Growing up, I’ve never understood how people sat still. How they just allowed every thought in their mind to trip over the barriers placed up by their busy minds. How they could allow their minds to be anything but busy.
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!” -Marcus Garvey
While sure, this quote sounds courageous, I’m not quite sure if my worn mind can fall for it. “…none but ourselves can free our minds!…” Bah!
My worn mind, though?
Let me explain.
Nearly two weeks ago, I took one of the wisest steps I’ve taken in the three years I’ve noticeably faced issues with anxiety and depression: I decided I was done feeling enslaved.
Sure, after time spent learning and studying from online resources I found ways to cope and get along in my day-to-day activities, but things were becoming much too difficult on my own.
I was simply mastering the art of distraction.
Personally, when I’m more stressed than usual, a huge indicator that my issues are worsening is what I do with my life and where my time is spent. If I’m constantly busying myself, and only home long enough to sleep, more often that not I’m trying to escape any chance of sitting still long enough for my thoughts to consume me. I’m busying my mind.
“‘Amusement’ is appealing because we don’t have to think; it spares us the fear and anxiety that might otherwise prey on our thoughts.” -John Ortberg
My so-called “enslaved” mind craved the emancipation that Marcus Garvey’s quote mentions. Why couldn’t I just deal with it and set myself free? I figured if I kept myself amused, and away from my thoughts, I was fixing the issue.
Sadly, though, in the process of distracting myself long enough see a blurry glimpse of freedom, I was missing simple experiences like moments spent at home with my family, opportunities to read, or even write here on this blog.
In reality, my slave had been screaming so loudly that it wasn’t able to hear anything else. Not even the nagging sense that something isn’t -wasn’t- right.
So for the first time, I confronted my screaming slave and made it quiet long enough to hear the opinion of a doctor.
After this quick interaction, and a brutally honest discussion on my spiraling feelings and thoughts, I was suggested to start on a simple medication that would level some hormones in my brain to make everything a little more doable.
Throughout the appointment, my nervous mind was growing more and more excited. “Tina,” my Dr., was so reassuring. I wasn’t crazy, or abnormal in her eyes! In fact, I reminded her of her daughter who has the same medication.
Mental health is nothing you should have to rely on yourself to cure. You shouldn’t try and “free” yourself, and especially not through distraction.
So how do I feel now?
Well, it’s been two weeks of taking a regular dose of my meds, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt so relieved. When I come home from work at night, I don’t spend hours sitting up in bed thinking of whatever might plague me that night. Instead, I close my eyes and I’m quickly carried off. Peacefully.
My mind doesn’t feel tethered to my emotions any more. Instead, I choose what I want to focus on and think about.
Now I get it: How people just sit there.
Because now, I’m able to sit still, too.