“And I’m the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous
When I’m having the time of my life.
Is there a word for the way that I’m feeling tonight?
Happy and sad at the same time.”
I listen to music all day. On my speakers in my flat, through my headphones, in the car. I’m not sure if everybody gets the same comfort that I do of having music playing all the time. I’ve always been like this, ever since I was a kid. Music, music, music. I even find myself singing out loud whilst walking to the train station, down the street, to the post office, in the car. I don’t care if people hear me, or if it might make me appear slightly insane. I can only hope that hearing my wee voice makes someone feel a little happier.
I find, often, that my Spotify Radio naturally flicks onto a new song that I’ve never heard before, at the exact moment that I need to hear it. The Universe has a way of making sure you’re in the right place at the right time, hearing the right thing at the right time, meeting the right people at the right time and so on.
Standing at the cooker, making dinner, the above song came on (Kasey Musgraves – Happy & Sad) and literally whisked me away from experimenting with meatless meat (yes, you read that correctly) and to my laptop. Next thing I know I’m opening up a new post on my blog that nobody really knows about, to write down some of my thoughts in an attempt to get them out of my mind and into the world. So here goes…
I have spent the majority of the past few weeks repeating the same words over and over in my head.
I wish I could just be normal.
Why can’t I just be normal?
Normal is boring. I get it. By normal, I don’t mean that I want a mundane life. I don’t want to be boring, I just want some normality. In fact, I’m not even really sure WHAT I want, but I wish I did. I wish things weren’t so difficult. Sometimes, I feel like I’m swimming in the mud with my clothes on, uphill. And there are beasties in the mud, trying to GET me. Is this what life is supposed to feel like?
I’m trying not to come across as moany and whingy about my so-called boring life (it’s not boring, trust me), but there are times where I’d like to get inside the brain of someone who doesn’t have anxiety and feel how it feels to step out the front door in the morning and not give a second thought to the little things that most people wouldn’t even notice.
Like waiting 7 minutes for a train, for example. That’s 7 minutes that something terrible could happen to me before the train arrives.
What if I get my coconut flat white at Starbucks on the way up to uni and it makes me sick? And I’m sick at uni and everyone laughs at me? (that coffee never makes me sick, never has and probably never will). So I just don’t buy it anymore.
What if I forget to check my work emails in the morning and all 200 of my Academy members cancel their memberships because I’m so incompetent that I can’t even remember to check emails. Bankrupt. Embarrassing.
You keep starting things, then screwing them up. You should just stop starting, there’s no point. Look at the evidence. This is an evidence-based anxious thought – you keep starting and stopping. STOP STARTING!
You’re going to get found out eventually, you know. Everyone will find out and it’ll all be over.
These are just a small selection of thoughts that go through my head. All five of these thoughts take place in my brain in less than 5 seconds. Then they repeat over and over and over and over. Mixed in with other thoughts of a similar theme and nature.
The good thing is that I actually view these thoughts not as real things, but simply as little floaty clouds, floating past in the sky. I mean, I know they’re not real, and normally I don’t even listen to them. But for some reason, in the last 6-8 weeks, they’ve slowly been getting louder and louder and louder again. Kinda like how they used to be when I first started struggling with anxiety.
Add to this starting university, running a business, trying to keep my shit together, having to give up CrossFit training as often as I normally do (one of the things that keep my mental health on an even kilter) and what do you get? A fucking recipe for disaster, that’s what. I push myself further and further on purpose, to see how far I can push myself before I break. I do it on purpose and I know I’m doing it. I push myself to the point of no return, and I’ve done it again. I think I need to admit that I’ll never be this idea of ‘normal’ that I have in my head. So now I need to hold my hands up before (what feels like) the world and say I’m sorry, I know I thought I could do this, but I can’t. I truly can’t.
This is hard.
I’ve been feeling happy and sad all at the same time. Up and down.
Yesterday I was quitting.
Today I feel like maybe I can give it another try.
Tomorrow I’ll probably book a flight to New Zealand (don’t worry, I won’t actually do that… but those who know me will know that that’s what I would normally do).
I wish life came with a manual. With an index that you could look up at the back for all of the situations that arise in life. Then, just go to the page that it indicates, read the answer and get on with mopping up the mess you’ve made.
But life doesn’t come with a manual, and I’ve found that I have had to navigate the last few years with only my gut feeling as a guide. As far as GPS goes, it’s not hugely reliable at times. In fact, sometimes the battery dies completely and I can’t find the charger. Doing this alone isn’t something that I enjoy.
There, I said it out loud for the first time. Loneliness is something that I really struggle with. Anxiety and depression are isolating. It CAN be isolating, I should say – I guess it doesn’t need to be. But it’s got to the point where I’d rather just deal with this myself and then tell the people who need to know, the decisions that I’ve made. It’s not that I’m hiding, it’s just that I’d rather tidy up my mess first and then let you into my house.
So I have decided to defer University until September 2019, rather than withdraw completely. I don’t know if I’ll go back, but it gives me more time to think things through and explore other options that may not take such a huge toll on my mental health. Studying part-time may be a better option, but I now have the time to investigate. It’s not that I can’t do it – I could do it, but I’ve made this decision in the best interests of my health at this moment in time. Quite honestly, I need a few weeks to just get my head back to where it was a few months ago before I decide ultimately what it is that I want to do. I know I don’t need validation for the choices I’ve made, but I do feel a duty to put it out there. In some way.
I’m really fortunate that I have some incredibly brave and wonderful people in my life right now who not only listen but offer support when they themselves have some shit to navigate through too. In the past, I have been made to feel like my mental health problems have been a burden, or that I make out that they are worse than they actually are, and this stops me from being truly honest with people for fear of losing them. In the last few weeks I am slowly learning that not everyone is going to run away from you when things get tough and that actually, I can be loved for who I am right now and not who I often pretend to be.
If you got this far, thank you for reading. It really is just a collection of thoughts. And the word count totals more than one of my first assignments that are due in a few weeks. One that I won’t be doing now, obviously! So I have an appointment with my Program Leader tomorrow and another appointment with the University MH nurse on Monday morning. After that, I’ll make my final decision with regards to university for the moment. I could quite easily have thrown my student card on the ground and stormed off but I’m proud to say that I’m trying to explore every option I have before I do that.
To be continued…