Since I’m a writer, my therapist thought it would be good for me to write about my life in order to see where I am and where I need to go, considering I’ve been completely lost for a couple months now.
Fair enough. So far, I’ve written eight pages of pretty much stream-of-consciousness. Have some snippets …
(And yes, for some reason, I wrote in third person, which my brother thinks is a cop out. He thinks I’m distancing myself from myself. But I’m a writer and couldn’t help the third person POV. I swear, this even reads like a children’s book on occasion, if you discount the content.)
She gets anxiety in grocery stores. She hates grocery stores—the people and the bright lights.
She reads a lot to escape. She prefers the lives of fictional characters. She knows her friends (especially the ones with kids) think she lives a golden life. They know she has “mental health issues,” but they don’t know the reality of her mysterious misery. What does she really have to be miserable about anyway?
She relates to Tom Petty:
Every now and then I get down to the end of the day
I’ll just stop… ask myself: why I’ve done it?
It just seems so useless to have to work so hard
And nothin’ ever really seem to come from it
Sara has too many thoughts about too many things and too many opportunities that swirl around her head until she’s overwhelmed and can’t do anything.
The problem is she looks outside herself for validation, for joy, when it’s not fair to put that much pressure on the world. The world isn’t always a very nice place, so why should it be nice to her?
So, as you can see, I’ve pretty much pegged where I am RIGHT NOW. However, my therapist’s challenge was to write “The Next Chapter.” What does Sara do next? I’ve been thinking about focusing more on public speaking. Maybe returning to journalism … although I never was much of a fan of that. Finding a way to travel more. Even teaching yoga.
Yet, nothing is clear, possibly because I’m not psychic, but possibly because in the thralls of mental illness, it can be impossible to picture what it looks like on the other side of the road. I mean, how do you remember light when you’ve been in the darkness so long? How do you regain purpose, remember how to dream, imagine doing something NEW and BIG when you can barely wash the dishes without wanting to nap?
I see what my therapist is getting at. “Write your next chapter.” She’s trying to get me out of the present depression and into a future where I’m happy and healthy. Or perhaps just content. It’s okay to be content, I think. We don’t have to be smiling all the time, but we can be just … good.
I could totally type “She lived contently ever after!!!” New chapter finished! But that’s a cheat. How do I reach that contentment? It’s something I’m seriously trying to think about and actively take steps toward.
What about you? What does your next chapter look like? Step outside whatever crap you’re going through right now and try to picture what would make you happy–and how to get there.