The beauty of opening up
Sometimes you feel a certain way. You question your mental state, neglect the balance you actually have, doubt your personal growth and the journey that you’re on. You feel stuck in a negative cycle. And that keeps you up at night and you can’t sleep.
When that happens to me, I get out of bed, sit down, grab pen and paper and let the words spill out of my brain. I believe it is easier to deal with heavier emotions and thoughts if you share them with others. And so I would like to share what I wrote down some time ago in the middle of the night at 4am.
It’s totally fine to lose yourself
Maybe you find yourself in these lines. Maybe it is relieving to you and gives you a sense that you’re not alone in this, because you are not. It’s completely okay to allow yourself to lose it.
I’ve lost it, I will lose it again, and opening up about it will help me deal with it. It has already created and deepened relationships with people more or less close to me, and it has given me a sense of connection and purpose in this crazy ride called life that I long for so much.
So, the poem or the collection of words, and chaos in my head that I captured is titled Again.
May it give you relief and a sense of connection as it has given me.
I’m struggling. Again. All the progress, the time for myself, and theoretical freedom to do whatever I want.
Here I am. Again. The immense self doubt, the depressive state I’m in, the suffocating isolation I feel.
All too familiar. Again. But a little bit different though. The 500th edition of it, so many years in a row, and that accumulates.
The frozen brain. Again. 32 years old. Used to struggle, to fight, to move on, to rebuild, feeling cold and alone.
Thoughts on rails. Again. About the repetitiveness of my mental state. The five millionth time of realising that I still haven’t found home in myself at all. Although I’ve tried hard to get there.
Is this my destiny? Again. The harshness, the brutality, the honesty, but also the genuine wonder. How come people tell me that I’m wonderful, kind and special when I don’t feel these fruits of my seemingly welcoming and friendly personality within myself? Why is all this softness and kindness so undeservingly isolated in the life I live?
Is this my destiny? Again. Who cares to approach me and ask me about how I’m doing. Where’s the community that welcomes me and holds me accountable? Where are the people that I belong to?
How the fuck can this happen? Again? How is it possible? After all these years, I still end up in the same spot. Don’t talk to me about spirals and that we’re never back at the same spot. It damn sure feels like it.
How come that others appreciate me more than I appreciate myself? Again. How come I depend on external support while I can’t even remotely accept me for who I am.
I’m tired of finding myself in this place. Again. I’m tired of finding out that I seemingly haven’t come closer to taking care of my biggest wounds. The destructive thoughts and feelings overshadow everything in here now.
Wasn’t it all about getting better? Again, not only about the immediate pain, the suffering in the present, but also long term. I have dreams and plans after all.
What is all this teaching me? Again? I don’t know. I find it so hard to see. Right now it feels so hard to feel happiness and ease but it’s so much easier to stay isolated, depressed and angry.
How and where do I move on? Again? Doesn’t this fucking cycle repeat itself over and over again?..
Take-Away: What I have learned from this particular exercise
After recording these lines for a video, I lost my wetsuit, talked to a supportive and compassionate friend, decided to dance in a public place and ended up jumping into cold water. I felt better doing all these things. I felt better expressing all these thoughts and feelings in various ways, without holding back.
What about you?
I will soon publish an article about how writing about my experiences and struggles has helped me over the years to deal with them. In case it has already been published in the meantime, you will read it here.
Until then, I’d like to leave you with an exercise you could try. Sit down and see if you can capture your current present moment in words.
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do with all that energy? Have you tried to write about it? But don’t expect to write with the hope to come up with a masterpiece. No, rather go with the flow and work with what is actually there .. which can be ugly, unpleasant and yeah, as a written text, unfinished and sometimes simply hot garbage.
Writing without pressure, expectation or aspiration
Because coming up with whatever is inside of you, even if it feels like hot garbage and unsatisfying, serves a higher purpose. You get rid of it, word for word. And you will get a chance to look at the words in a few days in a different mood.
When I revisited “Again.” for the first time, I couldn’t believe what I wrote back then. Sure, to be completely transparent, not everything from my personal notes made it into this official version, but especially the parts I left out were the most outrageous, distorted and ultimately ridiculous self-diagnoses and misjudgments, and some of them were even made up out of thin air.
Are you ready to try?
How do you feel right now?
Yes, possibly start with good, bad or whatever. But find a way to express your current feelings and moods visually.
- I feel like small kids screaming out loud when they’re not getting what they want. I’d like to stomp my feet on the floor and command the universe to follow my lead, satisfy my wishlist that I brought and serve me with the keys to all my problems. (Literally happens with my neighbour’s kids right now, and from that scenario on I kept writing haha).
- I feel cosy and warm compared to the agitation I felt when I took a walk outside earlier. I can let go now and don’t need to hold pressure or tension in my body. In a way, I do feel like a pudding, soft and warm and flexible, but you know what, in a good way! (Where I am right now, with about 0 °C and 70 km/h wind blowing against the windows of the living room here, I’m happy to be inside again. And mentally I also feel that although the walk in the cold did good to me, I can actually let go and appreciate the warmth of the apartment just now.)
Observing an object
Let’s assume you’re sitting on a desk with a specific object on it. I have an almost empty glass of red wine next to me. How do I feel as I observe this glass? Bear with me:
- Do I feel as open and buoyant as the open glass? Or do I feel more closed upwards and under pressure inwards?
- Would I give myself the colour dark red, or do I rather feel like radiating a cool arctic blue from within?
- Do I feel as light or fragile as that wine glass? Or do I feel more secure and solid like those beer glasses that won’t shatter even if they fall off the bar?
- etc ..
Sounds too crazy to try?
If you’re currently shaking your head in disbelief or doubting my sanity, great! Perhaps you have never described yourself with colours, shapes or other unorthodox associations. Whether it’s a glass of wine, flowers or your key ring on your desk that inspires you.
Show yourself in a new light. See if you can stop the frustration by focussing on its underlying energy. And then put that energy behind the cart of your pen and get started.
I hope you will enjoy the exercise. To be completely honest, after a few attempts you will see how good it is for you.
A meditation for you
It’s never a bad idea to practise loving-kindness, especially when it’s tougher for you to be good and understanding towards yourself. Yes, the circumstances and the thoughts and the feelings can be overwhelming, but you can answer and support yourself with four straight forward phrases: May I be safe. Be Happy. Be Healthy. Live with ease.