I last wrote on Medium in 2018. But today, I got an email that told me someone started to follow me on here. It was one of those moments that suddenly alerted me to why I started writing here, and what I had lost since then.
2018 was meant to be that new start, breaking away from the comfortable and known and with open arms, embracing what I really wanted to do with my life — set my own course, write, speak and help others overcome their own hurdles.
I then got swallowed up by that comfortable life in September 2018, having moved from the things I now understood I had cherished, into the rat-race once again. I re-joined the much loathed commute, hierarchy and standard ways of doing things — all so humdrum when compared to the time I spent before talking to others — talking, sharing ideas, talking about those deep topics that mattered to me.
That was all replaced with the usual back and forth of meetings, projects, and dealing with colleagues across many different levels of thought and personality. I made head-way within 2019, having moved across into a different department, to explore new opportunities to learn and do things. Personally I had also tried to forge friendships and relationships but nothing came out of it, instead I felt inadequate and responsible for the way they all ended.
My life auto-pilot was now in control, having taken right back into the corporate world and I felt many emotions around that — joy, happiness, recognition, despair even. Looking back, I had set aside the time to build my dream life and cultivated every small sapling to inch it forward, day by day, word by word.
Corporate won in the end. I thrived on the thrill of being able to pick up things others didn’t want to do and get shit done. That is what I thrive on, the path of learning and development. Yet, a lot of decisions were not up to me in the end, and I constantly had to keep my head above the water-line so that I could get everything (and more) done each hour, day and month.
When I am now seems to be a carbon-copy of earlier places I have been — companies trying to turn the corner and invest in technology and the people behind it. My auto-pilot had latched onto the coordinates of the job role when I first saw it, and I went over and beyond to get myself employed there.
Then again, why didn’t I just do that for myself when I had the chance? Debt and bills were primary concerns, yet I faded in and out of my own sub-consciousness throughout 2019. Towards the end of that year, I took time out to go travelling to Australia & New Zealand, but after I came back my depression landed me once again in that dark place, consuming every positive aspect in sight.
My trajectory sent me crashing through the heat being turned up on me several times, and I was constantly in the turbulence of fast-moving decisions at work. And I broke, silently and quietly I admitted that I needed space.
Come 2020, and the whole world stopped. And I had to turn inwards to find the strength to find myself again, lost again in thinking I was comfortable and fulfilled. The time spent commuting was spent emphasising the time spent outside, especially in the summer months. Long breathless walks, inspiring audio books and getting plenty of vitamin D made me feel alive again.
Then on one of those walks, on September 12th at 8.30am I was hit by a 4x4. I went from a high of being able to navigate through the valleys of absolute positivity, willingness and achievement — down into an utter free-fall, skimming the familiar waters of self-doubt and shame before ploughing deep into the ocean of darkness.
The familiar, comfortable situation had all but evaporated. Nothing felt the same again. It took time to get back into the rhythm of working, and I chose a new way to live. And, that was to talk. To open a conversation with those close by, those who were in reach via a DM. I had to shed the ego of being able to cope alone with the burden of just wanting to talk, about how I was feeling and why, most importantly.
I disconnected myself from automatically thinking all was going to be well. And employed the services of a therapist. There was only so much I could discuss with my colleagues, so speaking to a stranger about my life events past and present helped to separate the tsunami of feelings and thoughts.
And in a very short space of time, I made a conscious decision to be in the now. I know it is very cliche, but it does take a hell of an effort to break with the automatic trending of your own mind, to realise that I am here, right now typing these words to you, for example.
I wanted that power back, to dictate what was in my own feed of events and to then act upon the most genuine, authentic aspects I suddenly began to realise. I realised that this is me. And I had started to channel that power to allow myself to be.. just me. Ultimately, it almost mirrored the feelings back in 2018 where I was just, making those plans to go it alone, to write and speak — and to heal.
Looking back at my past works, I can clearly see I have gone back and forth over the notions around getting me to just be me, and explore the opportunities around being a unique person, with an individual way of doing things. I can also be confident in being me, in that I don’t have to be someone else to make someone else happy or even interested in me. Who needs to pretend anyway?
Because that is what we all are, all unique and individual. That is an exciting prospect, because in the world we live in we tend to forget that most vital part. That we can be, and we can pursue big dreams with small steps. My small steps took me into the path of death but so did my auto-pilot, as it tries to kill off any idea of following my intuition and dreams.
I now have control of the auto-pilot in my head, and hope to regain it for the long-term. If I get lost again, I’ll aim to make sure that the right goal is in sight before it engages again — or I will just grab control with both hands.
Being thrown off course is something we all need to deal with, however if you are consciously in the here and now then you can process the fear, confusion and doubt, understand clearly what the feelings and thoughts are, and proceed to react positively.
And that is how I came back.