The Balance of Mental Health

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate


I think there’s something almost soothing in naming fears. The  Greek classifications of the myriad of phobias from which countless human beings have suffered places those fears in the same realms as the monsters of Greek mythology, at least in my mind. I like that because each of the monsters could be conquered, and I hold onto the hope that the same is true for fears.

Some of the most difficult fears to face and conquer are the deep-rooted insecurities within ourselves about our own worth.

As college students, there are so many numbers attached to our existence. What is your GPA? How many credits are you away from graduating? How much moneyWhat income can you expect as you begin to work in your field? How in debt are youWhat will your debt from student loans be? How many awards have you wonaccumulated? How many impressive contacts can you list on your resume?

Then there are the numbers that haunt our personal lives:—how many pounds do you weigh? How many friends do you have? How many partners have you had, and why didn’t they stick around?

What are the names for these fears? The fears of being alone, inadequate, unloved, unappreciated?

Autophobia is the : fear of solitude.

Cenophobia is the: fear of empty spaces

Monophobia is the : fear of being alone, and

Aathazagoraphobia is the: fear of being forgotten or ignored.

In lonely, uncertain moments, these fears seem to grow larger than life. It is easier to block them out with the blue light of a screen. Staying busy gives you the high of feeling involved, worthwhile, productive, meaningful … for a time. This can ultimately leave you just as unhappy as isolation will. Too much of anything is not a good thing., Andand when it comes to being incessantly “plugged in” to school, socializing, and work, the poison is in the dose.

Fear of missing out is a very real, valid concern,—but there are other parts of life,  (the quiet, self-reflective parts, ) that you will also miss out on unless you learn to strike a balance.

Our generation has come of age in the midst of an explosion of technological growth, and no area of our lives has been left untouched. The ways we learn, socialize, work, and relax are

dominated by screens. Whether—whether you think that’s good, bad, or something sticky and undefinable, –  it’s how things are. How we use those tools is what makes all the difference, and there is no one ideal harmony to fit all our needs.

At the end of the day, you will know what is best for you.

You are more than the number of friends, followers, comments, and likes you accumulate. You are more than your grade point average. You are more than the number of credits on your transcript. You are more than any number on a scale or list of achievements on a resume.

You are a human being who was created with love and purpose. The world is wide and beautiful,  (overwhelming so at times, I admit), and it is full of possibilities. There are dreams in your head and heart which only you can make come true. People are going to smile because of the things you say. Lives are going to be changed by the things you do. Every little action you take each day has an effect on the world around you.

Take the time to be with other people and the time to be with yourself. Find that balance of other people’s voices without losing your own. When you do, you’re going to do amazing things.