Check out Monday’s post if you haven’t already if you wish to know why asking the question I explore in this blog, was a foolish move… (link here)
Driving, against the wind, towards what feels like an endless storm of snow, never to stop, coming towards me. Sat in the passenger seat of the car on a short journey from one home to another. Yet submerged in a feeling of being trapped as snow takes the form of all the monsters in my head it seems. As a child, the white dust was greeted with a more welcoming tone, even excitement as it brought prospects of snow days and snowmen and sledging. Snow was confirmation that all magic existed as it felt like fairy dust reminding the humans of the opportunities Earth held.
Yet. As I stared blankly out of the car window in silence, the snow lost its magic and beauty. That was disappointing enough, looking out to feel no excitement, I suppose most of us lose the excitement as our lives become distinctly more complex than the times when we saw snow as simply fairy dust. I wish I had felt that numbness. Instead, I felt trapped. As the car drove towards the rage that we seemed to be aggravating all I felt was a reminder of all that I have still to face.
I do not know if I was transferring small fears and catastrophizing. Maybe that was it – the idea that I would run out of Coke/Pepsi (my coping mechanism) and that I would be trapped to deal with my anxiety unarmed amongst other fears. This is highly likely. Though I think this initial rush of thoughts triggered a deeper feeling, I think what was in my head became my reality also. I can exist in a mind that isn’t entirely functional temporarily, yet snow made such existence go beyond my mind and made it seem eternal.
I know I probably sound crazy… but the truth is nothing in my life now regardless of it being a natural occurrence or not gives my mind a rest. Not even the weather!
Back to the car, driving towards an infinite life of existence without living, my thoughts wandered to myself. I know as a sufferer of mental illness, the person I am, comes under evaluation by oneself almost daily. WHO AM I? I hold a firm belief that I am not my mental illness, though anxiety and depressive tendencies may live within me, they will never be the only thing I am. When my mental illness seemed to be the only part of my life I spent a long time feeling like I had lost myself and that I would never be myself again. I was scared. The anxiety has stuck around for a lot longer than I expected at such a high level, though inevitable, life has gone on, and I have continued to exist. Time has also answered my question.
I am not gone. I am still me. Strangely I didn’t disappear – I am as shocked as you. I am not the person I was before my mental illness, but I have not made an instantaneous switch and become an alternate individual. I have grown, in the direction I allowed myself to grow. I have become Ella, a woman, a human who has anxiety and depression. I maybe should have realised that would have been the outcome earlier. Maybe?
Back to the car, driving, what occurred for a short moment was all the emotions that come with the feeling you get when looking in the mirror and seeing a terrible haircut. I looked out the window and for a split second saw all my failures and felt all my disappointment that looking at such a fragile thing, grasping my fresh can of Coke Zero and clinging onto my blanket that I was so far from the person I was, and/or wanted to be. My firm belief in my self and direction of my life and purpose had momentarily been forgotten leaving contemplation and disappointment lingering.
This didn’t resonate I shall assure you all, in my time of growth I have learnt that dwelling on the past is like closing your eyes and ears to the present and expecting the future to change. And the truth is, I am not the person I want to be, nor am I the person I was, but the person I was isn’t the person I want to be either. So to become the person I know I can be, deserve to be and wish to be the only direction I must look in is forward.
Though forward maybe towards all that I fear, in the form of an English snow blizzard at times, I must not change my direction or close my eyes and/or ears for too long. In a world with endless wonders, we all have triggers and moments where our minds seem to forget all they have learnt and been taught, but we must remember that those feelings never last forever.
Since I have suffered from anxiety I feel like I have unleashed a devil that I am learning to control and learning to live with. Though the devil was not the only gift I was given, I feel as though my mind has been unlocked, my eyes have been opened and my emotions have been heightened. I may not enjoy being an anxious mess and suffering a debilitating sense of restriction driven by irrational fear and panic. However, I am grateful for all it has taught me. And I know that when I overcome this and learn to live my life with my devil compartmentalized and on a lead, my mental illness will have given me so much more than it has ever and can ever take from me.
The appearance of snow may have left me feeling lost in my mind for some few hours, and left me panicked for a short 10-minute drive. In spite of all that, I am still here, life has gone on, and I have continued to exist.
‘The hardest of journey’s and toughest of paths all start and end with one step.’
Today Tomorrow Forever