As Long as you let it
“There’s nothing worse than taking something into your head; it turns into a revolving wheel that you can’t control.” — Ugo Betti, Italian Judge, Playwright (1892-1953)
When something really gets to me, it can easily turn into an obsession. I’ll think that one thought over and over; 24/7. I’ll worry over one particular thought like a bulldog in a meat shop. This obsessive thinking, if left uncontrolled in my mind will lead me eventually to the deep dark shadows of depression.
I believe that I became obsessed by fantasies that spun around inside my head like pinwheels on a windy spring day. At times it became difficult to imagine real people, in real situations. I kept repeating images that were real only in my fantasies. Eventually, I realized these fantasies were closing me off from a world of truth.
To break free, I needed to take dramatic action with both my psychiatrist and therapist. I attended a weekly group session and found that by talking and sharing with others, I was able to learn from their experiences. I continue to walk a path that leads out into life and away from those spinning wheels of my obsessions. I am learning to live a life away from my mad world of obsessions and I’m reaching out and getting free.
“We yield, and we realize God has wrought something in us, and that the wings of our souls have learned to beat the upper air.” — Anonymous
Where is your “resting place”, that free space for nurturing and peace? As a child in kindergarten, like all of my classmates, I had a “resting mat.” Each day, for a period of forty-five minutes or so, my classmates and I took a little nap.
As an adult, my resting place is inside myself: a place where I live quietly, engaged in inarticulate creation. I go to that silent space because I am safe there. I find what I need to be replenished until I am ready to go into the world again.
For some, their resting places are primarily outside of themselves: the earth, the sea, the desert or the mountains. It is called “getting away from it all,” but it’s really going to something needed as much as air and food.
We all will find a resting place in anything to which our heart calls us: music, writing in a journal, books on personal growth or spirituality or simply in solitude. We all need sanctuary; time to be recreated; time to become reconnected to who we truly are.
“At the bottom of the modern man there is always a great thirst of self-forgetfulness, self-distraction…and therefore he turns away from all those problems and abysses which might recall to him his own nothingness.”– Henri Amiel (1821-1881), Swiss Philosopher and Poet
I am aware of the way I sometimes rush around or slide off into the land of fantasy to distract myself from looking at myself too closely. Am I afraid that what I might find is nothing but my own… nothingness? Are my addictions a misguided search for some kind of identity at any price?
I am discovering that identity is not something given, once and for all. Perhaps there is never a fixed point at which I can say, “I am that.” Life is a process, upheaval, reversal, change and a continuous process of becoming. If I can be brave enough to welcome change and the pains it can cause, I may never have to fear the vertigo of nothingness or the madness of distraction that becomes self-destruction.