I am currently at the lowest point in my life. School is eating me slowly and I can not escape my depression. I think the last time I was truly happy was when I was 10 years old. I used to be bubbly and a happy person. Who loves fashion, music and art. This year I got into the school of my dreams but now that I got there I feel so lonely. I thought that when I would come into this school everything would get better. But it doesn't. My family says that I should finish this year and start working but I am not sure about that. I am afraid of my future. I know that I don't belong in this place. I belong somewhere else. But where?
I 've wanted to model since I was 11. I was always fascinated by the fashion industry. Of course I know that it has also many bad sides. My family said I shouldn't do it because my depression will get stronger because of the stress and currently weight loss. But I want to get out of here. I honestly don't know what to do. I'm afraid that when I start modeling everything will get worse but on the other side it can't be worse than it already is right? Sorry for the long text.
Hi there. Thank you so much for your message, and I am really glad you reached out. I am going to assume from your talking about school that you are in your late teens or early twenties, and approach your question from that angle.
To be completely frank with you, I have never felt like I belonged anywhere. When I got scouted to model, I was 14 years old. I was going to strange sets and shoots, and did not belong there. Then when I would come back to high school, I wouldn’t belong there either. When I was studying oboe, I felt as though I did not belong with all these “real” musicians. And when I moved to NYC to model, I felt as though I had somehow tricked everyone into working with me. I felt strongly that the other models had a guidebook to this industry that I had missed out on. And that my friends and family had a copy of a different guidebook on how to exist without anxiety. Whenever I sit down to write a blog post, I have to work through the feeling that I am not allowed to share my opinion with the public. The list goes on.
Truthfully, as I get older these feelings don’t change. But what does change, is my reaction to my life circumstances, and my relationship to my inner sense of self. A key to facilitating this relationship is recognizing who that tyrannical voice belongs to in my head. Because it is not mine.
I know it may not seem this way, but the early twenty something years are years of extreme change. You are learning slowly what you will and will not take into your sense of self, and they are some of the key years in our psychological and mental development. Those who do not seem to go through these changes too intensely may seem fortunate, but I feel that a life unexamined, is missing a lot of power and possibility. It seems like you are a sensitive person. There is no harm in that – but the most important thing for you will be to learn to use this power for building yourself up, instead of breaking yourself down. This is a skillset that takes a lifetime to perfect. But there is no time like the present to start.
Recognizing who that inner tyrant belongs to is key to moving past our insecurities, and getting unstuck. Mine belonged to an adult who tormented me for many, many years. No matter what I did, what I achieved, or who I tried to be, I would be met with abuse. It wasn’t until I finally began to separate myself from them that my life began to belong to me. I would advise you to speak to a mental health professional about this. Until someone holds a mirror up to you, it can be very hard to look at yourself objectively. But having someone hold a safe place for you is key in recovering your sense of purpose and right to your life.
Places and jobs have always held the allure of a “fresh start” for me. In ten years of living in NYC, I never stayed in an apartment longer than a lease. I was constantly searching for something else that would leave me feeling fulfilled, another job, another apartment, anything that would fill the void inside of me. But it wasn’t until I reached all my goals, that I realized the answer to finding my home lay inside of me. I hit rock bottom the second I stepped off the Victoria’s Secret runway in 2016. It was then that I realized that until I began the effort of unravelling the years of suppressed pain inside of me, I would have no chance at finding a ground beneath my feet. So I wonder for you, if it would be more useful to focus on your self and sense of strength, than the school you are in, or the job you are doing. Try out different classes and hobbies. Maybe join a club – start to expand your horizons (and along with therapy) begin to find your anchor to the earth. It won’t come to you, you will need to do the work. But the sooner you start, the more likely it will come to you faster. And then you will have the rest of your life to explore with strength, not fear.
Maybe school isn’t the right place for you. That is ok. I did not start my degree until I was 25. Before then I studied a bit, but I did not know what I wanted or who I wanted to be. Give yourself the option to explore your options a bit – you will learn so much about yourself in the process. If you want to try modeling, then go for it. Find an agent and see if an agency will take you. Don’t quit before you have even started. You don’t want to wind up with regrets, and you owe it to yourself to try everything that interests you. Learn from how the experience plays out. But I would advise to set out on this journey once you have started the self-work with a therapist, because the industry can put a lot of pressure on you. I would not change my journey, but I do wish I had been able to start on my career with a slightly stronger inner compass. It would have protected me a little more along the way.
I want to close on the two most empowering things I have ever done for myself. They are exercise, and eating well. You mention that you have lost weight – this is a symptom of your current mental state. The day I decided that no matter what happened in my head, I would not starve myself, was one of the best days of my life. After ensuring that I was giving my body what it needed, my mental state began to clear up. And once I added in regular exercise, my confidence began to rise up again. I really recommend you find what works for you in this arena, and stick to it. Taking control of your life on such a visceral level is powerful.
I hope this helps. Your message is sticking with me – I feel as though I could have written it myself many times over. There is always a way out, and the way out is through. Show up to yourself mentally and physically, and your place in the world will begin to make itself clear to you.