“My Steepest Hill To Climb” Covid Diary
Something is very certain of life: change is inevitable and undeniable. It is getting clearer than ever before that the world pre-pandemic will not be the world, we have post. Too much has happened for society to go along the way it once did. Even if there is a sense of normalcy in the coming months or years, the lasting effects of the past two years will leave a lasting mark and a bitter taste on the memories of everyone. I started my adulthood right in the worst part of our new reality, and often I find it extremely difficult to just grow up. The world I was told I would be a part of very soon is not the world I stepped into.
I always expected my steepest hill to climb to be an extreme heartbreak, or someone very special to me passing away. I never expected it to be myself. I spend most of my time stuck in my head, analyzing, thinking, running through loops and scenarios in my head. On-campus, at work, or even with friends, you can find me overthinking. COVID-19 has made me a hermit. Scared of what mass amount of people might have to say, or, considerably worse, what they may not. Our ever so digital world only furthered itself down the rabbit hole of technology, AI, and “human efficiency.” I don’t want to sound cynical either, but take a stroll in a park, or go pick up some groceries and all you’ll see are faces stuck in glowing screens. It leaves me feeling like an alien-like I’m the only one who isn’t stuck in a nonexistent world of ones and zeros.
In years usually spent reflecting, learning, and developing the inner workings of oneself, I sometimes do not even have a grip on myself. Struggling to get my mental health stable has been a fight for me for quite some time. Especially being a full-time student, part-time barista, and aspiring musician, taking time to process emotions doesn’t feel practical. I often feel guilty when spending free time relaxing or enjoying myself thinking that I should be doing something much
more productive or pursuant. Keeping up with the day to day both mentally and physically is already taxing and having darker things going on in the background just makes my own mind unbearably heavy sometimes. I run to things like comic books, music, movies, and anything I can relate to as an escape from my reality. My truth. The reality I cannot seem to handle.
With every year I live I grow reassuring wisdom. I know that my life is in my hands and after so much passivity throughout the years, I have never been more ready to grab the steering wheel and go wherever I please. I recently started therapy and within a month the weight that usually bears down on my chest already feels significantly smaller. Therapy has been a light in the darkest of times for not only me but so many other young, aspirational people. I can feel myself growing. Becoming smarter and more present and in control. Being a student has instilled a drive in me that I simply have never had before. I will no longer tolerate the self-sabotage that is hiding behind the fear of the new “real world.” Getting my mental health stable has been a long, tedious process and I am nowhere near done. My steepest hill thus far may have put me lower than ever, but I know on the other side there is a mountain peak waiting to be conquered.
Written by Brandon Rush