It was well into the afternoon. I still hadn’t left my bed.
I picked up the phone and called my mom in Utah. I started sobbing. I was mad that coronavirus ruined my spring break plans to go home and see my family. I was freaking out about a huge assignment for class I had procrastinated. And I was blaming myself for being lazy and unproductive.
After a couple minutes of me sobbing at my mom over the phone and her trying to console me, she told me what I needed to hear. She told me to stop. She told me to get up, to find a mirror and to tell myself to get my shit together.
I muttered an incoherent “OK,” rolled out of bed, found a mirror and looked at my red puffy face and matted hair.
“Get your shit together,” I told myself. It was quiet and half-hearted.
“Say it again,” my mom said.
“Get your shit together,” this time I said it with a little more gusto.
“Keep saying it,” she told me.
And I did. I said it over and over again until the tears stopped and then I took some deep breaths and actually got my shit together. I got dressed, went for a run, ate some food and stayed up half the night finishing my assignment.
My name is Mazana Boerboom. I’m a journalism and geography major and a news reporter for the Montana Kaimin. One day, I want to become a writer for National Geographic. I like climbing and skiing and sometimes I nerd out for a round of Dungeons and Dragons. I’m also a resident assistant and one of the few remaining occupants of Miller Hall. Only two of my residents are still on campus.
The halls here are eerily empty and quiet, and I’m left alone with myself.
I go through waves of productivity. At my peak I’ve deep cleaned my room, started journaling and even practiced yoga.
But I always crash. I lie in bed watching TV until 3 a.m., then sleep until almost noon. And there’s a decent bit of crying too, usually about how stressed or homesick I am. At one point I watched “Inside Out” just so I would cry harder.
I had to delete most of my social media for a while, because I spent hours scrolling, comparing myself to everyone else who seems to have their shit together.
“Get your shit together.”
Lots of people seem to use their newfound free time to find a new hobby or go for tons of hikes or start cooking for themselves. Even though I know social media isn’t always what it seems — it’s easy to pretend to have a flawless life on Instagram — I still felt like there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t so put together. I’ve mostly used this new free time to binge-watch “Critical Role” and “Parks and Recreation.”
I realized that making myself feel inferior wasn’t going to change anything. And it’s okay to not find some hidden talent or rediscover an old hobby with my free time, it’s awesome if you can.
But this stay-at-home order is an intense transition period for all of us. Thousands of people have lost their jobs, lost loved ones or lost plans for the future. We are all stuck in this time of grief and uncertainty we haven’t faced as a society in our lifetime.
So, if you’re struggling with online classes, if you are going stir crazy or you find yourself in a slump, don’t blame yourself. It’s okay to struggle. But it’s not okay to let yourself sink into the stress or fear or grief and let it drag you down.
So, here’s my challenge for you: When you find yourself crashing, get up, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself to get your shit together. Then find something that gives you some joy (while still practicing social distancing of course). It can be anything, like long baths or rereading a favorite book. It doesn’t always have to be productive.
My joy has been getting outside and sitting on the Oval. I soak up the sun while I eat my lunch, or do my homework, or just observe others from afar and remember I am not alone.
One day at a time, I’m getting my shit together. So can you.
Curry Health Center is offering distance-counseling services in lieu of face-to-face services. Call (406) 243-4712 during regular business hours to schedule an appointment, including urgent counseling appointments.