Where the Hell’s the Map to Find Yourself?

My riding buddies.

It’s been a year now that I’ve been a stranger to myself. Through these twelve months, there was progress made, backslides, torment, self-loathing and a complete lack of understanding about the things I thought I was certain about.

That’s the funny thing about understanding. When you get too confident, too cocky, the bottom can drop out. Complacency is where I fall apart. If I don’t keep moving like a shark, if I don’t stay alert, failure comes stealthily creeping, low like a fog. It expands to embrace me and squeeze out the light.

This week I realized that I’ve completely lost sight of any personal power that I might’ve possessed. I am a ghost to myself. I don’t know who I am, what I like, my worth, the things I value or appreciate about myself, or even what I’m good at.

Those things must all be in here somewhere. I just can’t locate them in the murk right now.

A year in therapy and I’m more mysterious to myself than ever. My goal, in the beginning, was survival. That’s probably not a surprise if you read any of my posts during the past year. What you might not realize is that I had a complete mental breakdown. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced.

Things reached a catastrophic boiling point where the pain inside my mind was too much to bear. I existed in a state where I knew that I would never feel any better. My existence would be trapped inside a brain that would never stop making destructive words and images at the speed of light. My confused thoughts were, the best way I can describe it is, an unrelenting tornado of fragments. Around and round and round in circles, they’d race and I couldn’t hold on to anything. I’d reach the point where I was babbling 100 miles an hour, talking in loops and repeating myself time and again. My memory was shot, I couldn’t sleep, my stomach was a wreck, I was plagued with panic attacks and I would not stop crying. And this cycle of torment was incessant for a long time. It was terrifying to know that I would never feel anything but this loss of control, that I would have to exist in this mania forever. It was too much to handle. I thought that dying would be the only way to make everything stop. That’s a terrible state to be in. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

So here I am now with the absolute worst year of my life at a close. Am I better? Yes. No. Sometimes.

It seems unlikely that I will ever be the same as when I was “normal.” Something irreparably broke inside of me, taking whatever silliness, laughter and sparkle I had with it. I can’t really tell if I’m numbed out because of the meds I’m on or if I’m still depressed or this is really who I am now. The reason probably doesn’t matter so much. This is where I am regardless of the source.

Everything still hurts. Particularly the feeling of having lost myself and being replaced by an imposter who is much less fun.

I wrote this post on my phone while sitting on a bench in Port Jefferson a couple of Sundays ago. All around me, the world was in motion but I was not partaking. Instead, I closed off and began to type away about being trapped in my self-examination/pity. As my thumbs furiously moved across the screen, the store behind pumped Explosions in the Sky on their radio. In my self-centered view of the world, it felt like it was just for me since they’re a not-so-popular band that I listen to all the time. It became the soundtrack to what I was writing.

That morning when I set out for a ride, I kept repeating to myself “find your power,” over and over in my mind like some kind of mantra. As if I could think it into reality. I’m not really sure where the phrase even came from. Maybe I’m developing another personality. If it turned out to be my cheerleader, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

As I sat on the bench, I glanced up between sentences and watched people walking in the sunshine, smiling. I was plagued with the thought that they knew something about how to be a successful human that I didn’t, and was curious to know how they were able to do it.

I was snapped out of my reverie with the irritated voice of a mother shouting “Dante! Get your mouth OFF the wall!” I heard Dante’s name about 100 more times in a 5-minute span. Maybe no one really has their shit together. Maybe we’re all just yelling and not actually doing fuck-all about anything.

What does all this mean? I haven’t the slightest idea. Maybe I’m not supposed to. Or maybe I do know and I’m just not listening. Maybe I’m Dante.


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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8 Responses

  1. Dookes says:

    I’m still looking for the map of life, can’t find it after 60 years!!!!

  2. Darrin says:

    What if….
    The question that can never truely be answered and yet, our brain can’t stop dwelling on it. I think that was the genetic defect that created humanity.

  3. Kathy says:

    I think your honesty and ability to touch people’s lives in a positive way, even with dark topics like this, is part of your power. I’m glad you’re still here.

  4. Mike says:

    I’ve not been in your dark place but I’ve been in some cloudy shit believe me. My way “out” is to literally stop the cycle of thoughts and merely be grateful for SOMETHING in that very moment. Not one moment before, not one moment in the future. Maybe the sunshine, maybe just a bit of my fav’ food, a song….something. Each day is a new, blank page. Start yours with a smile (even if faked for that moment) and a grateful feeling for (fill in the blank). Life is nothing more than a great many moments – strung together.

  5. Shybiker says:

    I’m sorry, dear. Truly. Best wishes for continued insight and confidence.

  6. David Masse says:

    Most of us need help to live our lives. We need other people to lean on, who lean on us. Losing our self supporting the other is a way to find our place. Like a brick in a wall.

  7. Jason says:

    We can only be the person we are in the present. Have faith in the fact that you have changed and that you will continue to change. And always invest in yourself, especially when it seems like you’re throwing your “money” away.

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