You know when you’re on your computer and you’ve asked it to do eight things at one time and you get that circle that just turns around and around. Your screen is frozen and the circle turns. A part of you knows it’s just processing all of the requests, but after a time you start to wonder: is the machine frozen? Do I have to reboot? Will it eventually process my requests? Or did I just fry the shit out of it?
That’s kind of like my brain now.
I can’t tell if I’m just processing an overwhelming amount of information, or if I’m frozen, waiting to have a breakdown from being overloaded with change and choice. Am I malfunctioning? Because unfortunately, you can’t ctrl+alt+del a human brain.
In fairness to myself, I have a shitload on my plate. Not all bad – just complicated. (And let me note that I’m incredibly aware and grateful that it’s not all bad.) I wasn’t naive as to think going to London would provide a clear future path, but I suppose I did think I would walk away with a clear feeling, a sense of direction. I assumed, based on my previous trips, that London would give me chills inside; would make me feel alive. After all: the accents, the metro, the cobblestone streets. What’s not to love?
The last time I travelled abroad I was in my 20’s. I was depressed, unstable, and self-medicated with alcohol the entire time. All of these things warped my vision. And when I travelled, I saw a place to escape from my demons. Just like going to college across the country, I kept thinking that if I found a new place, far from my geographic life, I could redefine myself without my depression. The bitch of it is, you can’t escape your demons. Those fuckers will sneak their way into your luggage no matter how hard you zip that baby up.
And being there, fully aware that my challenges, fears, and weaknesses would still confront me, whether on the tube or the London Bridge, was both exhilarating and exhausting. Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoy London. But I saw the grey now, (and I’m not talking about the fog,) rather than the black and white my bipolar II provided in the past. This isn’t my Mecca anymore. Or maybe there isn’t just one (when working on myself).
Each situation felt different than before – not better or worse, but more engaging and thought-provoking. Was it relaxing? Not really. It was more of a “working vacation” spent attempting to find myself, to face my fears, and to confront my choices.
It was a complicated, thoughtful trip – something I was not expecting. But being self-aware brought a nuance to my time there and allowed me to see my new strengths and continued weaknesses inside myself that I have missed within my daily life here.
Vacation’s over. I’m getting over my jet-lag, getting back to my routines, and have decided to let the circle turn, giving my mind time to process the experiences I had. I’m trying not to freeze up – to understand that just because I don’t have the answers, that my mind is still disorganized and frenetic, doesn’t mean I’m malfunctioning. I just need to take a deep breathe and give myself some more time. Eventually the circle will go away, and the deeper work will begin.