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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

The Future Is Not Guaranteed

Thinking about the future is still so strange. I woke up, kind of. I was half awake and half asleep. And my mind drifted to the thought of fitness, health and body shape. As I pondered if I would be happy with the way I looked in the future. Considering if I will look different in the future. So much has happened in the last 5, 10, even 15 years. What could happen in the next 5 or 10… or 15 years?

**Trigger warning: This post includes reference to depression, self harm, suicidal thinking and thoughts of being attacked.**

I reflect on how much I’ve changed in my mind and in my body as an adult in that time. My mind felt in this kind of cloud environment high up in the sky. If you’ve ever been on a plane, you may know the moment you are above the clouds and everything is so clear, with the clouds acting as some kind of buffer between you and the world.

Though I didn’t quite have that clarity, as my mind slowly and somehow also suddenly shifts. It was like rather than being on a lovely plan ride, I was jumping from one thought cloud to another. Between jumps just momentarily seeing a promise of the beautiful view, only to be left scrabbling to or from the next cloud of worries and doubts.

That first cloud was my difficultly with my own body image and how I feel about my body. The jump and view of the horizon as I was above and between clouds was thinking about the future and possible changes, gym exercises, clothes, workload, lifestyle (it’s sounds a bit chaotic, but this was actually the calm happier bit).

Then I was reacquainted with that cloud I knew well. That depressive cloud. The one that told me to remember, you might not be here for that. My mind almost mocking me for a moment as I scrabbled on that cloud.

You think you’re going to be here in 5, 10, 15 years?! Have you forgotten? I can take all that away. You can have nothing, this can be over.

Maybe this voice never went, that’s why I spend so much of my time running from task to task or making sure there is always some sound. Be that the radio, tv, music whatever. I just can’t be left with this voice, with me; the one that reminds me this could go.

In the nicest possible way, it felt worse than before. I feel like I have so much more to lose now. With Laura I see a future, I think about what we might do, where we might be in the future. But like someone using binoculars or a telescope to see far into the distance, I am left vulnerable to the dangers nearby. The danger that while I’m looking at 15 years from now, I might not even make it to next year.

As I worry about my own life ending, I find myself on a new cloud of despair as I am reminded how much I fear someone else physically attacking me and taking my life. It may sound like a strange and slightly random jump; but it’s an obvious one in my cloud brain.

While I battle those demons against self destruction, a long and difficult battle. I am once again left vulnerable to attack, by someone, by anyone. Who they are doesn’t matter, it’s the thought of the decision to end my life being taken from me. Someone else making that decision, the threat of that action both scares and angers me.

The thought that I could do all this work, make all this effort, battle all these demons and survive all this cloud jumping and someone else could just wipe that out.

I realise this maybe an irrational fear, but that doesn't always help. Or well, sometimes it does, but it’s still there. Sometimes I am less aware of it, but it’s still there.

My experience with my mind tells me this will pass and yet still remain. My noisy unhappiness about my body, my worries about being attacked, my depression and self harm thoughts will quieten. They will return to the background noise soon.

And I will continue to be mindful of their existence. That I need to keep myself aware and safe from them and the clouds they bring.


If you are reading this, I hope you are well and thank you for being part of Open Journal.

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