Welcome to the second part of the Inside My Head series! Last week we looked at worry and doubt and how that affects me daily. Today, I’m going to talk to you a little about feeling trapped, which is often how I feel. If you want a bit more information, you can always check out my journey as well.
Trapped Inside My Head
“Look closely. No, not at my face. That’s the mask. No, look at the eyes. That’s it. Don’t just look at them, though: look deeper. Past the tiredness, there’s almost another shield. That’s it, look deeper. Can you see him? The man trapped behind the cold steel of the mask. He is there, screaming for help. But you can’t hear him, can you? You can’t really see him either. He’s hidden behind the mask. He’s real though. Very real. And he’s trapped inside my head.”
I wrote that quote back in September 2016 while trying to journal how I was feeling. Back then I thought it was the best way to describe how I felt and, looking at it today, I think I agree. It sums it up well.
I’ve already told you about masks and how they can become a big part of someone’s life. Well, behind every mask there is the person going through whatever life is throwing at them and, like me, they’re not always coping as well as their face might suggest.
Inside my head, behind the pristine and polished mask, is a very overactive brain. Thoughts, both good and bad, assail me on a daily basis and make it almost impossible for me to switch off. It’s part of the cause of my insomnia, as I find it hard to turn off for the night. Those thoughts cascade through my head, constantly clamouring for attention, slowly crushing me. The negative ones, particularly, have a strong impact on my mind, almost always trying to push me down. It’s hard to shut them out, particularly when you’re trapped in the middle of them. They are loud, large and always there. Always.
“Imagine for a moment that you’re in a room. It’s quite a large room with many things to look at: paintings, photos, articles, statues and other objects of interest. Perhaps it is like a museum of some kind, with everything there part of a display about someone’s life. A picture of a house. A statue of a childhood friend. A model of their first bike or guitar. A family portrait. Everything tells that person’s story.
Now put a person into that room. And another. And another. Keep going. Continue adding people until the room is full. They fill the room, jostling for space and you soon find yourself pressed into the crowd with no room to yourself. You shout for them to quieten down but no one can hear you. You scream for them to go away, to leave you to examine the exhibit in peace but they don’t move. It’s overcrowded. It’s noisy. And it’s chaos.”
Another extract from my attempts to journal how I was feeling. In my mind there are thousands of objects, things we would call memories. The people I talk about are the thoughts that assail me. Whatever I’m thinking of, thoughts spark off it and get louder and louder and more and more crowded. It’s difficult to quieten them, which can prove problematic. Pressed into the crowd of thoughts as I am, it often makes it hard for me to get out of my head and enjoy what I’m doing at the time.
Am I Alone in This?
From chatting with others who go through similar experiences, it seems to be a recurring problem. So overwhelmed by thoughts, it’s hard to find enjoyment in things because you’re constantly worrying or doubting or fearful. Those thoughts sap that enjoyment and, consequently, leech the desire to do anything. It plays a big part in why I ended up isolating myself, working hand-in-hand with the choices I mention in Aspects of Choice.
On the whole, I frequently feel trapped in my own head.
That concludes this part of Inside My Head. In part 3, I take my first look at self-worth. Really, you shouldn’t be surprised by now that I’ve struggled with that, but if you are then you may want to take a look. I did, however, feel it was too big a topic to cover in one post, therefore I’ve split it into two parts: part 3 of Inside My Head and part 4. Why not check them out?
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