“futile” – adjective, incapable of producing any useful result; pointless.
If you were to look at a fan’s blades long enough and focus on the individual blades rather than the blur that they become, you start to see a chase. Each blade seems to relentlessly chase the one before it, around and around and around, with no hope of ever catching it. This futile chase is how I often feel with my own head.
I have recently experienced “blackouts” of some kind and lost minutes of my life, of important events and decisions because of these and often notice that my head seems to wander away without me as though it is independent of me and often won’t come back, despite my calls, until it is ready to do so. This is how the idea of a “chase” applies to me literally, however the element I want to discuss in this post is the more metaphorical chase I endure.
I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about their feelings and very easily fell into that same routine and felt that that was the routine I was meant for. Emotions confused me and I am often easily overwhelmed by them so to me, for a very long time, my natural response to feeling something was to ignore it or run away. This is a method that worked (not really, I have serious psychological issues that are probably half caused by these habits) for my almost very situation in my life until recently when something changed in my life that requires me to be able to access and process those feelings. This doesn’t go well.
The problem is not that I don’t want to talk about these feelings, it literally boils down, most of the time, to the fact that I actually can’t. I recently got into a reasonably heated argument with someone because of frustration with myself that somehow manifested itself into pure anger. When I tried to access why I was angry, what I was angry about, what exactly had triggered my anger, I could not find an answer. These sort of situations lead to anger on both sides unfortunately and this meant that I was experiencing a lot of different emotions all at the same time, all of them very strong, but didn’t know how to handle them or how to begin to understand what they even were. This didn’t go well either and I ended up a crying mess under my duvet.
Essentially what happens is that I will be absolutely fine, in neutral, slightly numb or “switched off” even and then suddenly, often for no reason I can sense, it changes and I’m furious or heartbroken or a combination of several things at once and I will lash out to try to show that I’m feeling this way. When I then get asked what has happened to make me this way I have to chase after that feeling, running and spinning to catch it, to feel it, to try to name it as something that I can identify but, like those fan blades, it evades me relentlessly.
This is a cause of serious frustration for both me and people on the receiving end of this outburst. More often than not, the outburst is directly caused by my own frustration at not being able to handle the emotions and all it ever seems to end in now is tears or exhaustion or one of my bad habits and, hopefully, eventually sleep. I recently completely lost my head over a small comment made by someone close to me and it escalated to a point where I was upset and angry and annoyed at things that really didn;t even matter. It kept escalating though because no matter how much I struggled and waded through the murkiest, swampiest parts of my head, I could not figure out what was happening. I had walked into the middle of a war with no weapons and no armour and there were bullets skimming the water around me, shouts and cries of pain echoing through the mist and figures were looming and disappearing as I stumbled. All I felt was absolute chaos and all I could feel was the pressure to search, to chase, to find and to fix.
I ended up wounded and was only dragged out in the end by my tears and someone else’s “bitchy” patience for the mess that I am. The endeavour was futile. Looking back now, a full day later, I still don’t know what pushed me or what exactly it was I was feeling. One day I hope to be able to identify my feelings, to be able to pull out a label and stick it on, preferably with superglue so that the next time I stumble into it there’s a glaring yellow post-it note saying “You’re angry right now.” so that I can begin to put together some idea of how to fix it.
Right now I’m going to start with trying to not run away, I’m going to keep dragging myself through that swamp and hope that I get better at dodging bullets.
[Enjoy: Is There Somewhere, Halsey // Sign of the Times, Harry Styles // Happier, Ed Sheeran.]