I have a confession to make, I'm losing my mind- slightly. Not in an hysterical way that I've ran away, radically cut my hair and changed my lifestyle. (Although I did recently cut two inches off my hair- I know, I know, it was a huge deal for me too;) But in a way that I feel frozen as everyone and everything around me is buzzing past. I'm frantically trying to keep up but I'm coming up short, every damn time.
Truth is I do want to run away, not from my life but from the loud noises in my head. Anxiety takes many forms and although this post isn't specifically about anxiety, it's a huge factor in my temporary craziness. In fact I'm not too sure what it's about, the frantic typing and hopping from one thought to the next represents exactly where my mind is right now. My mind is anxious about the present and the future. Am I doing the right thing? Am I going in the direction I want to be going in? I mean does anyone know the answers to those because I sure as hell don't. I'm stuck in the middle of a road and my mind is racing faster than 1,000 marathon runners combined. I've long searched for the answers to what would make me happy and I am still caught between two ideals of what I want my life to look like. Both comprised by the uncertainty that is mental health and chronic pain. I don't deal well with uncertainty, it's the very poison within my anxiety. Looking back my 13 year old self really had no idea how much the universe would laugh at her life plan. Finish school, go to university, meet the perfect guy (I have since learned perfect is not real- no matter how perfect you think he is ;), have adorable babies, be a stay home mum till said babies were in school then immerse myself in my career. The universe is now looking down at me hysterically laughing at how naive I was.
I have no plan. No plan b, c, d or e. Or as phoebe (from friends- duh) once said "i don't even have a pla". I'm lucky if I have the next month planned out to a point of being successful in the main areas of my life. I have a million plans, all different and exciting but not one that I can see myself getting through. The loud noises filling my head at the ungodly hours of 12am-3am are the anxieties for the road ahead of me. Or rather, the road I haven't yet taken. I plan, I am a planner. Ask anyone and I have things planned to the minute but finally at 20 years old, I'm coming to the conclusion that I can't plan life. Yes, well done Jasmine, it took you long enough. And it has been because anxiety has clouded my every thought and action. From deciding what subjects to study to what to wear to drunkly kissing a guy who's name I don't know. Every action has a series of anxiety repercussions, that unlike getting a punishment and serving the time, I go over for hours brutally beating myself up over. My constant need for reassurance and affirmation has caused many angered texts from friends, boys and loved ones.
Is it fair to blame all my poor choices and misfortune on anxiety? No, I can be blindly stupid at times and rightly so. And whilst some mistakes have been made with the cheering of my friends, anxiety has always disregarded whether I'm having fun or not, or happy. It's good at sneaking in on life's unplanned and joyous moments. But it's exceptionally good at sneaking- no more like bashing its way in on quiet nights as I try to sleep. The night I wrote the first half of this post, I was up till 5 am. I had not yet slept and the looming hour of 6o'clock was fast approaching. I had to succumb to the fact that work was not going to be an option. That functioning on no sleep was going to be damn near impossible but that didn't stop the guilt that consumed me. I have two incredibly understanding employers however as much as I feel guilty for not going to work, I feel ten times more angry at myself for failing. Calling in sick isn't what most would associate with failure but to me, every short coming I have is a direct reminder of the things I am not doing properly. Inadequate, I suppose it's only a fancy way of saying 'not good enough' but right now, it sums up where I feel in life. I feel like am inadequate and this life I'm living is inadequate. I feel like there should be more, that I should be doing more and demanding more of this life. After all, I have had a hell of fight to stick around. Yet I'm at a loss of how to fulfil that desire that somehow I should be doing more. I'm sure if you were to ask friends and family, it's the opposite of how they would describe my life because they see the huge mountains I've climbed. Whilst I focus on every step I'm taking and notice every bump in the road. Maybe it's time I look at how far I've come and not every mistake I've made along the way.
Something from Grey's Anatomy that has always stuck with me (even though I watch it on repeat over and over and have an unhealthy obsession with it) are these two quotes. They are everything I needed to hear right now, because although not all of these feelings can be helped, wallowing in my own self-pity is sure as hell not going to get me anymore from life. I'm okay with where I am but I want more, so I need to have some fire and to stop accepting things that are taking me places I don't want to go. Do I want to be in an "okay" place for the rest of my life? No I don't because I am finally realising that I deserve to be in a GOOD place. Deep down, that little voice in my head is constantly putting me down and stopping me from really living the life I want to live but it's time. Let's all make a pact to start demanding more, shall we?
Even after all that being said, I'm starting to have some glimmer of faith that life is not meant for planning but for living, and that what is suppose to happen to me will happen. I no longer resent the world for giving me depression because I now know it was meant to happen so that I could share my story and be an advocate for the mental health community. Knowing that doesn't take away my fears of what my life is going to become but it sure helps having a place to come and vent my worries. Because I know that you reading this understand where I'm coming from and that most likely have at one point felt like the world was rushing past you whilst feeling glued to the ground. If you're there at the moment, know that I am too. We aren't alone, the world is not rushing past us, people are just going at their own pace. There's nothing wrong with standing still for a while and taking it all in because life really can be overwhelming. I'm breathing it all in, going slower and learning that I can go at my own pace, too. Imagine we're standing there together because somehow that comforts me and I hope it can comfort you.
My whole life I've been the touchy and 'dramatic' one, always storming up to my room in a strop and crying my eyes out. Most of the time, I've never thought there was anything unusual about, I mean all kids are an emotional mess, right?! Except it didn't go away once my childhood days were over, it got worse and continued doing so until I got the right help for.
Emotional oversensitivity and irritional fear of criticism. I laughed, what type of diagnosis was that. It wasn't an official illness but instead I presented with many traits of borderline personality disorder. Sometimes it's easier to understand something in it's entire form rather than the individual pieces that make it up. I couldn't put my head around what I was being told. I almost felt like I'd failed some test, that my pain wasn't enough for a proper diagnosis of something. Not that I ever wished to have something else to battle with but I struggled with the broken pieces of the illness rather than the whole picture.
The rage and emotion that had always been inside me felt like a fire that was constantly burning and I had no way of knowing how to distinguish it. I loved fiercely or not at all. I tried my best or not at all. My friends were the best or the worst, depending what mood I was in. Everything was going wrong or going right, not some place in between. My life wasn't in black and white, it was in bursting bright colours or the darkest black there ever was. My therapist would laugh when I told her that I couldn't understand why I was so exhausted and said "well I would be too if everything was either good or bad all the time".
It has taken me months to accept that this is a part of who I am and I shall not use it as a fault against myself. Although I had always had a feeling something was wrong, I never wanted to be right. I didn't want to admit my weakness, the tainted part of me that the world couldn't see. Because who really shuts down, tears up and refuses to talk to their teacher after they made a criticism to their work. Because who really ignores their friends over a silly comment. Because who locks themselves in their room, questioning their life and if they're loved after a simple disagreement with their mum. I do. I do all these things plus more and I know it's dramatic but my brain doesn't haven't a slow down button, it reacts to things with a mentality that the world is ending. And to me, in those moments, it does quite literally feel like it's all collapsing around me.
In a world that is fast moving and everchanging, I'm giving my mind the time it needs to process things. I stop and breathe for 10 seconds then give my reaction. Does it always work? No, because I can't change overnight nor can I rewire my brain to react differently all the time. 20 years of a specific behaviour doesn't just go away without hard work. All I can ever do is try. To try and understand my reasoning for reacting a certain way. To try to understand that a criticism doesn't make me a failure or stupid. To try to understand that an argument with someone doesn't mean they don't love me.
I'm learning to live somewhere in the middle. And more importantly to be okay with it, to be okay not having to fulfil my brains desire for extremes. Life isn't so bad in the middle, it's much less soul destroying and tiresome. Working at controlling my emotions has made me appreciate the oversensitive side to me. I love more fiercely than most people and that is something I wouldn't want to change. Yes sometimes it's too much but I'm learning to balance it all. That's all one can do in life is balance. Balance the good and the bad. Balance the happy and the sad. Balance the truth and the lies. Balance the painful moments and the joyful moments. It's all a balancing act, that we're bound to get wrong. And sometimes the scale tips more to one side than the other and that's okay. I just hope you know that it won't stay imbalanced forever.
Hey there, I'm Jasmine, your average 23 year old working in childcare and living in England. Maybe Tomorrow follows my journey living with mental health issues and multiple chronic health conditions, all whilst trying to have some fun along the way.
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