In the creation myth that begins the Bible, God says to Adam, “It is not good for man to be alone.” While I’ve always agreed with this statement, I’ve never really grasped its importance. However, I have recently discovered its profound meaning in my own life.
This summer was marked by chaos. I struggled to figure out my post-graduate plans, and vacillated constantly between teaching, working part time jobs, and grad school. Finally, within a few hours on a hot Thursday in July, my plans became clear, and I was accepted into grad school.
I moved into my own apartment in a small town in Arkansas on July 14th. My parents and a close friend helped me move in, and I was so excited. The next week was full of trips to the store, hammering nails into the wall, and adjusting things here and there. Finally, my perfect space was completed. I was living a real adult life, and I couldn’t be happier.
But as the days went on, this perfect space became my personal hell. My anxiety peaked in a way I never expected, and too many nights were spent lying on my bathroom floor crying uncontrollably and making myself sick. Night after night, I relied on people to pull me out of this place because I couldn’t do it myself. It became an unhealthy routine. The day would be full of ups and downs, but as soon as the sun set, I’d be in the same place as the night before, and the night before that.
A few things helped me realize how poorly I was dealing with my mental health, and I finally took action. My mom came and visited me, my boyfriend helped me put things in perspective, and I talked to a doctor about what all had been happening. Things slowly got better and better until one day, I realized things were completely normal. I had fallen back into place and back into the life I had tried so hard to cultivate.
I kept telling myself that as soon as school started, I would be so much better. I would find a routine. I would be busy. I wouldn’t spend my days alone in my apartment, counting the hours and the minutes until I could go to sleep. So here we are. I began school. I began work. I began to feel better again. But I am far from perfectly fine. Some days are marked by laughing so hard that I cry, and others are filled with stark mood shifts and tears that spring from my eyes without warning. Some days I feel so stable, and some days I can barely put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, I can’t sleep because I don’t want to be alone. Other times, I look forward to the moment I step through my apartment door into the quiet refuge that I’ve created. I’m slowly surrounding myself with people who understand me and can help me without relying as heavily on them. I’m learning that I can do things on my own, even when they seem impossible.
But there are still some days I make the phone call, “I just need to know that someone is there.” Humans were not made to be alone.