I showed Fionnuala, my wife, the mindmap I’ve created for my latest book, which is being sent to my publisher this weekend. It’s a mish-mash of dense, barely legible handwritten notes traversed with arrows, squiggles and various other bizarre markings. She took one look at it and declared it was ‘the ramblings of a madman.’ I think that’s possibly the nicest thing she’s ever said to me in the 25 years we’ve been together.
I get the mad bit and I’ve spent much of my adult life thinking I’m a ‘madman.’ I’ve always been a bit odd and often think my brain is hardwired slightly differently from the rest of the world. It was only when I was diagnosed with OCD that I realised there was a reason for the dark and peculiar thoughts that traversed my mental pathways. That’s when I began to recognise this perceived weakness as a potential strength.
I always felt I was on the outside looking in but then stopped and took in my surroundings. The outside is a less crowded place and it allowed me the time and space to create. I started to write and found I was half decent at it. I saw a clear pathway to where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. As opposed to rambling and meandering, I was suddenly supplied with direction and focus. I had to step off the beaten path to find the road I was destined to travel.
My mind used to be a hostile, alien landscape where I feared to tread. There were no signposts and I rarely knew where I was headed. I was a loose cannon, a wrecking ball of anxiety and indecision, destined to fail at whatever my latest ‘great idea’ happened to be; I was the master of my own demise. It was only when my eyes were opened to who I truly was that I began to tentatively feel my way towards a sense of self-acceptance and calm.
So, I may still be a ‘madman’ to some but I no longer ramble. I step forward now with purpose and intent. Niggles of self-doubt might still rear their ugly heads from time to time, but my days of wandering aimlessly are long gone. What’s more, you can do the same. Take that first step today. If you need to get help, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it. Walk your path. Start your journey. Today.