This blog's for ME

Almost 25 years old, asking my parents if I can sleep in their bed with them. I had thought I was going to be the 25th Prime Minister of Canada. Things had changed. 10 years later, I was still a scared little boy. The time had come to slap myself awake. One Saturday morning, November 19th, 2009, I declared to the world I would be riding my 10 year-old motorcycle from Vancouver, BC Canada to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and back.

The official departure was August 28th, 2010. A group of well-wishers saw me off at 8:03 am.

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro around 6 pm March 1st, 2011.



My return to Vancouver came on July 5th, 2011 about 2:00 pm.

Drug & alcohol abuse, ADD, social anxiety, health, chronic pain, night terrors.

So many concerns. But I am far more interested in this question: Do I have the capacity to make this trip despite all my shortcomings?

My mission: To inspire myself to face my fears, enlighten myself on how all living things can peacefully co-exist, enjoy every moment, and see the world as plentiful and generous.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. Call me anything you like.

I'm out to save my world.



I LOVE YOU ALL



Questions, comments, concerns, threats? Contact me: jason.chapman99@gmail.com


Falling Down

Its Day 5 back at my parent's home, and I am getting a bit of relief writing, even if it is only for a short time. I even got a shiver down my spine. (That happens when I am suddenly filled with good feelings)

I haven't written much for awhile, as I had been riding hard for 14 days straight, and when I returned, I think I was avoiding facing myself, and thats what brought me here.

I had been feverishly reading, and working on the farm under the assumption that I needed to use the time wisely here. What was really happening was a desperate effort to stave off a melt down.

I woke up this morning a bit off, but nothing serious. Then, I started noticing some tension, then a flurry of thoughts hit me like a freight train. "Why dont you want to go in for coffee and meet with people?" "You're never going to be anything if you don't want to meet with people!" "You're going to be trapped in this state forever!" "You're never going to get better!" "You're always going to be a loser!" "You're never going to find out what's wrong with you!" "The trip was a complete waste!" "You were in your head for 9 months!" "You did it wrong!" "What made you ever think you could do this?" "You will never find love!" "You will be alone!" The thoughts were screaming at me, and I couldnt get away. There were no distractions out on the farm here, and I was facing off with my mind, a mind that was doing everything possible to make things worse.

I realize now my mind was just trying to distract me, somehow desperately avoiding coming face to face with some unimaginably uncomfortable situation. It was physically uncomfortable, as if my nervous system was all jittery. It was probably an adrenalin response, a physical reaction to the unsettling thoughts. I told my mom what was going on and I felt a bit of a release, and my eyes started to tear up. It was if my life was suddenly hopeless, and I was trapped to live in a constant state of fear, and anxiety for the rest of my life.

My theory on how anxiety is created is a combination of many things, but to simplify, it is the unique combination of a child's makeup, and a parent's makeup, and how they intertwine. In my example, my parents were two loving yet somewhat strict and uncommunicative at times. I was a super sensitive child craving assurance, and outward showings of love. I also was a big day dreamer who had a brain constantly on the move. I went on to somehow do well in school, and moved onto university, but by the time I ended up in a sales job in a new city, the constant uncertainty developed into a severe anxiety. My brain said "that ought to keep Jason from doing the things that scare me". But Jason was ambitious. He wanted to contribute. He wanted to feel free. He wanted to help, and feel connected with others. He wanted to love, and be loved. So, he set out on a path of discovery that started in 1996 and continues today.

I had just read about the symptoms of a panic attack, and think that I experienced something similar. Either way, the important part here is to face whatever is coming. Face it down. What am I talking about? Face what down? This experience is akin to being lost at sea in 30 foot waves with nothing to hold onto. There's nothing that can be done about it! Ok, take vitamin Bs like my mother said. But what do you do when the thing that controls everything in your body tells you you are not good enough? The brain can effect every cell from head to toe, and create all kinds of uncomfortable feelings to get its point across. My brain was in a panic mode, doing all sorts of things to somehow 'right the ship'. So, what could I have done in that instance?

Well, what not to do? Don't try and fight it, or ignore it or distract from it. Dont try and reason with it. The brain is in full fight or flight mode, and it cannot be reasoned with.

I think the best image to bear in my mind would be holding on firmly but confidently and in a relaxed manner. I am picturing a gentle feminine spirit, on a large boat, amidst a violent storm. She is holding on to a golden railing, with a relaxed and calm facial expression, one might say even a peaceful joy. Meanwhile, the storm is bringing rain, and wind and turbulent, chaotic seas, but she knows the storm is going to pass. She knows theres nothing that can be done about it, nothing that needs to be done about it, so she might as well just hold on, gracefully and confidently. This feminine spirit is actually enjoying the ride, and marvelling at the raw power of nature. it is crucial that this image be created in such a way that it invokes this grace, and not one of white-knuckling through it, because the same, specific process is needed to come through a spell of anxiety.

You know, I guess I was disappointed at how fast the memory of my journey faded. I am glad I kept a journal here. Perhaps I am only disappointed that my inner life is still not perfect. But, the work continues, and what I learned today, and remembered from a thousand year old memory, was that my life doesnt have to fall apart anymore. I just had a memory from early on in my journey with anxiety of when I was out in a park with my friend Lisa, and it was all I could do to stay in one piece. But, I learned I could pull myself out of it just by touching something tactile. Really feeling the rough sides of that wooden post, and letting the sensations break the pattern of my inner flagellations.

The unique challenge about anxiety is that it can stay with you all day, and all night, and all week. Even longer. My type of personality is one that likes to figure things out, have the answers, get to the bottom of it. So, when my mind and body start getting into extremely uncomfortable territory, I want to keep going and delve into finding an answer. "What do I need to do?" "What is the answer?" "What is the best way?" But, this is like trying to solve a complex mathematical equation while underwater being attacked by a great white shark. No, its not an exaggeration. They would both be equally unproductive. I can't ignore it, but I can't try and fix it. But taking a breather to get through it, and having something to engage with in the external world, thats a step in the right direction.


I eventually made a compromise with my mom and told her I would meet her at the grocery store after.

2 comments:

  1. That sounds so familiar. Thank you for sharing a deeply personal story.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you made it home safely!!! My wife and I met you on I-135 in Kansas when your bike was acting up and you bought a bottle of carb/fuel injector cleaner for it.
    After reading your blog here, just thought I'd suggest you read the book of Ecclesiastes in the bible, written by King Solomon. The first 11 chapters seem to be real downers but in the 12 chapter he concludes that we need to fear God and obey his commandments, and that without knowing the Creator, (God/Jesus), all is meaningless. Hope you still have that little Gods Promise book I gave to you.
    Blessings,
    LeeRoy

    ReplyDelete

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