I hesitated to write this post for a while. I think mainly because I don’t consider myself ‘fixed’. I don’t have a solution to share that will help people in a similar situation to get back on track. I think that’s okay though. The purpose of Geek Mental Help Week is to create a discussion around mental health in the tech community, not necessarily to provide all the answers.
I had always considered myself a happy and optimistic person. Someone that could see the silver-lining in a bad situation. The type of person that is confident in themselves.
Over the past twelve months that driven and ambitious person that many of my friends would recognise has slowly faded. My ability to enjoy life and experience happiness has become increasingly suppressed. My curiosity has dulled. It’s like I’ve become detached from the world around me. Left to observe, but not truly experience the joys of life.
It’s taken me a long time to understand what I’ve been feeling. The past twelve months have been far from settled. A change in job, move to a new town, and the passing of my niece (as well as two grandparents) have all presented new challenges to overcome.
With so much going on, it’s easy to rationalise feeling a little unsettled. I would convince myself that everything would go back to normal if I could just get through the next challenge. The problem is, there will always be a new challenge on the horizon. That normal I’m referring to is in the past now.
My experiences over the past twelve months have changed me. I will never again be the person that I was, but that’s good. In order to grow we need to change. We need to experience new things, new challenges. After all, who we are as a person is the sum of our experiences in life.
I believe that it is my resistance to change that has caused me to lose touch with who I am. This sounds so simple that I feel somewhat embarrassed that it took me so long to figure out.
However, this realisation alone is not enough to ‘fix me’. It’s not a silver bullet that will cause me to wake up tomorrow feeling as good as I used to. It’s going to take time for me to rediscover who I am. To get my curiosity back. To find a new normal.
I don’t have a solution to share with you today. For me, I’ve only just identified the problem. But for the first time in months I feel like I’m making progress. Things are getting better.
I have a tendency to portray a perfect version of myself online. I play it safe and only share things that highlight my strengths. This may satisfy my own personal fears and anxieties, but it does no good for those around me that are tackling similar challenges. It’s easy to feel alienated when everyone else appears perfectly fine. So I’m making it my goal to speak more openly about my struggles.
Despite what the internet might have you believe, not everyone is okay. You are not alone.