A summer in all seasons

 How do you keep positive? Tweet @MSUMadvocate #keeptheshine

Opinion Editor April Knutson

Opinion Editor April Knutson

Summer approaches and excitement mounts. Students and faculty members alike are gearing up for vacations, concerts and family get togethers. Summer creates an irresistibly infectious optimism.

As students, we are all horribly aware of summer’s approaching virus, and we are eager to be sick with sunshine. To me, summer’s effect is apparent, people are generally just happier to be alive, especially in the Midwestern climate when we only get to feel summer a few precious days in between thunderstorms and tornado warnings.

Although, a lucky few retain this shiny, glittering attitude all the year through. They are perpetually appreciative and keep a smile on their face in the worst of blizzards. Some may even say that I am graced with this charm as evidence from a comment from a recent coworker, “April, you’re like always smiling, I’ve never seen you mad.” I guess I’m lucky.

Dear readers, I’ll let you on a little secret. The bright attitude is genuine but it is a façade, sometimes. No, I’m not always annoyingly happy, unaffected by life’s ups and downs, although people may perceive it so. In fact, I might admit, I have been to darker places than most.

Fittingly, this is my last column, as I long refrained from actually talking about this topic personally. Through my sophomore year here, I went through counseling for moderate depression and self-harm. Propelled by hereditary predisposal and an emotionally abusive relationship, I was consumed in a constant state of meticulously breaking down my every decision and positive attribute. I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough and I never said the right thing. Unfortunately there is a not a quick fix or a perpetual solution. It’s a fight to find yourself amongst the muck, while clawing to a cemented image of what life is supposed to be like or what you’re supposed to be.

So horribly lost, any little task could feel like Everest. My hands would shake with anxiety as I drove, for no discernable reason at all. A harmless quip about my attire would swirl my confidence so much that it made actually getting out of bed and dressing for the day an endless stream of sighs, wishing I looked like this or that, thinking I should be that way, I could be that way, if I only worked hard enough.

Feeling so horribly inadequate all the time grew into a defeated attitude, frustrating me to the point of almost tears, although they never came. It was like feeling the sharpest pain without ever expressing it, until I found the sharp comfort of a knife.

With the help of a few close friends and newfound tools to deal with irrational thought, I found my old shimmer, although it is now spotted with a few black holes; sadly, those who struggle through things like this know that the battle to stay positive is never fully won.

I write this column not for pity or therapy, but to share what I learned and to remind others of their worth. We are all our worst critics, it’s important to observe some positivity for unnaturally blustery days, whether that positivity comes from a friend, family member or just the seasonal change.

Forgive the cliches in this column, but remember summer is a state of mind, keep the shine on, and spread it; everyone has clouds, even if they are hidden behind skyscrapers of pride and indecision.

 

Summer approaches and excitement mounts. Students and faculty members alike are gearing up for vacations, concerts and family get togethers. Summer creates an irresistibly infectious optimism.

As students, we are all horribly aware of summer’s approaching virus, and we are eager to be sick with sunshine. To me, summer’s effect is apparent, people are generally just happier to be alive, especially in the Midwestern climate when we only get to feel summer a few precious days in between thunderstorms and tornado warnings.

Although, a lucky few retain this shiny, glittering attitude all the year through. They are perpetually appreciative and keep a smile on their face in the worst of blizzards. Some may even say that I am graced with this charm as evidence from a comment from a recent coworker, “April, you’re like always smiling, I’ve never seen you mad.” I guess I’m lucky.

Dear readers, I’ll let you on a little secret. The bright attitude is genuine but it is a façade, sometimes. No, I’m not always annoyingly happy, unaffected by life’s ups and downs, although people may perceive it so. In fact, I might admit, I have been to darker places than most.

Fittingly, this is my last column, as I long refrained from actually talking about this topic personally. Through my sophomore year here, I went through counseling for moderate depression and self-harm. Propelled by hereditary predisposal and an emotionally abusive relationship, I was consumed in a constant state of meticulously breaking down my every decision and positive attribute. I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough and I never said the right thing. Unfortunately there is a not a quick fix or a perpetual solution. It’s a fight to find yourself amongst the muck, while clawing to a cemented image of what life is supposed to be like or what you’re supposed to be.

So horribly lost, any little task could feel like Everest. My hands would shake with anxiety as I drove, for no discernable reason at all. A harmless quip about my attire would swirl my confidence so much that it made actually getting out of bed and dressing for the day an endless stream of sighs, wishing I looked like this or that, thinking I should be that way, I could be that way, if I only worked hard enough.

Feeling so horribly inadequate all the time grew into a defeated attitude, frustrating me to the point of almost tears, although they never came. It was like feeling the sharpest pain without ever expressing it, until I found the sharp comfort of a knife.

With the help of a few close friends and newfound tools to deal with irrational thought, I found my old shimmer, although it is now spotted with a few black holes; sadly, those who struggle through things like this know that the battle to stay positive is never fully won.

I write this column not for pity or therapy, but to share what I learned and to remind others of their worth. We are all our worst critics, it’s important to observe some positivity for unnaturally blustery days, whether that positivity comes from a friend, family member or just the seasonal change.

Forgive the cliches in this column, but remember summer is a state of mind, keep the shine on, and spread it; everyone has clouds, even if they are hidden behind skyscrapers of pride and indecision.

BY APRIL KNUTSON
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