It returned. It crept up on me, in a period of nothingness - the transitionary lull between New Year and the Dreaded Return to University. I suppose I had been expecting it, in a subconscious, repressed-but-reluctantly-accepting way, yet it still felt like it hit at completely the wrong time. I’d have anticipated a post-Christmas ache, a stab of ‘everyone-is-having-a-better-time-than-me’. Yet, it let itself in, unannounced, on a very uninspiring Saturday afternoon at the beginning of January, which had been marked out as A Session Of Essay Productivity - The Moment In Which I Would Finally Start Applying Myself. No prizes for guessing that this plan went straight out the window as soon as doubting thoughts started creeping in, ensuring plenty of brain space was cleared for the countless hours that ensued with my thoughts fixated solely on the return of that unnerving, deep-seated fear. A fear which had previously sent minor shockwaves, instigated tiny setbacks and intensified pre-existing insecurities; a fear which returned in battalions, ensuring my entire being was consumed and filled with the enormity of it - of The Unknown.

Throughout my eating disorder, the unknown had felt controllable; I’d achieved a set of exam results which enabled me to apply to the Universities I’d always dreamt of, I believed myself to have a strong support network and fully expected that, as a result, anything I sought in the future was going to be straightforward to gain - with relatively little required in the way of effort. But fast-forwards four years and things ‘post-recovery’ are very different. The Unknown is now far more terrifying to me than I could ever have imagined, and on this particular afternoon it crippled my mind and body completely. I stumbled upon the deeply troubling conclusion that I had no idea what I was doing with my life, what I wanted to do with my life or where to look - or even start - when trying to achieve change. Yet, I knew for certain that I was dissatisfied with my life, and couldn’t fathom the thought of continuing to exist as I was; I could so easily identify the multitude of sadnesses in my soul, the ache for friendships and stability and a few moments of true tranquility but knew that my issues were copious, multi-faceted and mostly so deeply ingrained that they had become background noise, making them all the more difficult to confront. What do you do when you can’t face the present, but have no vision of the future or the possible pathways you can take? You become frozen with fear of The Unknown - fear of stagnancy, of burdening others with your uncertainty and your lack of ‘drive’. You shed tears of frustration at your own mediocrity, at the lack of guidance in your life and the need for answers - but from where? You sit, as I am doing now, trying to write down a coherent description of the pain you feel, the desperation and the hollow depths of fear. But even that is not enough. Nothing is ever enough. #MentalHealth #Fear #rambling #Stagnancy