Real Talk With Rebecca: Sometimes almost is good enough

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Photo courtesy of Felicia Buitenwerf/Unsplash

If you are looking for a safe space to escape your daily struggles with anxiety or mental health, you have found the right place. Welcome to my column, “Real Talk With Rebecca,” where I will be writing weekly about daily struggles with mental health. For those of you struggling with mental health on campus, I hope you can relate to this column and not feel so alone. Feel free to email me if you have any topics you would like me to discuss, or if you just want to vent!  

This week I will be discussing how sometimes almost doing something is success in itself.  

I tried to go to the gym the other day. I didn’t necessarily make it to the stairmaster or even break a sweat, but I tried, and that’s all that matters. I walked all the way down the hill from where I parked my car and was about to walk inside the Rec Center. Before I could enter, my brain did that super annoying thing where it starts overthinking about everything and anything.  

Are these pants weird? Do I look bad in this shirt? What if someone thinks I look stupid on the squat machine? Do I have time for this? I should probably go back home and do homework. Wait, my friends are all going to the mall, and I need to go with them so they don’t have fun without me.  

These are just a few of the millions of thoughts that raced through my head moments before I felt my face become wet with tears, and I turned around and headed back to my car.  

At least I almost made it. Is “almost” good enough though? Doesn’t almost just mean I was not successful? A failure, one might call it. But can’t almost be good enough? Almost could also mean a baby step in the right direction. 

In these situations where I almost do something, it’s so hard to not feel defeated. Letting anxiety win small, simple tasks like going to the gym is beyond frustrating. I often find myself wishing I could be “normal.” Sometimes it is hard for me to even grasp the idea that there are people in this world who don’t struggle with anxiety, because I can’t remember my life without it.  

The next time I face this situation – which I am sure will be soon, considering I don’t think my anxiety is going anywhere anytime soon – there are a few things I plan to do to overcome these intrusive thoughts. Sometimes I find blasting music in my headphones to be helpful. This way, I can’t even think about anything if I wanted to. Lose myself in music and save the thoughts for later. Of course, it is also a great option to bring a friend with you, but sometimes we don’t always have that luxury. Most importantly, I need to remember one simple word: breathe.  

Taking a minute to breathe probably could have saved me from turning around and heading back to my car. A reality check with myself probably would have helped me realize that no one else would think any of the thoughts going through my head – let alone even notice me at all.  Half of the time, if I sit and talk out my thoughts, I realize that I am worrying and overthinking things that have not even happened or are unrealistic. So what is the point of working myself up about things before they even happen? Unfortunately, that is what anxiety does to you.  

Next time I find myself upset that I “almost” did something, I plan on changing the way I view the word. Sometimes, almost is good enough.   

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