Overwhelmed, Stressed Out and Lonely…

Posted by Zack Collie in Life After Paralysis on December 09, 2021 # Lifestyle

Zack CollieI’ve been feeling really overwhelmed and stressed out lately. This year has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. Going through a big breakup earlier this year and experiencing my first heartbreak was an emotional challenge itself. I am still healing from it. Going from being independent and living on my own, to moving back in with my parents has also been difficult. I am grateful to have their support and a place to stay, but I would always choose independence first. I am a student working on my master’s degree in counseling, and staying caught up with readings, writing papers and going to class causes a lot of anxiety.

I am thankful to have started an internship at a school as an evening counselor. I am required to have a certain number of hours acuminated in order to graduate from the program I am in. It has been amazing being able to go out into the field and start getting hands-on experience. This kind of work is very rewarding, but can also be extremely emotionally draining. Being single and feeling alone with the holidays coming up is also going to be hard. All of these different experiences piled on top of each other are starting to weigh me down, and I am noticing it. I am usually a positive and optimistic person. It is very rare that I feel this disconnected and lost even though I have support. I have been feeling like my life has no meaning or purpose, and that makes it harder to keep moving forward.

This is the first time in a while that I have felt hopeless and discouraged. I really miss having a partner to spend time with and do fun things together. I crave having a connection with another person and want someone to love. One of the hardest things about dealing with these issues is that I know many of them will work themselves out over time. I just need to be patient and have faith that there are better days ahead, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. I have learned that “time” is a powerful healer, and it gives a person the opportunity to grow in that season of their life. A man named Victor Frankl once said, “There is meaning in suffering,” and it’s absolutely true. I am the person I am today because of all the hardships I have been through. When you are in the midst of it, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s there even if we can’t see it. Every experience, whether good or bad, has something to offer us that we can grow from. We just have to look for it.

As I have been processing all of these thoughts and feelings over the past few months and talking with my professors and supervisors, there is one common theme that they have all shared with me, and that is, “It’s okay to not be okay.” I want to repeat it again, “IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.” It is a very short saying, but it’s powerful and true. I feel like a lot of what I am feeling and sharing is relatable.

Often, I get down on myself for not being happy even though I have a great life. I have a supportive family, a roof over my head, clothes on my body, have an education, a car to drive, debt-free etc., but why am I unhappy. Life is full of ups and downs, and many of us think we are the only ones experiencing these feelings. If you are reading this and can relate to anything I have shared, you are not alone. Hang in there because things will get better. Stay positive, spread love, be patient, focus on things you are grateful for, and life will work itself out.

Zack Collie is living with quadriplegia and was paralyzed in 2010 diving under a wave at Newport Beach breaking his C-4 vertebrae. Zack started a YouTube channel to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries and his life living as one. His mother, Amber Collie, is also a regular blogger for the Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.