This past Friday I experienced a life-changing event. Almost a week later I am still attempting to define what it was. My daily commute to work carries me through the heart of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. On a normal day (if there is such) my travel is roughly an hour and a half each way. Friday was different -- there was a traffic accident and it took an extra hour to get to work. And, I might add, returning home was an extra hour as well.
During my morning commute last Friday many, many thoughts crossed my mind. As traffic came to a complete halt, the "what if's" crossed my mind. What if a crazed person just suddenly got out of his/her vehicle and started randomly shooting? What if a terrorist attack descended on Orlando at the very moment traffic was locked down? What if I just called my boss and said forget it, I can't take this anymore? Then suddenly, as if something hit me, I wondered, why am I having these thoughts? Where are they coming from?
My mind start tracing back to three months ago when I began to advocate for mental illness, the time when I had not a clue as to why I sensed an urgent need to bring awareness to a cause that so many had overlooked. In that moment I wondered, what are the phases of going through a mental challenge, how does it happen? How would a person recognize the symptoms? Is it a culmination of so many thoughts that one just become consumed with? What brings on depression, is it a series of thoughts, events, actions, just what is it, I wondered?
In that very moment, l then realized how much I needed a change. It became crystal clear that my commute was invoking too much of a thought process. That it was beyond just a normal ride to work. But then, what is normal about commuting 80 one way to work? What happened to the "work/life balance" that people thrive to achieve? Sitting in the middle of gridlock, in downtown Orlando, just beyond Disney (the happiest place on earth), I decided that with the coming of the new year I will seek new employment. It occurred to me that my commute, although l love my work, was really a problem.
But then, there is something that I haven't settled yet. You see, almost a week later I am not sure if I experienced a mental health episode or if I had a mental awareness epiphany. Whichever it was, l am excited that at the most awkward moment, in a most uncommon manner, I could make such a profound life decision.