In the world’s eyes, I am lazy.
In the early days of my college experience, I would end each night the same way: staring blankly through my brightly lit laptop screen. Although “The Office,” a light-hearted comedy, would be playing on my screen, all I could see were the emotions that had spilled out onto my keyboard.
Despite my dismal mental state, I still felt lazy. Only a lazy person would sit in bed all day watching Netflix when they have papers to write… right?
I’d know by my slight migraine that my glassy eyes were reddening. I wouldn’t need my Apple Watch’s worried “high heart rate after period of rest” notification to tell me that my breath was heaving out in hot painful huffs and my heart was beating at the speed of a hummingbird’s wings in flight.
My inner dialogue would scream, “Why can’t I stop being so goddamn lazy?!”
As it turns out, I do not simply sit in my room rewatching every episode of “The Office,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Stranger Things” throughout the semester because I am lazy.
In fact, I have learned that I am not lazy at all.
I am coping.
Despite living in a society where mental health struggles are no longer taboo, I used to feel as though I was being held to a standard I could never reach.
I found myself feeling trapped. .I would look in the mirror and find myself staring into the eyes of my greatest enemy.
A poisonous voice inside of me injected me with its venom, soaking it into my bones and head, leaving me feeling utterly exhausted by the end of the day.
I was fighting a mental battle that only I could see.
My sole outlet was the comedic shows that would distract me from reality, concealing my anxiety like a blanket of snow.
I was, and still am, in a constant battle with my anxiety.
I felt as though I was not living as a person should. I would see the world around me continuing to spin on its axis, while I sat in place with a computer on my lap and a blanket wrapped over my shoulders. At times, engaging with this coping mechanism was the best I could do. I believed that the world would see me as lazy, even though I was trying my hardest. I felt like my hardest was not good enough.
Sometimes my “hardest” looks like others’ laziness.
But I have gained valuable perspective on my “laziness.”
I have learned that others can’t see the battles you fight in your mind. All they see are your actions. They may judge you based on how you act and deem you to be lazy, not realizing that sometimes the choices you make aren’t choices at all. They are often the result of a body caught in its own crossfire.
When we think of laziness, we usually imagine someone who watches Netflix all day, procrastinates on their schoolwork, takes an inappropriate amount of naps and lives a sedentary lifestyle. These societal constructs of laziness are often reflections of a mental struggle. At times, they are the coping mechanisms we use, the sword we clench in our fists to fight the war waging in our minds.
Perhaps there is no such thing as laziness, but instead the socially constructed view of abnormal behavior that sets you back in life. The word “lazy” itself does nothing but provide a method to describe someone who is struggling — while adding a negative connotation to push them down even further when they are already at a low.
I refuse to be labeled as “lazy,” just because the world cannot see the battle I am fighting.
Mental health is complicated. You don’t have to be a psychology major to understand that. Our mental health is an intangible collection of memories from our past, our present and worries about an unknown future, all wrapped up in our own self-doubt.
It cannot be defined by one word.
It especially cannot be determined to be “laziness.”
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