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Do More of What Makes Your Soul Happy

The Mantra I Live By

Happy HallowThankMas. If you remotely know me, you would understand that when the calendar hits October first, I am in full holiday swing. With my spooky decorations in the dorm, Thanksgiving drawings planned out, and half of my Christmas shopping done, I am in the spirit. 

But where have I been? 

First off, I have been public about my Trich. One of the most frequent questions I get is “Where’d your hair go?” For years I have been telling people that it had just fallen out. And I really wish I could sit here and tell you that now. I have what is called Trichotillomania. It’s a disorder that causes you to compulsively pull out your own hair (super embarrassing and something I have been ashamed of, but we’re working on it). It’s under the same category as OCD and it’s an unhealthy way to ease anxiety.

In my case, I pull from the top of my head, which is hard to cover up. I have only been able to wear my hair in one part, either in a pony or down.

As my anxiety has lessened, so has the hair pulling, immensely! So many times I have considered just shaving my head because it would be easier than dealing with the pain and stress. But, I. Do. Not. Care. I don’t care about the stares. I don’t care about the questions. I don’t care about the snide comments. I appreciate people telling my how well my hair looks or how fast it’s growing. I appreciate my mom and sister running their hands through my hair and being happy that it’s no longer brittle, flat, or patchy. I appreciate my body cooperating with me for all the times I have harmed it and allowing for my hair to grow back.

So for the past few months of actively being aware when I want to literally “pull my hair out”, here is a celebratory, new hair styling, proud smiling, not ashamed anymore selfie.

It’s been trichy to say the least, but I’m healing. (Hehe pun intended)

I am a Sophomore at Bloomsburg University (Go Huskies!).

Now I know what many of you are thinking...when did this come about? Last year around this time, I started at Penn College and was taking on nursing. Yes, you read that right. Nursing. The girl who cringes at needles nowadays decided to become a nurse. Granted, I wanted to be a psych nurse, but still. About halfway through the first semester I realized that I just chose that because it was what my friends were doing and I didn't want to be undecided. I have always been interested in psychology and used to think I wanted to be a therapist or counselor. Unfortunately, Penn doesn't offer psych as a major and that is was I had my mind set on (and still do). Next thing I knew, I was filling out an application for BloomU with a major in psychology. And now here I am, with the first half of the semester in the bag.

About 2 years ago I didn't want to even go to school, let alone a school that is 45 minutes away and live there.

It has been going smooth. As well as an unfamiliar setting with hills, humidity and a hint of asthma can go. I always thought that when I went to college my eating disorder would follow me around. That was on a good day if I thought I would even make it to college. But I am here in room 226 forcing myself to update you and reflect on my life, while sipping a caramel macchiato.

I want to look back one day and remember making memories and not obsessing over food. Everyone says that college is a fresh start and I couldn't agree more.

Dorm, Sweet Dorm

I have been living. Change is scary and hard, but I am adjusting. Surprisingly, my diet has improved. I am eating healthy, but still allowing myself to have a fun food once in a while. And my body feels good. I have so much energy and I don't feel weighed down with guilt. 

I'm not a very sociable person. I don't mind being on my own and I don't need to be around people 24/7. So my social life hasn't changed. In my free time, I have been drawing, watching American Horror Story, walking and reteaching myself ballet along with French. And I am content. 

I have been living by the mantra, "Do more of what makes your soul happy". By spending time doing what I love, I can also reflect on my life. For a change, I am satisfied right now.  

Spending less time on social media has improved my self awareness. I'm not constantly trying to compare myself to others or get tied in with politics. 

"It's not a problem. I can stop anytime I want." We often associate these phrases with alcohol addictions or smoking obsessions and not with social media. However, social media is becoming something people get defensive about. For most, our phones are the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night. Talk about a controlling relationship.

You log onto Facebook after work and see post after post of politics and opinions and it seems that everyone has something to say. "Digital depression". A term coined by Dr. Gerstman to identify the feeling of being upset after being on social media. Easy enough to fix, right? Just don't get on your phone or delete the apps. If it were that simple, we wouldn't be discussing it right now. We have learned to base our self-worth on how many 'likes' we get on a picture. Or we look for validation in the 'comments' under our post.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they all used to be a way for us to catch up on the lives of our friends and family, but now it has turned to politics and fake news and fighting. What used to be aimlessly scrolling through funny animal videos has turned to the horrors of the real world. Though we aren't in a state of anarchy, some Facebook accounts may beg to differ. Behind a screen we are anonymous, we are in control. But guess what? We can be in control of ourselves when we choose to put down our phones and spend time face-to-face with an actual human. *Gasp* an actual human. It's actually quite nice and if you do it often enough, you would know what color your best friend's boyfriend's eyes are without checking out his profile picture.

Putting down my phone and doing more meaningful activities helps me to be in touch with my emotions and I am learning to let myself feel them. 

Michaela Switzer
Michaela Switzer

Hey everyone! I'm an aspiring writer and am studying to become a psychologist. I'm diagnosed with anorexia purge type, depression and anxiety. I hope to be able to share experiences with you and hopefully help those who are struggling.

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