Learning to say “no”

“Mom? I can’t do this anymore. I want to go home. Please, can I withdraw from college this semester?” I tried to say what I needed to say through sobs over the phone with my mom, but I could barely get the words out. Earlier that day, I took a trip to the ER. Why? I was so stressed out that I had a nervous breakdown.


Let’s back up a little bit… why was I so anxious and stressed? Well, last Spring semester, I took on maximum course load, worked an on-campus job, battled some health problems, and held two executive positions all while trying to re-adjust to American life after an incredible semester abroad. Moreover, I was determined to get a 4.0 GPA that semester, so I stayed up until 3 AM perfecting my homework. Long story short, I cracked under the pressure.


The real kicker is, nobody else put that pressure on me. I did this to myself. I worked myself to the point of exhaustion and nervous breakdowns and nearly had to leave school. And you know what saved me from this path of self destruction? Learning to say, “NO”.


My parents insisted I drop a class and quit my job. After a long debate, I did as they suggested. Immediately, my stress level went down 50 notches. I began to cut off toxic relationships and surround myself with positivity… and my stress continued to decrease. This semester, I gave up one of my executive positions and I am continuing to appreciate the power of saying no.


Learning to say no and even quit is something I needed to incorporate into my life in order to be in an honest recovery. Now, I feel more comfortable in sticking up for myself when my body (and brain) tell me I need a break. When you find your voice, you will be empowered like never before; all it takes is a two-letter word.



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