When I was younger, I was smart and mature for my age, (at least that is what I was told). I’m twenty-five now and I should feel like a grown-up, I should be able to handle adulthood and all of it’s attendant responsibilities. And, the truth is that I can’t just yet.
I don’t know how I got to this place of arrested development, but I hate it. I’ve written about feeling like I was stuck in a rut, and Its not just bad luck that keeps me from making much forward progress It’s me.
Here’s what I know about growing up: it doesn’t happen in steady increments that go hand in hand with the years, neither does it happen all at once. I’m realizing that I have more growing up to do than I thought I did; in several areas of my life. It feels like each of these places in which I want to mature, are competing for the limited growth I can offer.
My mental health is probably the area most in need of immediate attention. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since my teens, and I haven’t always done a good job of taking care of myself. When my depression got bad enough that I was seriously concerned that I might kill myself, I sought help, but not before then. My anxiety seems to be less acutely dangerous, but it makes so much of daily life an uphill battle. If I could get rid of it then I wouldn’t have to fight my brain just to go about my life.
I’ve spent so much time sort of self treating my mental health problems with escapism. Delving into fiction, movies, video games as a way of avoiding how awful I feel. Doing so has taken-up so much of my time that could have, should have, been used to build a life I want.
I’m seeing a new psychiatrist and therapist to hopefully help me deal with ailments that have basically robbed me of a good portion of the last ten years. Even still, taking the steps to make appointments and seek professional help took me several months.
That’s what depression does to me — it saps my will to live life. Even when it is not so bad as to make me want to die, it makes it hard to do anything but exist. Anxiety on the other hand gets tagged in whenever I manage to work past my depression and do something productive. It makes every little setback, inconvenience, point of stress light up like a spotlight until I cannot see anything else. It makes me use all of my energy and strength of will not to just run and hide, or scream my head off. I put a lot of effort into holding myself together, and it feels that every setback in other areas of my life just throws away all my progress here.
While I’m seeking treatment for my brain, I also need to care for my body. My back is seriously messed up, I’ve lived with chronic pain at a manageable level for a long time, but this summer I stressed it out somehow and now it’s bothering me more. There was a week when I could barely walk. Now, after chiropractic work and physical therapy, I’m moving about okay again, but I am still less able to bend, move, or drive than I used to be. Right now I’m broke and I really can’t look into further treatment, so I’m trying to make do with what I’ve got.
I’m trying so hard to make progress both towards what I would like my life to be like, and what sort of a person I would like to be. If, in any given day I manage to get a few things done, the day is a success, and yet I do not feel successful, because I already feel like a failure for being twenty-five and having achieved none of the traditional markers of adulthood.
There is so much to be said about what makes one grown, mature, an adult; about that which makes one a man. I’m thinking about how in If– Kipling writes about striving to succeed and do right against outside forces, I’m at a loss for what to do when the forces with which I struggle are internal. How can one thrive and triumph against the world if each day is an infernal eternal internal battle to survive?
Is it as simple as just putting one foot in front of the other?
Tomorrow is a Monday, I’m trying to hope that it will be a new beginning, that I can jumpstart a wave of productivity that will carry me into the new school year in a few weeks. Yet, there have been many Mondays before it that did not beget the new beginnings that I wanted, and so I fear to hope.