This is going to be a much more personal post than I’m used to writing. And it may not even make much sense. I’m finding it hard to string a coherent thought together at the moment, but I wanted to write this because I may not post again for a while. Daydreaming has been my lifeline in the last few days – if I wasn’t a daydreamer, I’d be in a much darker place than I am now.
A week ago, real life caught up with me. Nothing to do with my daydreaming. I’ve been under a lot of stress for a while, from various sources both at home and at work. I knew I was heading for burnout, but I thought if I just kept pushing through, things would eventually get better. And then one day last week I couldn’t push through any more. And something in me broke. Something in me died. And I’m still trying to figure out what’s left, and what I’m going to do with it.
Previous generations would have described what’s happened to me as a nervous breakdown. But apparently we don’t use that terminology any more. So I’m left without the words to describe an experience that I know is going to change my life.
I’ve been signed off work for a month, but I already know in my heart that I’ll never be able to go back to that job. I was there for seventeen years, and I walked away overnight. I’m in the process of contacting therapists, in the hope of finding someone who can help me figure out where I go from here. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband, who has stepped up and supported me despite having his own stresses right now.
But in the week where everything fell apart, my daydreaming saved me. In two ways.
First, my alter ego is still intact. I have no idea who I am in real life any more. So much of the person I used to be is gone and I have no idea who I’m going to be a year from now, or even a month from now. But in my daydreams I’m still that same courageous, brilliant, energetic, loving woman I’ve always been. She’s not going anywhere. She’s my anchor, my one remaining sense of self. And she’ll guide me as I rebuild. I think I’ll come back stronger because she’s inspiring me.
And second, I still have my characters. They haven’t gone anywhere either. My daydream partner and my daydream mentor have been at my side constantly for the last week. They’re helping me figure out what to do. They’re keeping me safe when reality feels like a scary place to be. They’re giving me gentle course corrections when my thinking gets muddled and irrational. I honestly don’t think I would have survived the last week without them.
Yesterday, I asked my daydream mentor to help me figure out the first step in my healing journey. And what he told me was “It’s not a healing journey, it’s a learning journey”. I’m not sure what he meant by that, but I think he’s right.
I hope I’ll be able to come back to this blog again in a few months. I think I’m about to learn a lot about myself, and about how my daydreaming shapes who I am. I hope I’m going to have so much more to say. Until then I’m going to rest, and learn, and discover and grow and heal.