Bumps On The Road To Freedom: A Random Mental Health Journey
Thought Of A Week || three ||
Will this pain ever cease. Will I ever be in a place where I have it all figured out. Or not all, just half of it would suffice. A space in time where I feel like I truly belong. Or is it part of this human experience to live with the predicament of barely but never all the way experiencing belonging? I am suffocating under the weight of my life. My life’s choices. Right now, I feel fragile, defenceless, vulnerable. There is not a single soul. Not one. That’s on me, I guess. Or is it? How can it be that from a place of connection, holistic, healthy, uplifting connection, one single change of expectations, one single event, can transform you back into a little dandelion seed, blown around in a melting pot of insecurities and overwhelming fights inside your own mind. Self sabotaging. Again. One day changed it all, and I chose to give myself fully to this experience. I have to deal with all consequences, and has it changed anything or everything, really? Isn’t it dramatic and counterproductive to let expectations trash your fragile hopes for the future? But, one little branch of peace, one branch of hope or maybe a branch that serves as a sign, maybe? Am I on the right way? Is there a right way? I feel lost and the map seems to have faded overnight. And then there is no one. The scarred soul within craves belonging. Craves to be seen and held and supported. On a level of deepest soul connection.
Yet, I find myself crying alone…
One might suggest that this piece has been written in an overly dramatic style. One might even think that the person who wrote this is deeply caught in the realms of depression and lost all sense for a life worth living.
These people are right, both of them and all on the broad spectrum of opinion between.
All opinion, all judgement is right in the perception of the owner of that point of view.
But since you are here, reading this, on my blog, you know that the author of this piece above is me. And by now you probably also now that within me, and for that matter every human, lies a wide range of emotions.
We are not simple.
We are beautifully complicated.
So am I- and by writing this piece and publishing it, I am well aware of the fact that I am exposing myself to the most vulnerable (and probably also most dramatic) side of my being. Something in me wanted to share this wholeheartedly and if I have learned anything since I started out on this journey of embracing self-development, it is that I no longer deny my innate sense of intuition.
I trust myself fully.
Therefore here it is, in all its glory and despair: A philosophical excursion into the depths of my personal and most intimate 'Valley Of Despair"
I share this one and the short story that goes along the lines of how it came into existence and what the days after this depth looked like for me. If for some reason, you'd prefer to not go on reading but instead would enjoy this story in motion pictures: You know what to do!
Day 1 (Friday) or 'Road To The Depths Of Despair'
Actually, the whole story started on Thursday when I was having a brilliant, over-the-top kind of day. You know the ones that you for some reason can't quite fathom in their intensity of contentment and joy. These over-the-moon, -what-tf-is-going-on, how-am-I-not-bursting-from-the-amount-of-bubbly-happiness-inside-of-me sort of days. Lately, since coming to Switzerland in May, I have those kinds a lot. And describing it still feels a little strange to me, a little voice inside my head always on the lookout for a trap because, surely, this cannot be my life now, despair certainly lurks around the next corner, or the next, or the next...
Well, this Thursday, it lurked and jumped on me but I was so within the present moment and the joy of being, that I only realised it had begun gripping its claws in me when I woke up the next day: Friday, where we start this journey.
My chest was so tight, at first I did not know what was happening. I had slept in as I had done a lot of late night work sessions before and wanted to treat me. So as I woke up, I felt this tight grip and it took a few seconds before I remembered what had taken place the previous afternoon and evening: A message had reached me, a message that in and of itself (and looking back on it with some distance to the whole situation) was neither devastating nor remotely surprising.
I fell in for a scam, spent four days of over twenty hours for translation work on a novel, only to discover after delivery that it was a fake company, a fake contract and a fake payment promise. This 'job' marked my survival, my first huge pay check and also a possibility for using this good money to realise a dream I had ever since I got hired for it: A big, illustrious, extravagant 'Farewell & Thanks Giving' outdoor celebration with all the kind people here that enabled me with their emotional generosity to grow, to thrive. I wanted to make it so badly, I wanted to give back tenfold, a thousand fold because my heart overflows with gratitude and love for them. And I wanted to visit my family and friends in Austria for a few days as well before I would take flight back to Scotland.
Needless to elaborate on my plans for the money; it did not come.
And the realisation crushed me.
For up to that point I had not yet been able to land one single client and was surviving on bread crumps from previous, very appreciated, clients. I held myself over water and still had one warm and delicious meal per day. I did not experience it as scarcity though, and I for sure did not feel like I was poor or anything. I am still content and very grateful for the opportunities of growth and mindset hygiene the lack of material goods (including money) enabled me to have. I was bathing in emotional generosity and absolute support, continuous encouragement to take it step by step and understanding from anyone around me.
Nonetheless, this realisation crushed me.
And I started on my usual coping mechanism, except I could not exercise them because my usual coping mechanism consist of eating stuff until I vomit them up again. No money, no stuff to throw up. SO that is a plus! Also coping by binge watching any content that comes my way, I cope by slumbering my consciousness away from confronting my problems at hand and possible solutions, I cope by feeling extremely sorry for myself as though I am the only being in the world suffering and as though I was suffering although I had and still have everything I need and more.
In short: I cope, I do not co-operate.
This time something else was at play, and this is why I am telling this story.
While I was dwelling on my failures, my incapacity of achieving anything, my grievances for ever thinking I could design my own reality; live life to the fullest without repercussions, my deep and unlimited shame of being a loser, while I was crying and turning back and forth in bed; while I was briefly visiting the valley of despair that I know so well from basically all my life- suddenly I had an impulse.
Something sparked, it felt like a spec of thought; tiny, almost imperceptible compared to the giants of crushing other thoughts that roamed wildly through the lands of my mind. But it was there, and something within me provided the means to catch it.
At other times I probably had overlooked this little, tiny thought of almost nothingness.
This time I did not.
Suddenly it emerged and was there, became bigger, expanded, as though my touch empowered it to show itself fully and it enlarged itself to make itself seen and heard and felt; and not overruled by the rioting rest of the Desperados, the gang that usually controls all sojourns within the 'Valley of Despair'. This spec wasn't innocent, it also lived there in the valley, it wasn't pure good or anything like that. If I would have to describe it, which I obviously do since this is a blog, I'd say it felt like defiant, uprising insurrection, refusing to stand down and give in.
It screamed within me: Now you better stop doing this right away. WTF is wrong with you?! It is alright to be down at times and feel as though the world is against you, but pretty please, remember what you said before taking the job. You said this experience is so worth everything, it doesn't even matter to you if it is a scam. There! You had a gut feeling and now you victimise yourself just because you were right? Are you out of your mind? This happened, move on, you are on your way and quite frankly, there simply is no turning back. For real now, take that thing you feel so deeply about and use it, let it flow into something, bring it into existence, create. You say you are a creative mind, a creator?
Well: Cry out and create then!
Thus the piece above was created, posted to a spiritual community I came to value highly (digitalsoulspace.org) and it created an afternoon of connection. Something I never see as anything of value when I sink into depressive behaviour. No connection needed, because I am ashamed and because I am unlovable anyway. But there it was: Connection born out of creating something from that place of shame and loneliness and hopelessness. Genuine words of solace, words of encouragement, words of gratitude for expressing similar experiences they had.
But not only that.
The moment I stepped out of victimhood, deciding to let the pain I feel flow into a piece of creation, that marked the moment where I started to take responsibility on dealing with things, rather than running away from them. Accepting that I as a human being am allowed to feel deeply, go through the stages of despair, but never falter in my endeavours to creating the life I envision myself to have, the person I want to be.
I had committed to watering the plants of a small vegetable garden for a friend while she was at a retreat in the mountains over the weekend. Therefore I had to go outside of the house. Something else I usually tend to avoid while being depressive and highly unsociable. My anxiety kicks in, I feel like all-seeing eyes are on me judging me, because they now I am a loser. They know because I am too weak to hold up defences, so they can see my humiliation, my utter malfunction.
Still, promises made should be kept and the plants should not suffer because of me being a deadbeat. Also, after all the experiences of above during the course of the day,I did not feel that bad anymore. I now knew that there were people out there who felt understood and seen and heard and held because I had the courage to write my sorrow out and let the world take part in it by publishing it.
And while the golden light of the sunset did bring a smile on my face and I had a brilliant time indulging into the beauty around me, the failure and the shame and the despair within slowly ceased.
Little by little.
Day 2 (Saturday) or 'Assemble Yourself'
No one is coming, no one is interested if you fail or make it. They might be there in the beginning, encouraging you, maybe your parents might support you emotionally and financially for a time... but bit by bit you will become the failure you assume that you are, and everyone around you will continue on their life and journey and will simply accept that fact that you see yourself and conduct yourself as a defeated, frustrated loser as well.
No one is coming.
I woke up late, because sleep is one of my ways to cope with arduous emotional stimuli. While peeling me out of bed, autopilot kicked in with a morning routine mantra: Step by step, you are doing fine, take it step by step.
And so I did.
Felt like stretching but not exhausting myself, so started with relaxing Yin Yoga but ended up with a normal workout that gave me fire, energy to take another step. By the end of this day I had not only done my daily spiritual and mental health self-care programs (meditation, yoga and at least one walk or cycle adventure), within me bloomed the certainty that I was recovering. I found that since I was able to take care of myself today, since I took my own advice and achieved something, I could not be that much of a failure after all. And even if I was, at least I was trying.
At least I did not lose track on my goals.
At least I took a step and another one.
Looking back on it now, this day marked the very first time that I consciously took responsibility for my life and life's choices. And the epiphany that in the end, there was no real difference between the enriching, exhilarating experience I had on Thursday and the downward spiral into despair I experienced on Friday: The only difference is my perception on it, how I choose to deal with it, how I conduct myself.
So I did assemble myself.
I did a little work that was due that day, only two hours or skip the 'only', a full on two hours! And then I decided that nature and being outside was the only cure to any mental challenge, which is why I packed up and spent three hours just reading by the river, swimming, sun bathing. Making it a self-love day.
After watering the plants in my friend's garden again, a sudden urge to take a cycle tour complimented my evening and when I returned home it was already getting dark. And while preparing a wonderful, nourishing meal, I smiled to myself because I knew it was a good day. And the fainting claws of despair continuously started to let go of me, freeing me again to see clearly what I was capable of, who I was and the magnitude of my personal development and self-growth.
Back in the saddle.
Only one life to live.
Day 3 (Sunday) or 'Unstoppable'
That is what it felt like.
Recovered, like way back when I was handed a sheet of paper from the psychological institute that declared me healed from my social anxiety, depression and exhaustion.
Recovered, this time around because I chose it, because I set my mind to it, because I was my own best friend and support and chance.
This little spec of rebellion inside my mind turned sheer hopelessness into a gift. The present of acknowledging that you are human, allowing me to be hurt, even praising the fact on how deeply I can go and in that respect acknowledging also how high I can experience emotions as well.
Blessing or curse, both, but balanced out it creates a force of nature and it is your choice anyway.
If I could give anyone out there any kind of new inspiration on how to find a way to co-operate compassionately with this side of us: the procrastinator, the over-achiever, the perfectionist, the self-doubting negative self-talking voice inside our heads, the side of us that needs approval and appreciation to feel as tough we are valuable and part of it always, even though we do not feel like that at all at times.
If this moves you, if this does anything to improve your state of being: I see you, I feel your struggle and I hope that this piece created a kind of save haven.
You are never alone with your hardships, be vulnerable, assemble yourself!
And then stand up and share it. With your journal, with a vibrant and enriching conversation inside your own head (why not?!) or out loud wherever you are, write about it on your blog, share it on social media, talk to a trusted person in your life or a total stranger on the banks of a river.
And then, when all of it is out of your system; listen.
What comes back to you, what value is there to grow from?
How can you thrive and develop because of this exact situation and experience.
All of it contributes to the best possibility of not getting stuck in a rut of depression:
Be of service, talk about it, move your body, do something for your soul, indulge in the options available to you to empower yourself and see life for what it is:
The most exciting journey to finding balance in being imbalanced; the good, the not so good and everything in between.
We are the wonder - and so is life.
Sparkle, beloved soul!
Love and Light from my heart to yours, always