By now, many of you are familiar with my sidekick Justine. She’s the guilt that controls a fair share of my life, my interactions, and my sleepless nights. Sidekicks apparently have their own labour laws to adhere to, which is why Justine has a fraternal spirit Elyse who, in reality could very well be her identical conjoined twin, but genetics of mental health issues are not for me to sort through.
Elyse is sly. Unlike her counterpart, who throws anvils on my soul, Elyse walks through my brain wearing stilettos; poking holes, and stomping on my thoughts before they can leave the embryonic stages of development. Elyse represents my anxiety. She’s violent, and timid; bold, and yet afraid of her own shadow.
Sometimes, as strange as it may sound, I’m grateful for her presence. Strong anxiety has helped me learn how prepare for many “worst case scenario’ situations, and ironically enough, being prepared, and being able to think ahead actually coxes Elyse to take vacations of her own.
My worst days are when Justine, and Elyse braid their hair together and skip along the pathways in my brain. Like two snakes winding down a road slithering over each other, teasing each other by taking the lead, then retreating back a few paces. Sometimes the outside world perceives these days as me being an incredibly organized, and creative person. I solve problems. I help people. I am generous, caring, and kind.
Inwardly, I know that I’m running on full fight, or flight momentum. I am ON, jumping through hoops to ensure that every worse-case-scenario, and every possible issue is pre-empted. I’m ON ensuring that no one has to struggle, and that everyone’s are met. This is where Justine takes centre stage. While Elyse has me flittering about caring for the universe, Justine burdens me with guilt that maybe I’m doing too much for other people, and not enough for some. Two snakes, tangles on the same path, each with her own intentions, and goals.
Sometimes I get tangled in their tails (tales?!). I stumble over my feet and hold myself back from doing things that I’d like to do. I am too afraid to take the risks that I need to take in order to be happy, and satisfied in my own life. Sometimes I project my anxieties onto others. Those are the times that Justine and Elyse meld into one and celebrate their victory over my mind.
They feed each other like parasites off my mind. They devour my courage, my spontaneity, and my enjoyment. Together, they help me overthink, and replay situations like poorly chosen highlight wheels from crappy movies.
I resort to seeking advice, door-to-door from anyone who will listen, and offer their advice, or opinion. I know I don’t need the words of another to confuse my already highly-trafficked thought process, but once conjoined, the twins create a ora of self-doubt, and insecurity. Validation, and reassurance from outside sources is sometimes a bandaid solution to erupting brain.
On the best of days, I charm the double-headed snake into submission of my control. Harnessing their power, I take charge of my days by creating plans, and organizing my materials. I seek validation, and justification within myself for my actions, and thoughts. I challenge the outpouring of frustration that Justine, and Elyse throw out in protest of my strength.
While those days are sparse on my calendar, I am finding my voice in life. The twins may rent space in my mind, but they do not own the entire property. Eviction isn’t a sustainable method of achieving a healthy balance in life, so I am learning how to square down their living space, without allowing any. more negative boarders access. It’s a challenging process, but a fight that I will not relent.