Mental health

My New Monster.

While I try to find my way in life, a new wave of mental disorder hit me. I definitely was not expecting this to happen. After my panic attacks passed, I thought I was free. I thought I had learnt how to elaborate my emotions, that I had rationalized and understood all that there was to be rationalized and understood. I thought I was fine.

After finishing writing my bachelor dissertation, I started feeling demotivated. Nothing major, everybody can feel demotivated at times. Even if you are at your dream job, and you are exactly where you had hoped you would be in life, you can feel demotivated. Maybe you lack new stimuli, maybe you don’t know what you want next, maybe what you want is so big that you are overwhelmed. So you might need to try new things out, even if they are not what you thought you wanted, even if they are not what you want to do for the rest of your life. You don’t have to be just one thing, and you don’t have to be the same forever. You might need to stay in uncertainty for a while, without trying to skip steps. Accept that you are in uncertainty for now, because you are not ready yet to figure out what you want or what to do. You might have to focus on the small steps that might lead you to where you want to get, without looking at the top of the mountain all the time, which seems so big and unreachable.

Sometimes, though, even knowing this is not enough. You know you need to have faith and wait, you know you have to take it easy, you know the motivation will come back when it’s time, but still… something goes wrong. That’s what happened to me, when my lack of motivation exploded in panic attacks and then – after a couple of days – turned into apathy.

I don’t know if I was just too used to panic attacks and I started feeling kind of anesthetized, or if this is simply the way my demotivation evolved. This new monster took all my motivation, my strength, my passion and it filled the void it created with apathy and a lack of purpose. I’m so scared, and yet I cannot really feel the fear. I’m numb. I can’t find my centre anymore, that little peaceful place where the divine resides in me, where I’m safe. I don’t feel safe.

I am now facing the problem with a psychologist here in Rio de Janeiro – since I’m constantly moving between Italy and Brazil, I usually do my therapy with my Italian psychologist on Skype while I’m in Brazil, but since she is on maternity leave, I found myself one here with the help of my local friends.

It’s not easy to share all the details about what I’m feeling and how I’m facing it with the world. I think the hardest part is sharing it with the people who know me, rather than the rest of the world – and from this you can already see that judgement is one of my main issues – but I hope this can be of help to anybody who is suffering from my same problems and maybe doesn’t know what to do, or doesn’t know that there is something to do. Even I, after going through all my panic attacks and anxiety disorder, sometimes forget that this will pass. I should know better by now, and yet sometimes everything gets dark, I feel hopeless and see no way out.

But you know, even the thickest forest is surrounded by something, some place from where you can see the light, and then follow it. On no side is the forest infinite, endless. On every side it ends somewhere. It might take long, especially now that you have lost your map and your tracks and your compass, but you’ll get there. Just keep on walking.

Since we are in the field of nature metaphors, mental disorder really behaves like the waves: it hits, it crushes, it retreats, and then it strikes again. It changes in form, shape and intensity. It’s unpredictable. I wish the pain could end now, or at least, I wish I could feel it. And yet, one day it will be over. One day, thousands of hours of therapy away from now maybe, you will have learnt to deal with your shit. You won’t even realize it, but you will have done it. Just like that. And then, you will be out of reach from the scary waves.

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