Photo by Jayant Kulkarni from Pexels

If you’ve read some of my last few posts, then you know that I’ve been stuck in a mental fog. It’s a storm that rages and then whimpers. There are times when I think it’s clearing up, and I feel intense relief. Maybe I’ll finally get out of it for good? Well, that’s unlikely, but it could stay away for a while. 

My hope rises, and for a moment, I have faith that everything will be okay. A fleeting moment? It’s a question I ask whenever I start to feel happy. It turns my eyes to the horizon as if I’m expected to see the storm clouds. It’s the kind of storm that, if I look hard enough, I’ll always see it coming. 

If I don’t look? Huh, I don’t know. I always look.

Today, the wind’s picking up, and the clouds are growing heavier. The raindrops are the reoccurring thoughts that wash out any relief I’d found. It douses the light from the candle I’m holding in my white knuckles. The trail I’m walking is plunged into darkness, and I close my eyes. If I can’t see it then, my mind becomes a blank canvas that my imagination can paint over.

Bright splashes of colour. Neon, glow in the dark, paint. A dizzying frenzy of abstract beauty. Anything to wash out the darkness and stop the rain.

These thoughts are so automatic that I don’t have control over them anymore. The feelings they bring are overwhelming but familiar, almost comforting. Is that a strange thing to say? Of course, it is! I should be repulsed by them, but I know them too well to pretend that we aren’t old friends.

I’m having one of those moments, and I’m standing on the edge of the storm. The wind is picking up, the clouds are rolling in, and the first few drops are falling. I’m on the edge of that cliff. The sun’s at my back and the darkness is right in front of me. The first few thoughts have already rolled down my cheeks.

My eyes want to close, and my back wants to turn to the storm. I want to keep my face in the light as long as I can, but I can’t turn away. It’s coming faster. I can feel it growing. I should try to light the candle, but what’s the point? It will just go out, and I’ll have wasted a match.

What do I do? The question seems like it’s one of those ageless, unanswerable queries so, I just shrug it off. I hand control over to muscle memory, and my eyes close. My shoulders tense, and my jaw clenches. I brace for the fight while feeling the exhaustion of all the battles I’ve already fought.

What choice do I have? Fighting seems to be in my nature. It’s my base instinct and a reflex I can’t master. It’s just like those thoughts that come out of nowhere. It’s a primal response to the stressors of life. 

I know this sounds dramatic, but I’m trying to work through something in my own head. I’m talking out loud and hoping I can make sense of what I’m feeling. It’s hard to describe a depressive episode or what it feels like to stand on the edge of one. Is that what this is, or is it a fleeting trigger that’ll pass? It’s hard to tell, but if I express these emotions, I might find some answers.

If I can get it out, then I might be able to avoid the third act entirely. The clouds will recede, the wind will die down, and my eyes will open. If I get it out now, can I side-step the thing that feels inevitable?

It’s something I’ve managed to do before, so I know it’s possible. I stood on the edge of the storm, watched the clouds move in, and I found shelter before it fully enveloped me. Other times? Well, let’s just say I’ve had a few successes and plenty of losses, but I’m still here for reasons I struggle to understand.

And there’s one of those automatic thoughts I mentioned. See, those little buggers just sneak into my consciousness with stealth and guile. If I wasn’t writing it down, it would’ve passed by without a second glance. The fact that I’m sitting here, talking about it, is the only reason I caught it.

It’s like having a weevil infestation. You open a new bag of flour, start making some bread, and halfway through mixing, you see a tiny spec scurry off. You stop, stare down into the bowl, and frown. Did something just move, or am I imagining it? You should probably stick your hand in the bowl, move some flour around, and make sure, but— ew, no, you just stare at it until something else moves.

Then you shake your head and do a quick google search. Are weevils harmful to people? It doesn’t look like they carry any diseases. Well, that’s good to know. Now, can you stomach eating insects, or should you toss the whole lot out? It’s easier to ignore the weevils so, you shake your head again and keep mixing. 

Of course, you don’t look in the bowl again just in case you see something that will shatter the illusion and/or delusion. Am I speaking from personal experience? Uh, let’s keep this in the metaphorical sphere.

My thoughts— those automatic ones— are like those weevils. They move so quickly, and they’re so small that, for the most part, they’re easy to ignore. But then I have a day like today— well, I’ve been quite grumpy all week— and all the minor inconveniences trigger an emotional storm.

If I’m being fair to myself? Those triggers have been going on for a while so, there’s some build-up. The storm has been rising and falling back for just as long. I’ve been weathering it as well as I can, but I’m just feeling tired and overwhelmed. I’m questioning my decisions, my place, and my future because those damn weevils are multiplying.

And they say bunnies are proficient breeders? Ha! Give these storm brewing weevils enough room, and they take over the whole damn house.

The only time I’ve managed to silence these fleeting thoughts is when I’m outside, camera in hand, looking for my next shot. As long as I keep moving, then I can outpace my own mind. One foot forward. One more shot. Keep going, and don’t stop. If I do? The weevils rush back in, and the storm clouds catch up.

But what do I do when I get tired? Like right now, my eyes are heavy, my words are coming slowly, and my motivation is waning. I’m trying to ignore the thoughts and the feelings, but I can’t keep moving. Can I?

I kinda want to scream right now, and that’s not an option. So, I just blow out a very long breath and force my fingers to keep typing. I’m hoping that if I keep going, I’ll stumble across something profound, and we can both share in a moment of clarity.

Did I just laugh out loud? Yeah, I don’t think I have any words of wisdom in me today. I like to unpack these things and dig into them. Mental health and mental illness are subjects that intrigue me. Obviously, I spend so much time talking about it, researching it, and trying to make sense of how my brain works because it doesn’t follow the manufacturer’s specifications.

So, I write it out and look for answers. I’m processing my experiences, validating my struggles, and searching for hope. I’m trying to convince myself that everything will be okay as long as I keep moving.

Usually, I can do that. I can find meaning, purpose in sharing my struggles. I firmly believe that talking about what we’re going through and sharing our stories is incredibly healing. I find the hope I’m looking for when I hear that I’m not alone in the storm. It’s such a simple thing that has a profound impact, but lately, my story has felt isolated, stuck.

I’m standing on the edge of that cliff. I’m staring out at the storm clouds, and there’s nothing behind me. I can’t go back. I can’t go forward. I can’t keep moving so, I sit down and pray that I’ll figure something out. But even my prayers feel rather hollow lately.

While I’m not religious in the traditional sense, I believe there’s a power greater than me that has my best interests at heart. I call that power God, but there are a lot of names that are just beautiful. They are just as powerful, meaningful, and by all means, call them by whatever name you know.

Prayer has always been my cleansing outlet. It’s the place I go to say what can’t be said to anyone else. It’s a safe space to vent, rant, or just sit quietly. Who I am in prayer isn’t judged or ridiculed by God. There are no limits or boundaries that have to be observed. I can say what I’m feeling, curse excessively, and I know it’s being held in a safe space.

But lately, even that space has felt empty and hollow. I talk, and it falls into the silence so naturally, the doubts start to creep in. Is there really a power greater than myself? Is believing in God the same as believing in Santa, unicorns, and dragons? Sure, it’s fun, and it has its place in our daydreams, but when reality calls, does it hold up?

I used to be afraid of these questions and the doubts that inspired them, but not anymore. Questions, doubts, and sitting in those icky feelings are an intrinsic part of being human. It happens to everyone at some point. Whether we choose to acknowledge it is a different question with a different outcome.

For me, this is where I find room to grow, and I deepen my understanding of faith and God. It’s where my definitions change, and I clarify my stance on whatever I’m questioning. My doubts and insecurities can offer insights into who I am or want to be. They’re trying to tell me something that I’m trying to ignore or forget. They’re the emergency brake when I’ve been moving for too long.

As long as I keep moving, the storm of doubt, insecurity, and fear can’t catch up. But what if it’s a cleansing rain that will wash away something that’s holding me back? What if my doubts about God, prayer and everything else are God’s way of telling me to stop running? Stop moving. Just stop, listen to the wind, and have a little faith.

People like to use the term crisis of faith for moments like this, but what if it’s a renewal of faith? A chance to feel the fear instead of running from it. An opportunity to redefine myself and my relationship with my higher power. A moment to rest, perhaps?

Or, I’m standing on the edge of the cliff looking for a hopeful sign. Something that will reassure me that everything will be okay. I’m grasping for anything to hold onto. The storm is coming, and it scares me, but what if I don’t fight this time? What if I stop moving and see what happens?

I don’t know if any of this feels genuine to me, or if it’s one of those weevils running around in my head. I’m trying to figure it out, you know? I’m just trying to ride out the storm as best as I can.

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