January 2022 began a long and painful struggle with my mental health and I could feel myself spiraling. My grades started slipping and my friendships were escaping my grasp. My world felt like it was crumbling down into a black abyss. I didn’t know how long I would feel this way, and all I wanted was to feel better. But how? A few weeks went by, which turned to months, and I felt so lost and uncomfortable with the life I was living. I felt hopeless.
At the time, I was my chapter’s Mazkirah. No matter how much I was hurting, I knew I could always escape to my board group chat, Canva fliers, and productive board meetings that gave me a sense of purpose. I eagerly awaited each board zoom, and being able to help plan and promote all our events. Attending these meetings and taking pictures of everyone living their best lives, helped me feel better, even if only for a few hours.
In March, something changed. My chapter had our late night, after it got pushed back for months, and we did separates. I wrote about something that was important to me, but didn’t reveal how I was truly feeling at the time. Good and welfare came next. The theme of that separates was “something good coming out of something bad” and when it was my turn to speak, I told a truth I had never expressed before. I was in my time of “something bad” and I was struggling every day trying to reach the positivity that would come out of it. It felt nice, and comforting to share my deepest thoughts, but that wasn’t what changed me.
When I was done speaking, my sister sat next to me and just hugged me for longer than usual. She’s always been my best friend, and although she knew I hadn’t been doing well, she never quite knew the vast extent of it all. My best friend came over to me a moment later, and sat with me, apologizing for not being able to take away my pain. We sat, crying together, and I realized how I was surrounded by the love of my chapter and my best friends. Some of that pain escaped me.
Of course, not all of it went away, and it still took another few months for me to truly feel better, but that one moment brought me the little light I greatly needed. As June rolled around, I ran for chapter N’siah. I spent all my free time perfecting my speech and platform, and although nervous, I was confident.
I lost. I dropped down and lost again. I was crushed, and all the progress I thought I made was ripped away in a split second. Of course I was proud of the new board, and I knew I could never let my BBYO flame extinguish, but it was certainly flickering. I thought I was getting better, I thought I was going to have the opportunity again to lead my chapter. It was all torn away from me, and I cried for nearly 3 days straight.
However, a few days after elections, a younger member of my chapter reached out to me. I had gone to CLTC the past summer, and she was planning on attending the next month. She called me asking questions regarding my experience, and we spent hours on the phone together, when earlier that day I was sobbing alone in my room about how I could no longer have an impact in BBYO.
This BBG proved me wrong, and I’m so grateful for her. She relit my BBYO flame without knowing, and when I went to Perlman 2 weeks later, I felt as though I had come to terms with my loss. It still hurts if I think about it too much, but why would I let myself focus on that when I know I could focus instead on all the good that has already, and will continue to come out of this organization.
BBYO saved me. Whether it was the board position, the summer programs, the chapter and regional programming or easily the best people in the world. Everything combined truly brought me to where I am today. It brought me the love and joy that I’m now able to feel.
Julia Megibow is a BBG living in Commack, New York, who loves gymnastics, all things music (specifically Taylor Swift and Dean Lewis), and will always love a big bowl of fruit!
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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