Social media is often deemed to be a highlighted media reel of a person’s life. The best photos. The best lighting. The best stage. The best of everything. The digital projections of our perfect selves, hiding the reality of what lies under the surface.
I’ve talked before about my journey with anxiety (most people talk about anxiety being a battle but I don’t like looking at it like that these days). You see, my anxiety follows a pattern. I know when mine is likely to hit and where most of it comes from. Once you understand the root is often easier to deal with.
For me, I ride what I call the creative rollercoaster. I think a lot of people do the same they just never quite figure out they do or why it happens. It’s a ride full of twists and turns and huge highs and big lows.
“Everything that goes up must come down”
When I’m immersed in a big stage, international, everything on the line kind of event two things happen to me.
1: I get pumped. Adrenaline fizzes through me. I get super focused and can’t think about much else.
2: The standard of my work goes way up! I start being about to push my creative boundaries and am able to create images I’m really really proud of. Gallery wall kind of work.
I love it.
I’m riding the big high point of the rollercoaster. Heading for the big long climb that leaves you nervous and shaking with excitement. You hit that pinnacle and the world seems to stop for a heartbeat. It’s the best of life encapsulated in a moment.
But then you come crashing back down. You rush for the ground in a terrifying dive gathering speed every second. The world around you seems close in and distort and you don’t feel in control anymore.
After a high there’s always a crash back down. Sometimes they’re easier to deal with and navigate. Other times they take a while to come out of the spin and return to the normal ways of life. These crashes can leave me wanting to shut the world away, remove social media from my phone and hide in the darkness. I want to sleep for days and eat junk, feeding the descent. My routine goes to hell and I stop looking after myself. I cling on, eyes shut feeling my way through the ride hoping it levels out soon.
Eventually I always come out of the downhill run of the rollercoaster. I start climbing again and start pulling up. My routine gets better. My focus comes back. The world around me seems more welcoming and positive things start happening again. For me, navigating is a mixture of waiting it out, having faith in moving forward a little each day and trying to get back into a good routine. If I can do those things, I always come back to a sense of normalcy.
It might be a sucky ride sometimes when you’re at the bottom. But the highs are great. And the views from the top well worth it. So I keep riding.