don’t have to do this by myself.

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