Inspired by the Vocal Article "I Died when I was 17"
Inspiration comes from everywhere if you are open to be inspired
I read a story here on Vocal and it can be found here by Keenan Xen. It was really enjoyable and relatable.
It is comforting for me to know there is a platform like Vocal to share stories, in my case I find it really therapeutic and healing.
What I am grateful for in this story was the writer's ability to face adversity and learn that nothing is perfect. In the digital world, perfection can seem like it is achievable.
What this 22 year old writer experienced was something I may have gone through from ages 16 until 19. It may be interesting to see the similarities and perhaps there is a pattern here which might help others going through the same thing.
I was a very shy child to the point where I used to runaway from guests visiting my parents. I never spoke in group situations and let my elder siblings do all the socializing on my behalf. I was a wall flower and that was where I felt most comfortable.
I probably suffered depression, without receiving a diagnosis, from age 16. I hated school and merely passed my papers in order to finish high school as quickly as possible. I stayed in my bedroom for most of the hours outside of school and became more agoraphobic.
One time my family organized a day trip and I flat out refused to go. So I stayed home on this sunny day while my family of 9 went for the day trip substituting me for one of my sister's friends. Looking back I was too scared to go to an unfamiliar place with lots of people.
I didn't use social media and still don't really, I only have a Facebook account. So back then, I used my time to do jigsaw puzzles, binge watch E! news which I think was quite damaging to my self esteem and did some art.
My crutch was comparing my life to others, never thinking I was good enough, feeling unworthy and seeking comfort in watching others' lives dismantle which is probably why I enjoyed watching celebrity drama play out. On the flipside, watching others succeed in the material world was entertaining for me and I enjoyed watching shows that showcased celebrities' material wealth.
Things started to turn around when I became 19 and made the decision to study nursing. I think this was a turning point because it was probably the first time I did something for myself that wasn't seeking people's approval or people pleasing. I really wanted to do it as it was a vocation which I have committed to for 10 years. I also think nursing helped me grow and harness my communication skills as I was forced to do things way beyond my comfort zone. Talking to people, service to others, being compassionate and being a team player were all skills needed in nursing in order to do the job properly (among other things).
The author mentioned he suffered a mental death which can be caused by a significant amount of stress. High school were my stressful years and I am so glad they have ended.
Part of me which died was the girl in high school. The girl that didn't have a clue what she wanted, couldn't say 'no,' followed the leader and couldn't truly connect with others. These are still a working progress but I am a very different person to the girl that is no more.
Apart from choosing nursing, another turning point to help me 'continue to die' metaphorically, I suppose, was moving out of my parent's house in order to gain more independence, make my own decisions and take responsibility for myself.
I think mental death is a good thing for people who are very shy and do not know what they want. It probably will happen without your effort.
It is a good idea to reflect on what makes you shy, as I don't think this is a personality trait as likened to introversion, which is a personality trait. They are quite different in my opinion now that my shyness is basically non-existent.
Also, reflecting on what will make you satisfied, not your parents or anyone else, is something you will learn is the only way to live. You matter most and as a teenager, I think it is a time for reflection. On one hand we crave socializing with our peers to have a sense of belonging and on the other, we also really crave alone time and space to ourselves. It is a unique time as a human- the teenage years and a time for gentleness on the mind and body to build strong foundations as an adult.
Thank you for reading! Have a great day