Song: Deep Inside of You
Performer: Third Eye Blind
Writer: Stephan Jenkins
This project has very quickly turned into a journal masked by the framework of talking about songs every day that have moved me in some way. And I’m fairly certain there aren’t too many people checking in on this, so I’m going to really run with that journal angle today.
**It’s going to take awhile for this song to become relevant to what I’m writing…
I am such an unbelievably broken and flawed person. I take being hard on myself to the next level but absolutely not in a healthy or productive way. I’m self-conscious to a debilitating degree. Honestly, there are times that I don’t want to be in my own skin because I truly believe that I hate myself enough that I’d just rather not exist. All of these feelings and anxieties have come to a head over the last two years. I was so convinced that it was just college stress. After all, the summer before junior year of college had been overwhelmingly stressful (playing music at a hotel every night and continually being pushed to my limits of ability and knowledge) and that led into junior year of college in which I had to plan for my junior recital and start formulating a thesis for a project I would be working on until the end of my college career.
That year is such a blur. I was absolutely the opposite of being present in life. There were times that my consciousness felt so disembodied from my physical presence that I felt like I was just kind of floating through my days (and not in a cool Casper way, in a very uncomfortable, depressed way). This is the year that I noticed I was having breathing issues. Rather, this was the year that I ACKNOWLEDGED my breathing issues. I’m pretty sure I had been experiencing them since senior year of high school (the first year I experienced an enormous amount of stress). So here’s what it felt (feels) like. It feels like I have to yawn but I can’t. And sometimes it gets so out of control that I might go up to 30 minutes without feeling like I was able to fully breathe. I think now that it’s something like mini-hyperventilations.
One day in the spring of my junior year I was just walking across campus and I actually felt great for a change. It was a beautiful day. And all of a sudden I just couldn’t breathe and I felt a sense of impending doom. I was terrified. I thought I was going to pass out. So I went straight to my dorm room, climbed up my lofted bed (still not sure how I managed that) and laid down with a pillow over my face in silence for 20 minutes (I wouldn’t have set a timer but I had to make it to a class). Luckily, I was able to calm down. I immediately scheduled an appointment with the counseling services for the next day.
When I went to that meeting I explained to her what was going on and she had me plan out a detailed schedule for how I was going to manage my time. She also suggested some breathing exercises. The schedule did help and I tried to keep up with some of the breathing exercises. This at least kept the breathing issue at bay. I never went back though. I really didn’t like meeting like that. I didn’t feel like I could really articulate very well what was going on in my head. But I did have a great junior recital and ended out the year feeling happy and hopeful for my senior thesis project and senior recital.
Fast-forward to spring of senior year of college. I was in the throes of working on my thesis (a song-writing/recording project) and planning/rehearsing for my recital. Sometime near the beginning of this semester there was a night where the part of my brain that says I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not healthy enough, not smart enough, not talented enough – that part of my brain that wants me to fail and run away just started getting louder and Louder and LOUDER. So loud that there was no one in the world who could truly convince me otherwise.
I remember I had just finished playing music with some friends. I got back to my apartment at school and laid down because I just felt completely numb. I felt like I had shut down. I don’t even know what triggered it. I felt like I didn’t want to exist anymore. I remember calling my boyfriend and telling him that all I wanted was to just slip away and never wake up. He decided to come over and pick me up. I got in the car and just curled up. We went to Kroger or something and he coaxed me into talking to him about what I was feeling. I was just so overwhelmed.
From that point, I did a marginally better job of managing my stress. But after my senior recital, I had an insane mental breakdown. The recital was on St. Patricks Day at 9pm and not that many people came besides family and a few friends. And there was a song that almost tanked. On the whole it was a good recital, but I think it was a mix of the adrenaline and being sad that there weren’t many people there that made me lose it. After the recital, I went back to my room and sobbed until I didn’t have anything left in me and then fell asleep. It took awhile to get over that. And I’m still not over the fear of not being good at making/keeping friends and being a friend myself (that’s a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down right now).
But life moves on and I finished my project, felt really good about it and graduated. I figured the stress was just because of college and I said plenty of times “as soon as school is over, I’ll be better. I’ll have more time and won’t be as busy and I will be cured of these nasty thoughts and bad feelings!” But I was very wrong. The anxiety and stress runs so much deeper in me than I could ever imagine and college was just a trigger for those emotional outbursts.
Now the issue plaguing my mind is wondering how I’m going to make and maintain true friendships and relationships. Do I even have strong enough friendships here that I CAN maintain? If not, how do I make friends? Will I be able to make a career out of my love for music? Am I dedicated enough and invested enough to continue to grow past my current knowledge and abilities? Am I even good enough to be doing what I’m doing? Do I belong here in Nashville? Do people like me? DO PEOPLE LIKE ME? SOMEONE TELL ME THAT YOU LIKE ME! I’M JUST A PUPPY WHO NEEDS ATTENTION!
And until I can find the solution to quieting these fears and insecurities, they’re going to be there. And it’s going to manifest itself in nasty ways.
Like a couple weeks ago.
I had a bottle of wine at the house that I was going to take to a friend’s birthday party but I wasn’t able to make it to the party. I decided to try a glass (well, a coffee mug’s worth). I absolutely hated the taste but figured I’d finish the mug because I had bought the stuff. I got a little bit more than tipsy and became extremely sad. All of those questions in my head became louder and scarier and more real.
I won’t presume to know what it does for anyone else, but alcohol makes me so selfish. We’re always the protagonists in the screenplay of our respective lives, but alcohol makes me even more the center of things in my head than I already am. Anyway, I ended up tucked up in bed talking to Jim about all of it. And I was inconsolable. I’m inconsolable when these feelings come around with or without the alcohol. I remember, right before I fell asleep, Jim played me “Deep Inside of You” and it was so calming. It’s a pretty chill song. And beyond that, it speaks to a lot of the social anxiety and self-hatred that I’ve been experiencing so strongly lately.
“I’ve never felt alone. Until I met you.”
This is the refrain to the song and it is the simplest way that I can describe what’s going on in my head. Basically, I feel like I started becoming conscious and aware of what was going on inside my head since dating Jim. Especially in the last couple years. Because up until then, there was a great majority of things up in my head that I had never spoken about to anyone. He’s been the first to hear a lot of that and, God bless him, he’s been the one to coax it out of me.
I’ve been broken for a really, really long time and I didn’t know it. And I’m working on it. And I think that’s all I can do right now. I won’t immediately be better or fine. But I can make small steps. And this song will always remind me of this turning point in my life. I’m done with school and I’m technically an adult but I still feel like a child in so many ways. And I’m not ready to step up and admit what I want and take steps to go there. Everything in me wants to run away and give up – and I’ve been so close to that breaking point – but I have to keep moving forward and figure it out a little at a time.
**By the way, I don’t think that the music video for this song does it justice. So feel free to just ignore the video and just listen to the song