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  • Writer's pictureErin

Labyrinth (A Mental Health Chat)

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Listen, I'm not saying things are bad right now. They aren't.

What I am saying is I can feel the labyrinth of suffering beginning to consume the atmosphere surrounding me. It's tight grasp on my mind is squeezing my thoughts, tighter and tighter until the moment my head explodes. The waves are crashing around me and I've forgotten how to swim, in fact, my arms and leg are completely frozen in their place, unable to move.

The sadness isn't controlling me, nor is the anger. To be quite honest, there is happiness radiating off me like the sun radiates light in the afternoon. The feeling engulfing my soul entirely today, more specifically tonight, right now, is the feeling of numbness. It's like this labyrinth we call life has ended without me knowing and all that's left of me is a vessel that once held my soul. I don't feel like a person. I don't feel whole. I don't feel anything at all, yet everything all at once.

In the same way that I feel like just a vessel, I can say I feel the most me I've ever felt. My soul may feel vacant, but every nerve in my body feels vivacious. The thoughts swimming inside my mind are moving at the speed of light. My heart is full. The love my younger self prayed to be able to give herself is there, in the back of my mind, and rolling off my tongue whenever I'm alone.

You're probably wondering why, if all of these things are true, is the labyrinth approaching? The answer to that is not one I can obtain as easily as I can to this one: how do I know the labyrinth is approaching?

The thing about suffering, for me at least, is that there are many indicators. Mornings are harder. The idea of waking up is hard to even fathom. I could wake up early and still lay in bed, wishing away time, and wasting it. Then the guilt sets in because how could I waste away my life? I should be living it since at this point in time, living is something I want. Life's too short. Though it's not something you'd see or think about for me, writing becomes almost impossible. The journals scattered around my room begin to fill at a slower rate than before and the poetry loses it's spark. My words become shorter, less educated, and more confused. The sentences or lines I attempt to put out are no longer legible. That's the moment I know that things aren't as great as they once were. My confidence in my abilities plummets until slamming forcefully against the pavement.

Fortunately, none of those things are happening currently. Years ago I told myself that if I started to feel the cycle starting over, no matter how many times it does, I needed to stop it. I could allow myself a few hours to sit and reflect on the feelings coursing through my veins, but once that time was up, I had to take control. I had to help myself. I had to save the tiniest bit of soul I had left before it completely vanished into thin air. Which is why if I allowed you one look into the darkest corners of my little world you would find three things: some form of a project, whether that is writing or painting, a book because I'm constantly jumping into fictional worlds to escape my own, and an obsession of music, a playlist or an album I've latched onto for dear life.

I'm not an expert in life, or happiness, or mental health.

I'd never claim to be one of those people that have all of their shit together since we all know I do not. What I will do is tell you that you are not alone in feeling the ways you feel. It doesn't matter if you are feeling on top of the world, or six feet underground, or nothing at all, someone in the world feels what you are feeling in some shape or form. You never have to do this alone. You never have to feel like you are fighting the battle of life without an army. Allow yourself time to feel the emotions then set out a time for you kill the switch on the cycle. Make time for the things that make you happy, even if it doesn't work. If it doesn't work, do it again, again, and again until your soul feels a little more whole.

Just because the labyrinth is never-ending, doesn't mean it has to be bad.

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