Sitting still but itching to move.
Squirming but wishing I could sit still.
Legs bouncing, drawing eyes, causing irritation.
I pace back and forth at the bus stop like a night watchman. I can’t stand silent like the others.
I lean forward placing all the weight on one foot while spinning my ankle. It goes on for hours. One day I’ll drill my big toe through to the basement.
My mind longs to be here but jumps from there to there and there and back again. I’ll think about the moment from before later and fail to be present then as well.
I feel RESTLESS.
I ride my bike, typically as hard as I can for as long as I can. I get home drained. The restless energy inside is gone… for a while. It’ll come back but for now, it’s a relief.
Showers are calming. There’s nowhere else to be and there’s a freedom in that. I give into the sound of the water and I forget about being anywhere but here.
In the morning, I meditate. At first, I’m barraged with thoughts but focusing on breathing robs the voices of their volume and slowly the noise departs.
Sometimes the restlessness is too much to handle. I want to jump out of my skin. I try to remember the habits that help me manage – cycling, meditation, even the showers… and I look forward to the windows of calm they bring, however brief they may be.
I try to remember that this sometimes relentless internal energy can drive me to complete tasks that bring me pride…
… even if I’m squirming in my seat the whole time I’m doing so.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Harbridge has been the Digital Communications Specialist with CMHA Kelowna since January 2020. He is a mental health advocate who has lived experience with mental illness. He is also an advocate for equity in professional sports.