Several weeks ago, I started to write a blog post because I have not posted in what seems like forever… which also seems to have become a theme in my life lately. The blog post started like this, “I have not written in a while because quite honestly, I have been exhausted with life lately”. I was going to catch y’all up with my life – what I have been doing, and what I am looking forward to… but I never posted it. Mostly because I was exhausted, but also because the way I had chosen to start that post. I did not know how to be honest with myself or in my writing about how I was feeling. I did not want to come off depressed because I am not. I did not want to come off ungrateful because I am so blessed. So instead, I just deleted the post and left it alone.
Well, then several of my friends started sharing this post on Facebook. Not having time and too tired to read it, I saved it for later. Later never came, so I still had not read it… until today when it popped up again. I read it, and I have shared it as well because it expressed (mostly) everything I feel in the most candid of ways. I want to be completely vulnerable and honest with y’all in this post because I think it is important… so here we go.
For those of you that do not know, I am currently pursuing my doctor of physical therapy degree, as well as, my masters degree in health management. Since starting my graduate programs this summer, I have felt exhausted by life. Again, I do not want to come off as ungrateful because I realize that I am so privileged to be afforded these opportunities. I am grateful, and I am so blessed. I also do not want anyone to be concerned for my mental health when I say I am exhausted with life. I am truly and honestly the happiest I have ever been in my life, but I am also physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.
I fully agree with the author of the shared post when she says that with graduate school comes immense pressure – at least for me. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and personal image, I have always placed pressure on myself. I have always put my whole heart into everything that I have done because I have always convinced myself that people would somehow think less of me if I gave anything less than every ounce of myself. I was well into my college career before I realized that I really could not do everything – which I still struggle with today.
The pressure I place on myself is at an all time high in graduate school, which leaves me constantly trying to remind myself that I have earned my seat at the table. It leaves me completely and utterly exhausted. And, like a never ending cycle, it also leaves me placing even more pressure on myself.
I go to school Monday through Thursday. I put in my best effort at school, and then I come home and put in even more. On Mondays, I take Gramps to PT before class; on Tuesdays, I coach GOTR; on Wednesdays, I lead Kids Connects at church; on Thursdays, I have night class; on Fridays, I take Gramps to PT; and on Sundays, I serve Kids at church. I do not say this to brag about all that I do, but just to say, that at the end of the day (and most of the weekend), I am drained.
Most people would never know how drained I actually am because I never want people to think that I cannot handle what is on my plate. I am capable of doing all that I do, and I am capable of doing so with a smile on my face. I do not want to change any of the opportunities I have said “yes” to because each and every one has added so much abundance to my life. But as rewarding as it is, it is also just as exhausting, and it has required a lot of “no’s” too… which I struggle with, a lot (FOMO is real).
My heart aches when I have to say no to church events where I know help is needed so badly. My heart aches when I say no to friends because I am so tired that I just do not want to leave the house… and then I get anxious that after so many no’s, they will just stop asking me. My heart aches when I miss church because I am too mentally and physically drained to show up – even when I know that it will renew my heart. My heart completely breaks when my Sweet Anni tells me that she misses me and wishes I was around more, but that she is proud of me. My heart aches that I cannot be the friend, daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, etc. that I want to be because a lot of the time I just do not have the capacity to be fully present like I once was.
Much like the girl in the post I have shared, I have been ranting and rambling on without a real trajectory. I just needed to put my thoughts and feelings to paper (or computer screen). I needed to clear the air for myself. I needed to remind myself that I earned a seat at the table, but that does not mean it will always be easy sitting there. When I said yes to pursuing this dream, I knew it would mean saying no to other opportunities. I may have not known how hard that would be when I signed up, but I am learning and adapting. I needed to write this to remind myself that I am human and to give myself grace. And, well, maybe you need that reminder too.
I do not know what you are facing in your life right now, but I know you are not alone. Always remember, you earned your seat at the table, so own it. Give yourself grace, you are only human. And most importantly, God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good. If you remember that, I promise, no matter how draining life is, you will always find joy in it.