Consequences Of Being Busy

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Despite the consequence of being busy, I’m a go-getter, I love being on the go from the time I get up until night falls and it’s time to retire for the day. For many years I thought this was a great character trait to have because society has whispered it in our ears for who knows how long. But is it really true? Can being on a relentless, task-driven, Tasmanian devil-like whirlwind really be that great of a thing? What about those with mental illness? Similarly, is it proper to assume that, like cars coming off an assembly line that we are all designed to operate at the same speed and perform to the same capabilities as others?

Looking back at my own story, I can see how I folded right into this notion that busy is best. In fact, I assimilated it into part of my identity; not ever once thinking of the repercussions to my overall health, let alone that of my mental health. I am very sad to say that I paid a huge price for this societal driven expectation. Like the eroding shoreline, worn by the waves, my mental and physical health slowly but steadily began to wear down; the tragic consequence of towing the cultural line was a gradual metamorphosis that moulded me into a person I didn’t recognize. 

As I slugged along trying to take on the everyday workings of life and comply with a number of other unwritten rules, you know the ones, buying a house, having kids, and work, work and more working, I felt as though I was a former runner who had taken the sport up again after taking ten years off. About half-way through the race of my young adult life, I pushed myself too far and relented to this unknown person I became. Who was this exhausted, frightened, sad and anxious fella I had become? This wasn’t me! Or was it? stress and mental health – The consequences of being busy

Perhaps life had sculpted me into my reality, unmasked the real self, the me that I had hidden from the outside world because my true self went against convention. In doing so, I exacerbated my underlying and unknown mental illnesses. I wanted to create, write, and help others in my own ways. By allowing social norms to hold me back, I put all my passions on the back burner and as a result, my passionate light began to dim and the illnesses grew in strength. They became such a force that they paused my world and left me a bystander to the world as it passed me by.

Fortunately, my long battle has taught me some very painful yet very valuable lessons. Despite this very rough road I’ve travelled, I have to say that I am very grateful for the ride because it has forced me into a place where I had little choice but to make friends with my demons, gather my internal strength, and seek out reasons for the changes in me. I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Now, I have given myself permission to learn and stay within the limits that my illnesses allow, I am getting quite good at recognizing when I’ve reached my threshold and work hard to stay within those tolerances. Now as I strive to get better, maybe my upper limit will increase and I will be able to take on a bit more. That’s the goal. Knowing my limits has saved my life.

Maybe you’re not cut out to obey what society dictates for you. Maybe you are driven by your mental health and are simply avoiding your solution and thus impeding your chance to find you’re happy. So, are you happily keeping yourself busy, or hiding, not only from the world around you but also running around in circles, trying to hide from YOU? I would hazard a guess that it’s all the above.

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