My first encounter with intense emotion that I vividly remember took place when I was in boarding school. Without the distractions of the city, I lay in my room, thinking about a relationship that seemed to be falling apart. That was the first time I ever thought of self-induced physical pain as a mechanism to distract myself from mental trauma. The thought of such a thing was overwhelming, and yet my clouded judgement at the time led me to take hold of my razor and begin the process.
Such scars remain on your skin even after you regain a certain level of mental stability. They remind you of times that often seem too absurd to be true, times that you feel ashamed of telling anyone about. “Who wouldn’t get angry with me for what I had just done?”, I’d think to myself. Worse, I’d think people would think there was something wrong with me.
While I eventually began realising that such acts were getting me nowhere, it didn’t relieve me of my depressive tendencies. I would often go through periods of intense emotion and existential dilemmas, wondering where my place was in an increasingly bleak world. This would elicit friendly jabs from my friends about how “intense” I was.
Anxiety soon came into the picture when I started becoming less social. In certain situations, I still find myself being very unsure and overtly conscious of how to behave. On the other hand, however, there was a whole other part of me that was free of any filters, a side that still shows itself when I am with certain people. It is these contradictory parallels that often leave me feeling lost and unaware of my own self.
These anxious and depressive sides of myself would manifest themselves to differing degrees from moment to moment, day to day. Seeing yourself as a borderline case of mental illness leaves you feeling clueless about how to deal with it. Situations where I would be struggling with my thoughts and emotions would soon give way to more pleasant times, and while the intensity of the phase would have a significant impact on me, I would soon disregard seeking help thanks to seeing these lows as transient.
Yet, I have begun to find some solace in the way I deal with these contrasting traits. I now recognise the complexity of the mind through observations of myself, and cease to attempt colouring the greys into blacks and whites. This journey of exploration and realisation is one that I will continue to move ahead in, not without the setbacks and challenges that are only natural to the process.
In spite of not seeking help formally, I keep trying to explore new ways of easing my mind of negativity. Talking to a friend who I can connect with, spending time with animals or just sitting myself down and working through the mental clutter are all ways in which I’ve seen myself cope better with my own thoughts.
It’s never too early or too late to ask for help — from someone else, or even from yourself.