Living in the Plain

For 15 years I have tried fruitlessly to come up with some way of describing my mind, moods, and general outlook on life.

This weekend I had a… I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, but a moment (rare moment) of slight clarity.

I don’t know where the image came from but picture if you will a plain, similar to the Serengeti. Wide, open spaces, with a lot of nothingness in between points of slight interest: a tree, a patch of grass, maybe a watering hole.

And to one side of this plain, is a mountain range; beautiful soaring mountains some that roll gently as foothills, others that reach beyond the cloud level, snow capped peaks that landscape photographers love.

But this plain also has something a bit less inviting. Picture the landscape around the Grand Canyon, and the Canyon itself. That’s what lies in this land that is my mind and my mood.

Vast, deep canyons. Some that aren’t visible until it’s too late and you’ve fallen off the edge. Some that you can see with impending doom.

Cos it seems to me that I’m somehow stuck on a path that is the equivalent of train tracks; an unerring path that takes in the foothills, the mountains, vast areas of the plain and these terrible areas where the earth has fallen away from itself.

The foothills are great. Small peaks of good mood that are climable in one day. The mountains can be exhilarating and just a little unnerving (although some of the previous behaviours I have exhibited during such periods of high mood I seem to have curtailed somewhat. It seems limited to periods of productivity at home and work and not fast driving and high spending.)

The canyons are, predictably, horrific. Not so much the ones that take me by surprise. But the ones that I can see coming and feel absolutely powerless to do anything to avoid them.

But at least during the periods on the hills and in the canyons I feel something.

I feel the good mood and the satisfaction of getting things done, and communicating to people around me in meaningful ways. I can feel the gut-wrenching sadness, and the tears.

The worst for me is the plain.

It is just that: plain. I don’t feel anything.

I should feel something. But I don’t. But I wonder if this is how everyone lives. Bouncing from one meaningful event, feeling nothing from day to day. Maybe it’s why adrenaline junkies do what they do: to feel something. Maybe it’s why people self-harm: to feel something.

All I can hope for is one of the points of slight interest in the middle of the plain is a cave, that I can hide out in for a while and be a complete misery on my own without affecting others around me.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t actually work like that and there are others around me, whose lives and moods I do impact on. And for that I will always be sorry.

It’s a plain life at the minute.


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