I’m lost, shall we disappear?
Below is a long-winded story about SCA, random date that recently happened and a slightly strange method to dealing with mental health and some photos of myself at different ages.
It was just over two weeks ago. The stress levels in the building seemed to be intensifying meaning only one thing, BRIEFS INCOMING. We were about to finish our first one-week brief while working simultaneously on a 3-week brief knowing all well that a second one-week brief was coming post-weekend. Marc then had us all together where he opened up the floor to a wider discussion of mental health, burn out and making sure we stayed on top of things. Suggestions for how to cope, how to choose what work to do were things. Umm yeah that’s the SCA part.
November 19 2021, an unremarkable date to anyone not born on said date. To me however it marked one year since I left the United Kingdom and moved ‘HOME’ to America and began my new life working in the outdoors in a ski resort. It was one year since I’d made the big decision, one year since I’d started journaling, one year since my life really dramatically changed. The largest change of environment I’d had since I was maybe 9 years old when I moved to Singapore. Between that move, there was new schools, moving to the UK for university, COVID 19 to name a few large things…
November 19 2022, I am studying communication/advertising/ at ad school (it constantly changes depending on who im speaking to) and I am living in the United Kingdom again. Life is life, and constantly changing, however what made the date such a remarkable moment in my life was that it marked the anniversary of me learning about my mental health and my brain. The start of my brain journey for me truly started on the 19th of November 2021, a post-uni, post-covid brain journey. I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to spend much of my life buzzing around doing my thing, just going but actually even more thankful that I’ve had the experience to go through the last year as its has taught me so much about my brain, my needs, and the things I need to keep doing to make sure I stay floating.
I’ve spent the better of my time at SCA feeling like a dark cloud was following me around. It was a feeling or desire of wanting to disappear. Remove myself from the world that I knew and anyone I had any connection with. I didn’t know why… I was exercising, I was eating well (better than I had been at least), sleeping well, being social while still guarding my boundaries with work, school and friends. Everything should have been bright pink but regardless there was something building. I was desperately trying to search for the trigger, and it was completely lost on me. SCA had been the big change in my life, I wondered if maybe it was SCA. Was I in the right place, doing the right thing for me? I decided to reach out and speak to the people I thought would be able to help me out.
It’s when I was reminded about my brain. The biggest and most important thing I learned this year through my journey has been my characters. I call them my characters because I think of them each as one individual inside of me that work together to make my decisions, help my emotions stay in check and feel right in the world. Its very Inside Out (2015), but it has really helped me and visualising it has made me learn them.
I’ll introduce you to some of the characters –
The Traveller is a character who has itchy feet. He doesn’t like society, doesn’t like corporate’ness. Doesn’t want to be told what to do anymore. Wants to be free and fly and be allowed to burn a building if he wants. He doesn’t want a phone, wants to be a nomad. He’ll sort himself out and please please don’t tell him what to do, it’ll just make him want to do the opposite. Big fuck you to everyone and everything.
The TCK (Third Culture Kid) is a character too used to wanting to fit in, and be liked. Fit in actually maybe isn’t the right word, but a character that conforms. Does want the social norm is as he’s used to being new to a group. He’s not totally sure who he really is because for too long has been a chameleon. People go to the pub, okay I go to the pub.
The Child is a character that likes to play, be silly and just have fun. He is joyous most of the time and is often with the fairies. He giggles to himself and has a very warm, pure heart. (I feel like he’s the one that tends to be expressed the most in my day to day life. Maybe he’s the loudest in the group?)
These characters amongst the others help me on a day to day basis. I need them to all feel loved, feel heard and appreciated. I learned that alienating them only causes them to become more and more intense with how they feel internally. I think its quite ridiculous… Having told some people that I think I have people inside of me, it always feel quite silly but it’s a method thats worked for me in the past.
AND THATS where I bring it all back. It worked for me in the past and at SCA I think a big focus was being placed on certain characters and others were feeling increasingly squashed and unheard. I’d forgotten to sit with The Traveller and listen to what he was telling me. It was increasingly difficult for his voice and opinions to be heard and as such his feelings were only building internally.
The important thing to takeaway (if you have read this far) is that your health (mental, social, and physical wellbeing) is a CONSTANT grind. I was reminded that health is not a one time fix kind of thing, it’s CONSTANT work and CONSTANT work is needed. You can’t maintain healthy social wellbeing while being isolated, or physical fitness without exercising. SAME GOES FOR YOUR HEAD. I love my characters and I’m incredibly happy that they are here to guide me. The Traveller is just that little rascal that needs some very personal one-on-one attention to be heard and understood. I was getting derailed and his voice is what I was hearing. He was the dark cloud following me, just trying to tell me that I couldn’t forget.
I often find myself writing about my brain. Why is it that when it comes to long forms of copy, I instantly treat it like a reflection of my brain over the last couple of weeks??
PSA – Everyone has different struggles and goes through different things in life, this is a very personalised strategy to working through my own thoughts based on my upbringing and experiences.
Anyways thats my brain story. Time to go speak to The Traveller, see what he’s up to today.