On September 13, 2009, my Facebook status read:
Emily Okerlund loves her life and the people in it. It took a while to come to this conclusion, but all’s well that ends well, yes?
I find this beautiful, but at the same time, extremely worrying. Little did I know when I wrote this how much darkness was about to come.
You see, I started my freshman year of college about two weeks after posting that Facebook status. The academic year started off on a great note. I made friends, I enjoyed my classes, I was away from my home… everything seemed perfect!But in December 2009/January 2010, I hit rock bottom. Nothing in particular sparked this downward spiral except the heightened loneliness that comes along with adjusting to a new situation. I hated my life. I hated myself. It was not a pretty time in my life, let’s just leave it at that for now.
The reason I bring any of this up is because this came after I posted the aforementioned Facebook status. That means that even after I thought I had conquered my demons, they returned bigger than ever.
Although the worst of my demons have subsided, I had a slight period of darkness this past summer as well. Life truly is an emotional and psychological rollercoaster. We climb up and up slowly to reach the high point, but the momentum on the downhills is so great and you fall quickly and unexpectedly.
But why do these ups and downs occur? Well, life inherently has its highs and lows, but I think there’s definitely a reason why they affect some of us more than others and affect us more at some times in our life than in others. I think one of my mentors, Chalene Johnson, put it best in one of her personal development lectures at Camp Do More 2011: without really delving deep and dealing with the hard stuff, your demons will return. Perhaps not in the same way. They changed for me, but they were destructive in both situations. Now I’m focusing 100% on the foundation. Without that, these issues will just return. I mean, look how positive I was back in September 2009 and then look at the darkness that followed shortly thereafter. That’s because my foundation wasn’t strong yet. It’s there now, but it can always be improved. So that’s what I’m doing strengthening my foundation.
Who’s with me?