by Skye Patton
Hi my name is Skye, I am a digital content manager here at Charcoal. This semester’s magazine theme is climax, so I am going to be talking about my climax.
What I’m going to be sharing with you all actually happened this semester. This isn’t some story about a breathtaking high I experienced, instead its quite the opposite.
On November of 2021, this semester, my body collapsed in on itself in such a way that I had to re-evaluate my present self and how I was going to move forward with my life.
I pushed myself too far past my limit, not knowing my elastic band had already snapped.
My whole life consisted of me trying to give everyone a reflection of the perfect human. I did not meet the expectations at all, but I still fought hard to be considered a “good child”. I worked extremely hard in school and got the grades my parents wanted but I had passions beyond school that I wanted to focus on, which was my art. I loved all kinds of art and my art teachers tried to help me pursue my dreams by displaying my art to the class to inspire me to continue.
However, my parents saw differently. In the fourth grade my art teacher submitted my painting to an art contest that was beyond the scope of my school, but my parents said that my art is nothing but a hobby, and didn’t let me go to the contest.
They might have thought this wasn’t a big deal and that I would get over it, but they were wrong.
Ever since then I pushed my desire away and focused on school. The talent and skills that I had picked up diminished, and all I had to show for it was an overachieving yet average student.
Fast forward to now, my sophomore year of college. I had been scrambling to declare my major, and I thought it was going to be business administration. I had tried other majors before but I didn’t see a career that fit me, and as a sophomore, I felt like I should make the decision as soon as possible.
I chose business because it was the safest bet. Its very broad so I’m open to many job opportunities. The thing about going to a competitive private school is you always feel like you’re behind. So I overloaded on business classes and hoped for the best.
At first, I really felt like I could do this, my classes were going great. And then midterm season came along.
I had 4 midterms in one week. I repeat. 4 midterms in one week. 2 on one day, 2 on another. I had already taken another midterm before that week.
I studied hard. I was at the library at 9 am after my 8 am class and grinded. Felt so empowered, as an independent woman should.
Did I like my classes? Absolutely not. I did not care for the subjects I was learning, I only focused on the degree I would be earning and how my life would be after. I just never considered how I was going to feel in the present, how draining it would be to grind so hard to topics you don’t see yourself doing in the future.
Take that feeling and couple it with the fact that you failed most of the midterms. Yep.
I failed 2, barely passed one to the point I had to talk to the professor and dropped a class. All of this happened the week after I took my midterms, and the week I got my scores was the last week to decide to drop a class, so not only was I coping with the failed exams, I also had to run around and talk to professors before Friday.
My body was on autopilot. It was on autopilot like a plane on fire, with broken engines, passengers screaming for help, and then the pilot took the parachute, said “Fuck you,” and ejected.
Let me tell you what actually happened to my body.
It started with migraines that got worse by the day, this started happening the week before my midterms. By the last 2 midterms the migraines had gotten so bad that when I stood up my head felt as though it was going to explode, by body was dizzy and I would fall down. I had to get up slowly in class when it ended. Then there was my heart rate and blood pressure. I had obviously been very stressed from all of the exams I had taken, and my heart rate rose to 120 beats per minute, which apparently is very bad. I found this out because I had to go to a doctor’s appointment, mind you this was the week after all of the midterms, so this was the same time I was running around trying to drop a class. One of the nurses took my blood pressure and immediately asked if I was okay. I said yes and that I had been stressed with school. She was still concerned but left to go get the doctor. When the doctor came and read my blood pressure, she asked what was going on, and I said the same thing, that I had been stressed with school. She then immediately recommended me therapy, urging that I check to see if my college has free therapy sessions.
I know being stressed and anxious was bad for you, but I never knew it could get this bad.
The doctor’s appointment helped me see that I really wasn’t okay and that this stress I had been carrying for at least 2 weeks was going to do serious damage to me if I didn’t get it under control. If all of this wasn’t bad enough, the day after I went to the doctor’s appointment, I had peed blood and no, it wasn’t my period. It only happened once, but ever since then I have been scared.
It is my fault I put myself in this situation. I wanted the stress. I wanted to feel like I was doing something with my life. But this is not what I want for my future.
I sabotaged my health for some classes for a major I didn’t want to do for the sake of pleasing my parents.
And I did it without a second thought.
And it broke me so effortlessly.
This is my climax. My lowest point at the bottom of the valley of the climax curve. My mind was in a constant state of chaos. I was mentally drained but still trying to perform at 100%. When in reality there was nothing left to give.
So now I come back to my passions. What did I even want to do in the first place? Why am I taking finance and accounting when I have always preferred writing? I was born with a knack for the arts, creativity drove me as a child. Where did that go?
I felt, and still feel, that it’s too late for me. I dropped everything for school, and now I’m panicking. I really want to be happy in life, to have a job I genuinely enjoy, but is it too late for me?
I still don’t know the answer to this, the only thing I can do at this moment is to reignite the spark I had for the arts. Right now, I’m into writing, and charcoal connect has helped me uncover that part of myself that I had tried to push far away.
It sucks to say this, but I believe the only way I was going to truly open up to myself about this was for my body to literally fail. Reputation is a dangerous weapon. I hope my parents can accept that I wasn’t cut out for the math life, and I hope I find a career with my new major of choice.