Coming out of my shell: Tissue Turmoil

Figuring out alternative coping mechanisms for stress

Emily Xia

I felt it as soon as I woke up. Laying in bed, I thought to myself: Ugh. My eyes are swollen again.

My instincts were confirmed as I reluctantly rolled out of bed and peered into a mirror. No amount of makeup would hide it, and I could only hope that my glasses would somewhat conceal the puffiness until the swelling subsided and I could see properly again.

I knew what had caused it. When I cried for hours the night before, I understood the consequences that future me would have to face. And yet, for some reason, it’s been happening more and more often.

Well, I guess I can’t say “for some reason.” I know exactly why I go through half a tissue box a week: I’m stressed.

Why am I stressed? The truth is, I don’t really have an accurate response. I could say the generic “I’m a MVHS junior, my classes are killing me,” but that answer wouldn’t be complete, and I’m not sure if I know the complete answer. If I really delved deep into what is plaguing me, I would write a whole other column, and let’s be honest — it would be really boring.

Illustration by Emily Xia

In the context of the world, my problems are insubstantial. Despite this, every minor setback and burden feels like a cement wall to me, unbreakable and seemingly impossible to climb over. So what do I do? You guessed it: I sit in my room, crying and wallowing in self-pity, as I scroll through memes that will hopefully cheer me up.

That’s just how I cope. I’m not proud of it at all, and it’s an ongoing effort for me to find more efficient ways to destress. I’m eternally grateful to my family and friends for always listening to me and offering new solutions, but I know it’s a huge burden for them, and they shouldn’t have to constantly shoulder my worries.

I’ve always been told that it’s terrible to bottle up negative emotions, but that’s never really been the issue for me. My problem has always been the exact opposite: I overshare everything. Though the people around me are too kind to mention anything about it, I’m sure it’s time-consuming and annoying when I repeatedly cry or complain.

I desperately want to find new ways to deal with stress. Usually, when I address issues in these monthly confessions, I actively employ methods to combat or embrace them, but I’m comp

I need to find a way to be less reliant upon other people. It’s great to let go sometimes — that’s what family and friends are for. But, as I once heard Lilly Singh, one of my favorite Youtubers, say, friends and family shouldn’t be the doctor you approach to fix every little thing; they should be the lollipop you receive after you see the doctor.

I’ll keep searching for other alternatives that lighten the load on my family, friends and my eyes, of course, but it won’t happen overnight. I’m sure there’s plenty of ranting sessions and empty tissue boxes in my future.

One thing’s for sure: I’ll keep trying.

I didn’t write this for attention or pity. In fact, it terrifies me to know that acquaintances and strangers alike will read my words and possibly perceive me as weak or selfish. Trust me, I have enough of those thoughts already.

I’m writing this because I’m a human who struggles sometimes, and even though you may not deal with it like I do, I know you are, too.

While I don’t take pride in my current outlets for destressing, I will say this: no matter what setbacks I’ve experienced thus far, no matter how I’ve dealt with them, I was able to push through and keep going.

And I’m pretty damn proud of that.