“Who am I?”
I don’t even exist.
At least, that’s what I was recently told at a brilliant lecture on meditation, mindfulness and neuroscience. Apparently, any physicist will tell you that we’re all just waves of energy floating around the universe – as individuals and as solid matter, we just don’t even exist.
However, far away from the realms of science in my own little universe, there’ve been times when I’ve truly felt that I am nothing and that I don’t exist.
That I don’t deserve to be here, that I don’t have anything to contribute, that I don’t have any value. At several points, those statements have felt big, strong, real and very overwhelming.
As well as the existential stuff, I’ve tormented myself with cycling thoughts about what am I doing with my life, what is my purpose, why can’t I make myself happy, why aren’t I more popular, why am I so lazy, why can’t I lose weight, why am I single (am I single because I’m overweight or vice versa)……the list goes on.
In those bad times, which last for several weeks or months, I lose control of my thoughts and lose connection to my true self – it’s like something in my brain has been unplugged and some kind of crazy uncontrollable short circuit has been created.
After a few years of experiencing this and with the support of family and friends, I realised that something wasn’t right and that I needed some help (it unfortunately then took another few years to find the right help but I’ll leave that topic for another day).
And this was where my journey of self discovery began – it’s been, and continues to be, a fascinating, rocky, empowering, emotional rollercoaster – but there’s one thing I can’t deny, this journey is definitely mine and there is no other journey for me to be on.
I’ve experienced, what I like to call, functioning depression – in 10 years of highs and lows, I have missed only 2 days of work due to the short circuit, I’ve run two marathons, I’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve shared great times with friends/family and I’ve achieved lots.
My experience of depression is different to those who can’t get out of bed or face leaving the house or self-medicate in dangerous ways. I don’t feel it’s appropriate to say that one person’s experience of depression is better or worse than the other (because when you’re in it, however it manifests itself, it’s blooming awful), but I can imagine that my ability to be out and about in the world while the short-circuit is going on in my head, has given me far greater opportunity for recovery every time….and for that, I’m very grateful.
There are 2 key things which enable me to break the short circuit:
- Supportive, challenging, understanding conversations with the right people that have helped me learn and come to my own insights – I need a mental shift to reconnect the circuit and regain some control of my thoughts
- Exercise – sport has always been a huge part of my life but it’s exercise for exercise’s sake, any form of training my body, that ignites that critical spark of energy – I need a physical shift to reconnect to my body and help bring clarity to my mind
I don’t really want to go into more details about my experience of depression right now, may be I will in the future, because this is not meant to be a sob story or a confession.
Like I said above, this is my journey, I can’t be on anyone else’s, I can’t adopt anyone else’s past, present, future, mind or body – I have mine and I’m very content with that. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, if it wasn’t for the short circuits and challenging times, I wouldn’t have done so much self-exploration and stretched myself to go for and achieve the things I have.
What I’ve written above is to provide some context for what I am aspiring to do with The Mental Movement, to let potential clients know that I come from a place of empathy and understanding and, while I’m at it, to promote openness about experiences of mental health issues.
So, back to the original question, “Who am I?”.
I’m Hana, I’m a beautifully imperfect human being, available in relatively solid form/waves of energy and on this earth for a limited time only.
And I’m starting The Mental Movement.
Who are you?
And do you want to join me?