Imagine being an explorer. You are sailing the seven seas in search of places yet to be discovered. You have your maps displayed across the table and you have studied them thoroughly. You have studied them to the point they are burned into your brain. But there are parts of the map that aren’t clear. Your previous voyages took you elsewhere and now you are sailing into uncharted waters. You may have an idea, but you still aren’t sure what you will find once you reach wherever your destination ends up being. You are sailing into these uncharted waters purposely. It’s the whole idea of exploring. You are on a mission to uncover new places. See things not mapped out clearly on your maps. You know these places have to exist from your previous voyages, but now you want to really see what lies beyond the boundaries of where you have been before. Hence the term “sailing into uncharted waters”. How many times in our lives do we find ourselves sailing into uncharted waters?
We are on a voyage of sorts with our mental health. I tend to write more about walking a path, but it can easily be exchanged with sailing. We use our feet and our legs to propel us forward down our path. Sometimes we take big steps, but there are always the important little steps forward. It also takes motivation to walk this journey. It takes a desire to see what lies ahead. It also takes faith and we try to possess hope. Faith, because we don’t necessarily know what lies ahead, but we have hope that better days are what we will find as we move forward.
Sometimes the wind is gusting and we sail along our charted course much quicker than when the wind is barely blowing. Those moments we are still sailing forward, but not as quickly as when the wind is really blowing. We sail our charted course knowing that something lies ahead, but eventually we may sail into these uncharted waters. But we keep sailing forward because we want to get to someplace. We want to see what lies ahead.
I know I have discovered a lot about myself on my journey. This journey started close to three years ago. I have uncovered many stones and what lies underneath has mostly been helpful. Not everything we come across is as helpful as the last thing we discovered, but we keep moving forward as this is the choice we have made for ourselves. We do not wish to stay put. I know for me, staying put could become dangerous. Somedays I really don’t feel like walking anymore, but I know I have to.
Have you ever been walking your path and you have this feeling in the back of your mind which says, “It feels like there is something else and I’m not sure what it is, but I can’t shake this feeling”. I feel like I have come to this point. I’ve always felt this to some degree. When I was brand new at this, everything was new. At least everything was different as I was approaching my life and how I live it differently. I wasn’t sure what that “there feels like there is something else” feeling even was as everything I was learning and beginning to practice was all new to me.
So, I’ve walked my path. I am still walking my path. Somedays I feel like I am heading the right direction and sometimes, I have to be honest, I feel like I am completely lost. One day I’m great and the next day I may feel terrible. There tends to be more space in-between changing from one way to the next, but the bad days suck. I’m not talking about a bad day at work. I’m talking about when our brain is kicking our butts and it becomes hard to get out of bed. I don’t always get why it is happening. Maybe I’m not supposed to know everything, but one thing I do know is I want to move as far away from this feeling as I possibly can.
But somedays I find myself feeling extremely lost. I’ve been feeling this way more and more lately. Even on some of my good days, the lost feeling is still there. Or maybe it is less about me being lost versus everything appears to be surrounded in fog. Not always a thick fog, but enough fog to make it hard to see things clearly. It’s like I’m squinting trying to see something more within this fog.
Enter the uncharted waters thing. I went and saw my therapist a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want to go. It had been almost two months since the last time I saw him. Two months ago I saw him for the first time in a year. Usher in the in-flux of people needing mental health care while navigating the pandemic and the ability to pick up the phone and get in sooner was gone.
Mental healthcare providers practices are so full right now that the bucket is over flowing. With this mass in-flux of people needing help and assistance it makes it extremely hard to get in as soon as you really need to.
Lately, I haven’t really felt like doing anything. I find myself at home more than I find myself wanting to get out and about. I’ve accepted that I am more of an introvert, but this feeling of not wanting to go anywhere or do anything is spiraling way out of control. I know it is out of control, but I also find myself not wanting to do anything about it. I find myself not wanting to go see my therapist. I know I should go, and I have gone, but it’s just another factor of my flailing motivation to want to do anything.
The one saving grace of the pandemic, in my eyes (if you can even call it a saving grace as that phrase doesn’t compute at all), is that mental health appointments are a premium. You don’t get to cancel and reschedule for the next week. You cancel and you are screwed, as it may be months before you get back in. So this makes me go even when I don’t want to. So weird to even think like this.
I was talking with a friend a month or so ago and we were talking about how we were feeling. He is someone who has been working hard to improve his mental health and someone I trust. I was talking about how I have so much trouble remembering things. I talked about not being motivated. I talked about the feeling of always being in the fog. The one thing that always gets me during this whole journey is the fact that I have a lot of trouble truly enjoying things.
The lack of enjoyment doing things I like has bugged me the entire time I’ve been on my journey. Yes, I do have genuine moments of joy and enjoyment. I do allow myself these moments, but sometimes I find myself not being in control of when I enjoy and when I do something I like to do and I get nothing out of it.
He mentioned trauma.
Maybe there is some traumatic event that has happened and has now rendered me feeling the way I do even after so much treatment and hard work to turn it all around. I have to admit, I have never before thought that my mental illness might be fueled by a traumatic event. I didn’t think that was me.
Until we talked. It was at that moment it made sense. Maybe I need to approach my treatment differently. Maybe we need to turn over this particular stone that I have ignored or simply never thought about before.
I do not claim to be a guru in the area of trauma. I know PTSD and other forms of trauma are real. I just don’t know a lot about it as I haven’t really researched it. I’ve read about it as it is described in other peoples journeys. We have a huge resource in the mental health blogging world that has taught me a lot. This is what I know about trauma. What I’ve learned about it is through reading other blogs available here on WordPress.
I have a lot to learn and I have tried to have an open mind when it comes to any area of my treatment. People dealing with trauma is not a new thing. A lot of people, unfortunately, have had to deal with a lot of junk in their lives they never deserved to deal with. I know trauma is real and has really devastated a lot of people, but now it’s time to look at me and how trauma might fit into my life.
I think it was in December, but I wrote about the fact my wife and I have not been able to have kids. I talked about the impact on our lives. I talked about how our lives feel like they are on pause. From the little I know about trauma, this major life event has definitely been traumatic to my wife and I. It seems obvious now, but it wasn’t until I talked to my buddy that I started to think differently about us not being able to have kids.
This huge event in my life and the different feelings or lack there of all seems to fit into what I know about trauma.
This is the uncharted waters I am about to wade into. I mentioned it to my therapist at the end of our last session. We are going to revisit it at my next appointment that is in a couple of days. I also have an appointment in another couple of weeks, as we have now started to schedule multiple appointments so I can get in more frequently, which is what I need right now.
This is a developing story. One I will share with you as it unfolds. Is it weird that I am kind of excited to go down this road? I wish nothing traumatic on people, but when something is there and it is still underneath the unturned stone, I feel like I need to turn it over. Especially this one. Maybe this is what I need to discover more about and how it fits into my life so then we can alter my treatment to fit in a traumatic experience. I’m guessing my therapy and my ongoing treatment may change some or change a lot, so I’m going to turn this stone over and see what lies beneath.
I have to sail into these uncharted waters. I feel I am not doing my job as an explorer of bettering my mental health if I don’t do this. My desire is to enjoy life. My desire is to feel about things again. At least feel in a more consistent and expected way.
Does something feel “off” to you even with all you are doing? Do you feel like there is something more? Maybe it is time to look at the stones around you and flip some over to see what lies beneath. I know you have flipped some stones along your journey, but don’t stop turning over stones especially when you feel like there is something more out there.
You got this! I got this! We got this! Let’s keep sailing forward together and see what waits for us in these uncharted waters.
Have a great day!
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