The concept of time is possibly one of the hardest to fathom in the modern world, since everything is adamnant on moving so fast. If you have a lot going on in your life, which most people do, it can sometimes feel like you’re completely out of sync with the rest of the world. There can be this sudden pressure either from yourself or others to force yourself back into sync. But if you’re not ready yet, it can lead to an inevitable burnout, and the whole thing starts up all over again. So I think it’s about time we all broke the cycle, and I’m going to try to help get us there. So stick with me here.
The Authentic Self
When you’re struggling with the weight of having to make solid, long-lasting decisions, the first thought would be that fear has taken over, and it’s preventing you from taking any steps forward. You’re trapped in a web of fear. It’s anxiety. And that’s the simple conclusion. Just get up and get on with it right? Overcome that fear!
But life isn’t just about overcoming that fear and getting on with it, it’s about understanding why we have that fear in the first place. Sometimes understanding our fears, can be a direct way of understanding ourselves. Does the fear have a point? Is it fear or is it intuition? Is it our fear, or is it someone else’s fear? Is the fear because you’ve never actually considered this specific decision before? Is the fear because the only answer you have is the one someone else handed to you? And you’re just not sure if you agree with it yet?
Who taught me of my enemies?
Who’s constantly debriefing me?
Who taught me of my enemies?
(They couldn’t possibly become anything other than
What had been demonstrated in front of them)
The next time you have a decision to make, and you fear the options in front of you, ask why. This is the key to discovering your own belief system. If you question it the next time you feel fear, it can change your whole perspective. But, what can happen next is an overhaul of every belief you’ve ever had and a re-examination of every thought you ever thought. This can be incredibly difficult, which is exactly why you can’t rush the process. Go slow, because this is where it can get dicey.
Depression & Anxiety
It might be that when you start to consider the why, in regards to fear or any negative feeling really, that it causes more problems than you’re currently able to deal with. The main reason that ‘questioning everything’ becomes a problem, is the time it steals from you when an answer hits you harder than you were ready for. It can be a blip of a moment in your life, and suddenly it throws you off your centre. It’s like coming out of denial and straight into the stages of grief. Anger – pointing the finger. To bargaining – living in ifs.
When our life is balancing on ‘ifs’ – if this happens then I can do this and then I’ll be happy – then almost anything not going to plan can knock you sideways. And that is what knocks you straight into depression.
Now I’ve watched all my castles fall
They were made of dust, after all
Someday all this mess will make me laugh
I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait
The reality is that you don’t know you aren’t ready for it until it’s there, and at that point you can’t avoid it. That’s a really difficult situation to find yourself in. When I initially had therapy for depression, I was at a stage where I could no longer help myself. I felt completely powerless, weak, frail and like my nerves were shredded. I was in no position to explore the why of anything. At that point, that is the one question I could never find the strength to answer. And really, the weight of that question, and the multiple answers that came flooding through my mind at my lowest moment, was all way too much to work through at once.
In my opinion, the question ‘why?’ always needs answering. But can you answer it when you’re finding it difficult enough just to get out of bed? No. That’s the time you give yourself the space to build up the strength. That is the time to start again, to clear the slate and start building new foundations. This is where the fast expectations of modern life can f*** right off.
And the stalactites in the back of my mind
When suffering was normalised
I flourished in the lag time
A Slow Life
We are, as a society, constantly searching for the fast life in everything we do. Fast trends, fast productivity, fast success. We want things when we want it. We want things just because someone else has it. If there’s a problem, we want a fast solution. (I bet you’re already wondering how long this post will take to read – there’s always something else to be doing!) We expect ourselves to find success before our time. To have everything down, before we give ourselves the freedom to wonder whether we even want what that ‘everything’ entails. But what’s the rush guys? It’s a short f***ing movie, why rush your way through it?
It’s a short fucking movie man,
I’m going to try and take it slow
That’s me putting it all quite simple really. When in fact, we didn’t put ourselves on the fast track. Society is designed that way. You finish school, you go to college. You go to university, get a job, get married, have a child, have a grandchild, die. I know, I know, I just took the average life and made it seem meaningless. But my point is, that that is a prewritten template – in pencil. What happens in your life as well or instead is really your choice – and that’s the no. 1 lesson of adulthood. Suddenly you have the pen. The permanent marker if you like.
But here’s the thing, if I told you that you could fulfil every dream you’ve ever had, would you believe me? Because it’s true. The one thing that prevents people from taking steps towards what they want from life, is the fact they wanted it yesterday. And the fact they didn’t have it yesterday and still don’t have it today, is grounds for believing they will never get it. This is just plain and simple impatience. But it’s completely understandable when we live in such a fast society, and it’s made worse when we see that fast success (of any kind) is possible for others. We want to jump on a track and get going. Incase… what? You miss your chance? To what… live? We’re alive right now and we spend more time staring at a rectangle than a landscape.
‘Don’t let it get to you’ you said.
Well I did.
Take a rectangle and tangle your head.
So where do we go from here? When so many will hover their pens above the page, believing that if they start then they have to move at the same speed as everyone else for it to count? Well, can I just say – the tortoise and the hare. The challenge in life isn’t how quickly you can make something out of it, the real challenge in life is doing whatever you want to do, your way, in your own time. Truthfully, the more thoughtful and slow our choices and movements are, the more likely they will be true to ourselves. And that is where true authenticity lies. So slow down, there is no race and there is no finish line other than death.
If we learned to love ourselves better
We could commit.
One Thing At A Time
Our mental health, and the part it plays in every area of our lives, is like your home. If you don’t keep up with the odd jobs here and there, suddenly the whole thing starts falling apart around you. When I started to feel a little stronger last year, the idea of living one day at a time really helped. Which got me thinking that the same should be done with the things in your life. Deal with one thing at a time. So that’s how I’ve moved forward the past 8 months, and this is how it went.
The first thing I did was consider what in my life brings me joy, and what gives me anxiety. The winner for anxiety was social media, which with all the talk about it having a negative effect on mental health isn’t surprising. And it just so happens that this is what I do for work. So great, we’ve got a whopper to deal with here. But it’s ok, because I’m only dealing with one thing at a time here. Oh, wait, I just realised that I don’t have control over how other people will respond to my one-thing-at-a-time approach. This, for me, was a turning point.
Anyone who can’t get on board with you trying to get better, needs to consider why. You’re not the one who needs to question their decisions here, because if you are doing things in an effort to be mentally healthy, that can only be a good thing. This is where you need to learn to set boundaries; for yourself, and for the people in your life.
Be wary of being
Given a name
If for some reason
You’re not considered the same
Once they name you
They have been known to
Lock you in
They’d rather ignore
You should do whatever you need to do to get better. There is no wrong way or right way as long as it helps keep you mentally healthy. For me, that involved deleting the majority of my digital footprint – well, at least on my side of things, though I’m sure someone somewhere has scraped my social media profiles at some point. That’s the world we live in, where privacy is a forgotten joy of life.
As I manage quite a few Facebook pages, I couldn’t just deactivate my Facebook account, so instead I deleted everything. All the images I wanted to keep I saved, but everything else is gone. I deleted the apps and have also deleted my personal Instagram and Twitter. I still have Instagram and Twitter for Gypsy Dreams and will be using those from now on. But during all of this, I got the chance to really take an objective look at my life and experiences, and worked through them as I was doing it. It’s a lot easier to let go of negative feelings when you can delete a file associated with it, it’s incredibly therapeutic.
What I discovered instantly was how easy it was to hard-break from Facebook. The second thing I noticed was how much more time I had to read books, articles and blog posts that I actually wanted to read. That didn’t create this end-of-the-world panic, and gave me a respite from my overthinking. It also helped me reconnect with my own intuition and perspective on things, which made me fall into tarot all over again and my love for writing has returned. So if this is something you’ve been considering, throw caution to the wind and just go for it.
Slow down, be true to yourself, and the rest will work itself out. Until next time… x