Mental Health & Illness: A Step A Time

I sat in a small room for a few hours, which felt like forever. I did grow quite impatient. I kept wondering, “why?” I felt that I had wasted my hours of quiet, uninterrupted brooding, and of course, contemplation, to not only prick my dressed wounds but also introduce myself to someone who, by the end of the session, felt they had gotten to know me.

I would not return.

Well, within that time, I got to know too how inevitably judgy human beings can be, and while I listened to doc’s conclusion of what I was perhaps challenged with, my mind was already made up, and I would not return.

Today’s article doesn’t contain advice, but merely experience, and even that differs from individual to another. I do not believe in a single-solution-for-all with matters of the mind, and since the mind forms a part of and belongs to us, isn’t it great that we exercise some freedom when dealing with it?

We are all different; don’t we then deserve to be understood differently? I would think. And there goes entitlement! Do not ever expect anybody to understand you. Nobody may, even when you pay them to. Knowing yourself better, and what works best for you is a great way to take charge of your life.

After months of being able to do nothing but feel low, uninterested, and mentally crippled, I tried something that till now still looks pretty simple; it came to turn into a journey I’d love—music therapy. Peace can be sought in many different ways; I started my journey with ambient music.

I felt that it slowed everything down while hitting all the right places in my heart. I didn’t care much to think before relaxing, which was much needed for what I would often describe as “pressure in my head.” Pressure that would make me feel like knocking down everything before me and screaming my lungs out just to feel better. I slowed down and looked all around me; it was indeed chaotic. Chaos, especially of the mind, is not a good thing.

I proceeded, with no guide, to restoring order in my life; simple order. I filled my hands with house chores—dishes, laundry, floors, and then putting everything in the right place. I couldn’t keep this up for long, of course, and I would at times find myself back on the couch, brooding, my belly empty, my flesh weak, and my soul unwilling. Music therapy couldn’t work at all times. My mind was still messier than my house, and the pressure was killing me!

It’s my mind. You’re my mind. Whatever I let you do to my life is entirely up to me (however helpless I feel).

Every time I felt that it was too much, nonetheless, I would remind myself that it was my mind, and whatever I let it do to my life was entirely up to me, however helpless I felt. I was scrolling through Instagram some afternoon when I saw an ad on Meditation. I would try it out, I finally decided.

The first time I went through with guided meditation, I simply did not/could not believe how clear my mind felt. Was it witchcraft? Well, no, simply peace; I would finally believe.

I then learned to make order part of my daily routine, but with no pressure; dishes, laundry, and the house. There was always enough to do for the better part of the day. But after two to three days of consistency, I would be back on my couch, again, brooding at square 1. Sad. Empty. Cold. Thoughtful.

The same sequence went on for weeks, which turned to months, until I finally felt I’d realized what I was still not doing—I had focused my energy on the things I could see and be happy about. But nothing was going within. All I had managed to do within was suppress, smile, and be temporarily free.

I searched the pieces that meant something dear to me; the pieces I was afraid to bring together, but were actually true, since they held what I felt. Perhaps, I would derive some satisfaction, I thought. So, I started by making journal entries of anything I felt, however stupid I saw it. Don’t confuse this with recounting daily events; that would probably have worked too, but I started with putting down my raw, daily feelings.

I would, at times, do dishes (such are usually times when contemplation and reflection hit the most), and pause midway to scribble thoughts that came, the pain I felt recurring, and the sadness I yet carried.

Just like anything else you could be drawn to, writing reconnected me with my truest self. The feelings, thoughts and sadness turned into art. And I made plenty of it, with no hurry. It was never easy, especially since I couldn’t easily connect enough sentences to make sense. I felt like a baby, learning at life, but I eventually saw the light.

What happened to my music therapy? Well, I came to feel more drawn to jazz, and to date, it serves my mind the peace that most other things cannot.

I then turned to re-organizing myself and focusing my external energy on only the things and people that would do my life good, leaving the rest to fade wherever. And for once, life felt better. I could actually afford a genuine smile.

But every day is a new discovery, a light on the faults of yesterday, and a chance to be better. I realized that I was still disconnected from other critical things like my body and physical wellness. A friend once told me that the body is like a vehicle. When one part is faulty, the entire system becomes so. It could move for miles, but it won’t be at its best until the fault is fixed.

I still relapse with physical wellness; I feel some inexplicable weakness when it comes to taking care of my body, and yet, I strongly believe it does affect how the mind works and feels.

Nothing in this article may work for you; that’s okay. I mean, I’m never truly okay almost all the time. Those who are, are lucky. I’m happy, nonetheless; I can laugh and smile genuinely, and unlike before, I can truly live! But see, okay is a journey. Healing is a journey.

A step a time is the way to go

Today’s article was about my journey (sketchily told). In the next article (tomorrow’s), which will be the final from what I’ve prepared, we’re going to look at helpful stuff that you can engage your mind in to train yourself to be better. Just generally simple things that even I haven’t exhausted, but hope to. Remember, a step a time is the way to go!


Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash

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