It is not important that my journey is understood, it is after all my journey.
The last three years have been turbulent, if not conflicted. But that is far from a bad thing. Fundamentally, my challenge has very much been insular. The spectres that haunted me were hidden within myself; a level of depression and anxiety I was unaware of until I began to question myself.
University is traditionally an experience that changes people, developing independence, confidence and self-reliance. And to an extent, I have also been swept up in this metamorphosis. Receiving a serious knock before delving into a world of education, drinking and general shenanigans. I found myself suffering from a brief period or pretty intense depression. Picking myself up, I endeavored to drive forward, with an almost relentless desire to better myself. Although, this posed a set of unique challenges in itself.
Bettering yourself, its a melting pot of ambiguity. At that point in my life, it meant going to college, taking a course that would take me to university. Nowadays, its slightly more complex. Hitting the gym, for example, has been instrumental in the emergence of the ‘new me’. When I arrived at uni, I weighed a mere 9 stone. Now I am a much healthier 11 1/2 stone. In large part, I have to thank one of my closest friends, who tried to get me to train with him for over a year. At last I have, not given in, but taken a positive step to improve my quality of life, and I am massively grateful. Forcing myself into situations that trigger my anxiety, another step, a much harder and more uncomfortable step. The aim being to overcome such anxieties. Situations that seem entirely natural to the majority of people, that often leave me overwhelmed.
Depression, now, this is a battle I can confidently say I am winning. After a bout of counselling and with the support of my family and friends it is a looming spectre that stalks me to a much reduced degree. I would prefer to say no longer. But your mind can be a dark and dangerous place, especially when you are left to wonder its corridors alone. The scope of change I have undergone and undertaken is difficult to explain, as is the starting point.
It was a difficult decision, the prospect of reaching the summit seemed improbable, if not impossible. I had no conception of self-worth, other than one built upon supporting others. Something I still strive to do now, however, it doesn’t permeate through me to such an unhealthy level. I always saw myself as a man with broad shoulders. This definition became a remarkable burden I could not recognise until it was pointed out to me. After I began to shed this, I was struck with something akin to an identity crisis. What had been me, since I could remember, a state of mind that was rotting me from the inside out, was no more. So what was I? Letting go of strict definitions was the next step, just allowing myself to live without fitting into a predefined role. That took some time.
There were some serious dark moments along the way, far from the safety of my decrepit base camp. I had taken a sledgehammer to my internal belief system. I used to validate myself against how much I helped people. I didn’t deserve a good day, I didn’t deserve to be happy unless, in some way I had made someone else happy. The days following a day of, what at the time seemed selfish self-indulgence, were brutal at times. Breaking these barriers down, breaking myself down was crucial to rebuilding, constructing a stronger version of who I am.
My journey is far from over, I am a great distance from where I want to be. But my mentality, is being reconstructed upon a foundation of optimism and positivity. This foundation does shake from time to time, but these tests of strengths are important in ensuring stability. What I have written is just a snapshot of the last three years. I often find just writing and rambling one of the best ways of expressing myself and clearing my head.