I recently came across this phrase in a book I read: “Should she be rent by this anxiety?” and maybe the author didn’t intend it in the way of renting a house, but it just inspired me all of a sudden, because aren’t the symptoms of mental health a lot like paying rent to a house you don’t want to live in? It just entirely summed up the feeling for me, of being stuck in a commitment you never chose to be in and yet having no way out of it. And so I had to write this. Maybe some of you will understand it too.
I’m stuck in this house and I don’t know how to get out. I don’t know how to move and I don’t know how to survive. When you’re stuck in this house, walls are shaking, doors slamming on good thoughts and it’s hard to stay sane. It’s like I’m paying rent to my suffering. It’s like I’m giving up parts of my life to a game.
When I walk through this house sometimes the rooms are nice. They have a TV to keep me distracted and a comfy sofa. The curtains block out the worries and it’s a peaceful space. It’s almost like a home. But then sometimes the rooms aren’t so nice. Sometimes they appear to be and then the walls are stripped bare of wallpaper. The colour goes and the blankness fades in. It becomes an empty vacuum. In that moment, I can’t pay rent in belongings. I don’t have any belongings that are worth enough. The rent is too high now. It’s getting higher. One day I’ll have to give over my entire self.
For now, I’m walking in and out of all these rooms and the doors slam behind me and the chimney howls. The voices from the TV are drowning out my thoughts but not enough to dissolve them. They simmer.
And I keep paying rent. I keep paying rent for a house I don’t want to live in and I’m fed up. I’m fed up. But there’s nothing else I can do. Maybe one day I’ll find a secret doorway and it’ll lead me into the sunshine. Maybe one day I’ll find a way out and I won’t come crawling back. But I guess I’m scared that if I ever leave this house I won’t like it. I don’t like it here but what if I don’t like it there either? What if I end up in a different house and I pay rent to another suffering – grief, heartbreak, anything that life throws this way. Maybe I’ll end up in a house double the size. Maybe I’ll end up with double the rent.
Do I stay and pay the rent or do I go and risk the future?
Or maybe the only way to survive is to buy the house.
And own it.