Lately I’ve been feeling dull. The color beige, not gray, beige. There’s a difference. Things that I cared about years ago don’t seem to register, and my focus has funneled into a tiny tip. My life’s goal is constantly shifting, but my interests and achievements have been trailing behind slower and slower. I feel like my life is slipping away from me and there’s no control, I have none, and neither does anyone else. And instead of being satisfied with the “we all sink together” mentality, it’s been making me even more frustrated.

There’s quite a few reasons why this is the case, and I’m willing to bet that at least one of them has to do with stress. Oh the lovely S word, how it hides in dark alleys and quiet coffee shops. You never know when you’re going to get mugged by it, and the wait is almost worse than the actual event itself. I’m in my junior year of high school and every time I tell someone that, I get the same “Oh, the most important one eh?” or “That’s a tricky time — having fun?” and no the sarcasm is never appreciated.

But the thing is, it hasn’t really sunk in for me that this is crunch time. If I didn’t know myself better, I would say I’m doing great — until I wake up in the morning with a locked jaw from grinding my teeth in my sleep. Or find myself losing interest in most food. Or drinking a lot of tea, when I don’t even like tea. The routine will drive you to the grave. There’s this awful part of me that’s waiting for me to crash and burn. A horrible little figure cheering me on to jump off the cliff, to just leave it all behind and try to start anew. You know, I’ve genuinely thought about the benefits of running away. I’m not even kidding, but the Internet bill is just not something I’m financially ready to pay for. Que lastima.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s hope! The bright happy yellows, and sunshine filled oranges that splash through your window, a hazy watercolor painting — these are the simple things! There is beauty wherever you look, especially in yourself, the trick is to catch yourself in these low times and drag you back to the surface. We all need to take care of ourselves better, try and be our own best doctor.

I’m a fan of listen and respond. If you feel overwhelmed with all your work, stop. Just stop. Don’t do anything for a minute, a pure and unadulterated 60 seconds of freedom from it all. Stand up and walk around, pace, get the blood flowing. Then, deal with your problems in a systematic way.

Be your own best friend. What would you recommend to somebody with the same symptoms? I’ve noticed this time and time again, our blatant disregard for our own mental health, but an overflowing amount of concern for everybody else. We need to start taking our own advice. Why is it that we can dish out the answers like nobody’s business, and yet to take this advice ourselves is so impossible? Maybe we’re not actually that good at helping people, or maybe we need to hold ourselves to the same standards we hold to the rest of the world. Mental health is not an option thing to take care of; it’s quite frankly the opposite.

Happiness takes people places. That’s it; there’s no question. You can’t get out of bed without that sweet little spark telling you everything’s going to be ok. I’ve faked it ’til I made it. I’ve “channeled my inner goddess,” lit the candles and made the shrine, and the only thing I’ve noticed to truly take me to bliss is a positive attitude. Whatever happens, you decide your mood. Change the way you look at things, and change your entire world. So choose happy, choose positive, choose bliss, and maybe have a kiss.

(Image via iStock.)