May 21, 2024

Navigating the chaos

One of my favorite things about myself is that I am creative.

It’s what drove me to where I am.

It’s how I knew I didn’t belong as an English major when I was a junior in college. I could just tell I was meant for more.

Currently, I find myself in a role where I get to be creative in ways I never imagined. I am writing and doing photography. I dove headfirst into graphic design when the pandemic hit. I worked my way to becoming a social director. Although these are all great things about me, they are also currently my downfall.

You grow up and hear about the way people face mental health struggles but you never imagine what it might look like if you find yourself in those positions. When I started therapy in 2020, I didn’t know what I was going to find out about myself, but I knew I wasn’t okay.

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and I sometimes struggle with depression.

It’s a rollercoaster of ups and downs – very common things especially given the state of the world in the last two years.

Therapy has been incredible. It’s helped me change in certain ways I didn’t think I could.

I realized something was up with me on Feb. 15 and I am sure you’re going to ask why I remember that specific date.

Iowa State Wrestling hosted Air Force. It was a Saturday afternoon dual and I woke up and didn’t want to go.

If you know me super well, this is a red flag.

I had spent the night at my best friend’s house and she had to give me a strong nudge to get up. She gave me her clothes in order to avoid me having to go home so I could just get on the interstate and go straight to Hilton Coliseum.

There’s nothing that brings me more fulfillment than my job as the wrestling beat writer at Cyclone Fanatic. I’ve worked hard at building that beat into something special. I care deeply about bringing coverage to the sport and this team.

It truly is what gives me purpose. I find my purpose in the creative I am at Cyclone Fanatic. So, when I woke up and the last thing I wanted to do was get in my car and drive to Ames to do the very job I love, I knew something was up.

We still live in a world where depression isn’t understood super well as a collective. The stereotype paints people with depression with a very tragic view.

When I struggle with depression I’m not on the verge of tears all the time. It doesn’t mean I am ready to jump off my roof at any given moment.

It looks like I have three laundry baskets full of clothes I can’t remember if they are clean or dirty. In my worst case, I have been sitting on a wrestling story for weeks.

I used to be someone who cried easily. I don’t do so much anymore and I think a lot of that came with learning how to better balance my emotions through therapy.

But, when I think about some of the stuff I have to do to officially close out my season I do feel choked up.

I don’t know how to explain to my team or really anyone that the weight of what I am battling right now is so heavy that I can’t physically get myself to open my laptop.

I wake up and neglect my entire apartment and then go to my 9-5 job. When I clock out of there I am so mentally exhausted that even picking a song on Spotify for the drive is hard. I don’t have the strength to pick myself up off the couch right now, but I do have the mental strength to make myself constantly feel like shit about not getting those articles done and for not editing some photos.

I go through a daily struggle of hearing the interviews I conducted, the words I want to put in a story, and the voices of my colleagues in my head constantly. Every day I hear it all go in circles but when I sit down I can’t translate the thoughts into actions.

That’s what depression is for me.

I have a mind that is going through 100,000 thoughts a minute and all I can do is sit or lay on the couch in silence. Sometimes I’ll throw on a TV show and sometimes I’ll watch 100 Tik Toks.

(That’s not an exaggeration)

It’s a vicious daily cycle of making myself feel like a failure because I can’t get myself to do the one thing I need to do. The one thing I love.

I feel paralyzed in a way. I know what I want to do but I just can’t do it.

It’s exhausting. I am exhausted.

Everything I find the energy to do sucks the life out of me. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I know it. It’s coming. I am not worried that this is the state I’ll be in forever. I am going to wake up one of these days and write those stories, and I am sure they will be good. I am sure people will like them. I am sure the photos I post will be appreciated.

But until then, I am going to continue to tear myself down for not doing them. I am going to cause myself anxiety trying to find a way to tell my boss why I haven’t done something that should’ve been done by now.

I find loopholes. I tell myself my wrestling story can wait until basketball is over so I can guarantee that most people who can read it, do.

I mean, that isn’t a lie. I’d be doing my stories a disservice to share them before both basketball teams competed in the Sweet 16. But basketball is now over and I am still struggling a week later.

Being creative is a beautiful thing but it’s mentally debilitating when life brings you down and makes it hard to be that very thing. It’s hard for me to admit that and it’s hard for me to express that to those around me.

I write this in hopes of showing people that depression is different for everyone. I write it in hopes that maybe someone can relate and realize they’re not alone.

I write this in hopes of maybe this being the trigger I needed to find the light at the end of the tunnel so I can go home and write those stories and do that laundry.

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Jacqueline Cordova 23 Articles
Staff Writer

Jacqueline is a proud graduate of Iowa State University. She is a college wrestling gal, social media queen and photography guru. She works for Cyclone Fanatic and proud contributor and family member of TGS. You can find her watching trash TV when she's not watching sports. She is also overly obsessed with Russell Westbrook and will take no slander. Will forever be the youngest TGS member regardless of who joins.

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