This post has been a long time coming. The idea for it has been sitting in the back of my mind for months as I’ve been attempting to deal with my own mental health in the wake of the pervasive shock to my system that has occurred since I’ve been in this stateless place. Though through the process of thinking through this post, the contents and contexts have changed, I think the feelings generally still apply.
When I was young, I hated the rides and roller coasters at theme parks and fairs as the idea of being taken around a metal contraption you had no control over seemed like a silly notion to a kid who never felt in control of his own life. So any time any of my family or friends wanted to ride a ride, I would walk through the lines with them until it came time to take your place in the wagon, cart, or wheel. At that point, I would simply walk out the exit. Everyone in line would try and convince me to stay, telling me how not scary it really was and if I were to just try and ride, I would like the experience. However, I knew this to be untrue as every ride up to this point felt like an excruciating experience, and making the ride taller and faster did not make relate to making the experience any better for me. So I would leave, and in those few moments of freedom, I would watch and wonder what the other people must have been experiencing being taken around by these giant machines.
At these parks, I become fascinated with one ride in particular, round up. This ride consisted of a spinning disk surrounded by metal fences, usually with beautiful blinking lights on the outside. Every time the ride stopped, new people would file in and find a spot, and then slowly, the disk would spin like a top. Up and down, left and right, round and round again, as people felt themselves pushed back into the fence without so much as a strap or buckle. I would watch people go around, unable to move as this large machine tilted and teetered back and forth. Until sometime later, the ride would slow and come to a stop before starting all over again. I wasn’t so much fascinated with the experience of the ride but the motion of the machine as it would bring people up and down with so much ease creating the illusion of excitement with every lift but never actually changing the experience of those who are riding it. It is in these times when I would stand there watching the blinking lights go round and round, what it would be like wondering what it would be like to just spin forever.
I never really put much thought into the ups and downs of my life other than the occasional consideration as to whether the inconsistent but frequent tumults stem from avoidable circumstances or actions. It wasn’t until the stacking of traumas and tragedies that it felt thought that my own world began to teeter uncontrollably. These high highs would be followed by low lows, each success followed promptly by a disappointment. This moving back and forth became heavy, and I began to become scared of spikes that would throw my world into chaos.
Truthfully it felt like someone had their hand on my head and would push it under the water, only to bring me up to catch my breath. I was swaying, spinning, and losing my footing. Each day became a chore, and each night a relief. Life became like walking through water, getting up on instinct rather than motivation.
I can tell you that I didn’t realize how much my mind was spinning round and round until I finally got some medicine that let it stand still. I didn’t know how pressure accumulated and built upon me, crushing my body and my hopes and dreams. It was then that it felt like I had lost myself, and it made me wonder why I tried so hard in the first place. I lost my way; the spinning made me lose sight of the ground and the sky, for it all to become a blur that some invisible force kept me down. Each teeter gave me hope but then promptly dashed it. Things I could normally handle began to stack higher, and the impossibility of banal tasks made me sink lower. When these dark thoughts began to pervade my mind and my feelings, all my actions that I felt out of control and I wanted to disappear. To hopefully be thrown for the ride and survive or at least to stop this misery.
I don’t know how to escape the ride or if the medicine will let me off. These pills I take scare me because of how well they work. Knowing some external force is making my body feel normal again. It makes me worried that I will be stuck with them, forever unable to be me on my own. Dependent on something else to stop the spinning. I feel like I’m on that round-up machine that is beginning to slow, hoping now that I have the power to make it to the end. I don’t know what else I may experience, but I know I’m not cured. I feel my body still be heavy but at least I feel strong enough at the moment to lift it. Through it all it still feels like I’m still going round and round, watching the world teeter and twirl, and wishing I was still that kid watching from the fence, wondering what it would be like to spin forever.