It’s hard to wait for things, especially if you know they’re coming. You can get antsy and nervous. Your mind can go to some crazy places jumping from one possible outcome to the next. There’s not shortage of things that can happen to you while waiting for something. I tend not to wait, and it’s bitten me in the ass quite a few times.
The most recent time was when I moved across the country in early 2017. Just out of college, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I had fallen in love with screenwriting my last two years in college and decided I’d at least try and pursue that. To me, this meant that I had to go to the one place where everything in the film industry happens: Los Angeles. At least, that’s what I was told.
There were a number of things I didn’t take into account when moving and as a result, after one month in LA I realized that this was not the place I wanted to spend my 20s. This didn’t meant that I didn’t want to pursue screenwriting anymore; I absolutely do, and writing screenplays still gives me a joy unlike any other. But in doing so, I ignored a number of things that were extremely important.
One of the most important things I neglected to take care of was my mental health. Since I was doing relatively well, I didn’t think about the impact that this seismic shift would have on my mental state. And it did not go well…to say the least. I had panic attacks every day, often to the point of becoming numb in my fingers and toes. I couldn’t think straight, see straight, and was not excited to explore this new place like I have been for every other new place I’ve been to in my life. So I left and moved home, because I didn’t know what else to do.
I don’t regret going; I got a feel for the city and understood what it would take for me to succeed in that town. But I wasn’t ready. And now, I’m doing better than I have been in a long while. I took care of myself and put myself first, even though it meant that I had to put some things on hold.
But this journey also reminded me of a few other dreams (namely, teaching English in Europe) I have that living in Los Angeles would not have allowed me to do. I’m working toward some of those dreams now but the thing is, they also require some waiting. So now I have gone from making my future happen to waiting on my future to happen.
What does this have to do with mental health? Sometimes when you’re depressed or especially anxious, you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for the sadness to stop. Waiting for your mind to be at ease. But you don’t always know when, or how, it’s going to come. It makes some people (like me) hate waiting. But sometimes, waiting is exactly what you need. It helps you prepare for the good things about to come. Maybe you think that you’re not waiting for anything, that you’re just getting by day by day…but on the other hand, good things come to those who wait, right?
While I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the waiting, if you’ve got some good tips on patience and waiting in life I would love to hear them!