Doing it All
By: Jackie O'Meara
At 14, I had my first job, a driver’s permit, was on my school’s soccer and volleyball teams, in marching band, and on student council. Now at 21, I have 3 jobs, am in school for 2 degrees, pursuing law school, oversee the recruitment of over 300+ people for the University’s chapter of Relay For Life, and wake up to about 40 emails every morning. Let’s not forget maintaining a social life, cooking health-conscious meals, and working out. To sum it up, I pretty much do it all.
This hectic lifestyle of having every minute of my day planned is all that I have ever known. My $35 planner has my entire life mapped out and yes, it is color-coded. I won’t lie, seeing all of the assignments, birthday plans, group meetings, extra shifts, and work events can be overwhelming to me at times. But I wouldn’t have committed to all of these things if I didn’t know I could come through on the expectations set upon me.
A mix of genetics and growing up in Johnson County, Kansas, a privileged suburb that holds appearance at the highest standard, may have led me down the avenue to where I am now. I have always been a hard worker, taking honors classes and being on multiple athletic teams at once can serve as proof. But I wasn’t always able to handle the immense societal pressure to bear it all.
I have anxiety. I was diagnosed with it last December, although I’ve known I’d had it since I was 12. It wasn’t until this most recent August when I decided that me trying to do it all on my own, wasn’t going to work out anymore. As I mentioned before, I am on the track of pursuing law school. My summer was filled with LSAT practice exams and classes rather than hotdogs and pool floaties. This last minute additive to my future seemed to take a toll on me that I couldn’t push down. I began to feel physically sick every single day, to the point where I had to miss work or cancel plans with friends as I couldn’t move a muscle in fear I would pass out. For those who don’t know, anxiety has a correlation to physical health just as much as mental. I have had stomach pains and lightheadedness for years and every time it was debilitating and restricting me from living my packed and eventful life.
These outside pressures were beginning to control my life more than I was. So I sought out medical aide after much consultation and deliberation, as I thought that having medical solutions fix my problems meant that I was a failure who couldn’t do it myself. I had to realize that taking a pill every morning at 9am wasn’t something I had to hide. It was something I should let people know about, as it breaks the stigma surrounding mental health and medication. I, and many others alike, shouldn’t be embarrassed about seeking further help for mental health. I thought I had hit rock bottom when I went to see a doctor, and it turned out the be the best decision I have ever made. So yes, I will continue to do it all, but now I’ll be able to breathe without having to write it down in my calendar.