So yesterday, I had a bit of a breakdown at work. I wound up calling a crisis counselling hotline, and before I go further with this topic, I’ll say that those services are invaluable if you’re dealing with mental illness, stress, or anything that’s got you in a poor state of mind. The TAY IRC is always willing to listen, as well.

But anyway. After talking with this counselling hotline, my mom, and my fiance, I realized a lot about myself. I’ve been saying for a few weeks that I have an inner Krogan... And I do. Just like Urdnot Wrex and his species, I love a good fight, and I have a strong inner urge to hit things and break things, or stir up conflict, or other combative activities. But as I mature and as I think more and more about it, I’m coming to understand that that’s a natual part of who I am.

Now, let me qualify that a bit - I don’t hit people, especially not loved ones, and I’m not the type to start breaking walls and furniture. We’re talking more about an inner ferocity with some focus to it, not blind, senseless rage. When I was a kid though, I fought back. And it’s the way the school addressed it that fucked me up. And I strongly feel that’s where my anxiety stems.

See, whenever I got angry, it was like I’d commited a cardinal sin. Whenever I fought back against bullies that beat the shit out of me, I’d be reprimanded. I spent large portions of the school year at home, in the office, or locked in a room with nothing but a desk and my schoolwork. And I think it really fucked me up. Instead of finding an outlet to express my rage, I was basically conditioned to believe that I was broken, that what came to me naturally was wrong, and dirty, and something that should be locked away.

At age 25, in my professional life, that rage is still there. But due to the education system, it’s become self-inflicted; instead of expressing myself, I hurt myself. Either in angry, self-directed thoughts, or little tics like smacking myself in the head or something that otherwise causes pain. And last night, it got so bad that I was contemplating suicide. (But seriously, those crisis counselling lines are fantastic).

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I did some heavy thinking, and I came to the conclusion that I need to find an outlet, and fast. I keep coming back to martial arts - I really want to hit things. I mean. There’s no eloquent way to phrase that. I want to hit things with my fists. When I get really wound up and anxious, that’s what my body tells me I need to do. You know, if I could just hit a punching bag until my fists go numb, it would help me get over the inner pain; help me focus on something logical and tangible.

I know, I’m probably scaring a few people. I run completely contrary to the education system’s narrative - the “zero tolerance”, stand in line or be cast out narrative. But I’ve been to anger management. I’ve been to counselling. These things are not helping me; they’re telling me that what I feel is wrong. But in my heart of hearts, this feels RIGHT. I don’t think I’m broken, just different. And I’m okay with that.

My task now is to take my rage, point it away from myself, and focus it on more constructive pursuits. I want to use that energy to work through my past, to push through difficult tasks in the present. And I will. Tomorrow’s a stat holiday, so I’ll start looking very soon.

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So what about you, TAY? Do you have any stories to share? Any struggles with mental illness? Any effective outlets you’ve found to manage your darker emotions? Let me know in the comments below.