My eyes stare blankly at the page, trying to soak up every word—I’m reading to distract myself from my feelings.
But then I close my book because in the corner of my vision, the light starts flashing. Except it’s not the light, it’s my actual eyes—or maybe my brain—I don’t know, regardless, the vision in my peripheral flashes in and out like a strobe on a dance floor.
This has been happening for a few years now, so it probably means nothing, but every time my hypochondriac-diseased mind goes straight to “Isn’t this a symptom of something? Is this how a stroke feels? Am I having a stroke? Oh, gosh, I’m having a stroke.”
I’d like to say that I don’t know where my incessant worry came from. I’d like to say that my constant self-check-in’s are without purpose or reason. But I know why I feel this way. I know why I fear mental illness. I know why I fear physical illness. Because in some way, I’ve been affected.
But haven’t we all?
We all have stories, and every story has a sad part. Even the happiest and sappiest of the romantic comedy genre have some sort of falling out (even if it ends in the inevitable, predictable and yet somehow sentimental reunion). I was reminded recently by my dear friend that we all have sad stories. No one’s life is perfect (somehow, that’s comforting to remember).
It doesn’t matter if you put every ounce of your energy into being the peppiest of positive-thinkers. You’ll have your days. I promise you, you will.
I think that sadness is a very real and necessary part of life. Without sadness, we wouldn’t appreciate joy. If every day was good, we wouldn’t be able to soak in the goodness of a “good day.” That’s what makes good days so good.
Unfortunately, I’m (un)happy to say that a majority of my sadness is self-afflicted, and I don’t think this is unique. I spend a good amount of time wrapped up in my mind—which isn’t a bad thing, just a hard thing. I think deeply, and vastly and sometimes it doesn’t make sense… sometimes it does.
Usually the parts that make the most sense are the parts that hurt the most.
My dear friend that I mentioned earlier has pegged me an “over-thinker.” And this is precisely what I am. I frequently wonder if most other people think the way I do, if becoming trapped in your mind is a normal thing. For me, although it can be painful in a legitimate and physical way, it’s everything that I am. My mind is perhaps my favorite part about myself. I like that I can think this way.
Still, when thoughts get tangled up, it can be hard to grab one, to really even know what you’re thinking at all. When I feel this way, I visualize my brain as a ball of yarn, except instead of yarn, the string is nothing but words and thoughts. A complete and utter jumbled-up mess of words and dates and phrases and memories, and the process of untangling is a hard one.
I know that I am not alone in this.
So we smile, right? Because bad things and bad thoughts happen, but good days, good thoughts will come. And I challenge those of you who are like me to come up for air every once in a while. Take a break from your mind because (while it’s a beautiful thing) in a twisted and poetic sort of way, it can drive you insane.
Focus on the positive. You don’t have to be peppy, and you don’t have to love every minute of every day. Your life likely isn’t a RomCom. And, hey, friends, that’s okay. Your life is its own beautiful story.
Just remember to be thankful for every moment of every day because even on the worst ones, there’s something to be learned.
Still, I’m grotesquely aware that this is easier said than done.
In order to distract myself, I think I’ll pick back up my book.