Man in the Middle - Part 3

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Mental Health Week is a great way to raise awareness of the negative impact anxiety and depression can have on someone. As a person with lived experience of mental health issues, I’m raising awareness by sharing a story I wrote 6 years ago about a guy called Brad.

If you’ve missed the first two instalments, then please follow these links;

Man-in-the-middle-Part 1

Man-in-the-middle-Part 2

Man In The Middle - Part 3

Brad showered, dried himself off and threw on jeans and a tee-shirt in what appeared break-neck speed. He ran to the car, started the engine, shot out of the garage and headed out of the cul-de-sac. In his head he chanted to himself, 'I will be on time! I will be on time! will be on time!', but as he neared the end of the street he had that daily ritualistic feeling of 'did I shut the garage?' Brad had been here before on so many occasions and, in what his neighbours must see as an amusing, regular occurrence, he turned the car around suddenly, wheels screeching, and headed back up the cul-de-sac to check. As usual, it was shut and he felt a sudden pang of anger with himself for being so pre-occupied. He turned the car at the other end of the cul-de-sac, wheels screeching once again, and headed off down the road towards his destination.

Brad headed west toward Brisbane and had to put his visor down due to the blinding setting sun. He kept up his chant, 'I will be on time! I will be on time! I will be on time!' This determination, combined with the fact that he was driving against the rush-hour traffic, meant he made good time. He looked at the car's digital clock as he approached the Gabba. It was just after 6.00pm and he realised that something or someone was on his side because he wasn't going to be late. A feeling of relief and self-achievement overcame him. Whilst this focus initially distracted his thought processes, as he got closer to his destination, his nerves increased as the depth of what he was about to do hit home. Numerous questions started flooding his mind as he drove across the Gateway Bridge, 'What will the content of the course be? Who will be there? What will they be like? Will they like me? Will I look stupid?'

Although Brad was not overly familiar with this part of Brisbane and the roads were busy, he managed to successfully navigate his way to Helen Street. The area was quite industrial, but with a number of stylish apartment blocks and in the final remnants of the day's light, it was difficult to see any property numbers. He drove the length of the street and couldn't find the building he wanted and started to panic! 'Oh, I'm going to be late! What if they don't like me!' - the usual, constant barrage of negative self-talk.

Brad turned the car at the end of the street and moved slowly back down the road trying desperately to find a number to gauge how close he was to his destination. Then suddenly he saw it, the neon sign of the organisation's emblem. His nerves increased, his palms were sweaty on the steering wheel and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Would he be able to walk in, would people see him, judge him, ridicule him, laugh at him! This symbol signified everything he had come to despise about himself, the constant struggle to get through each day, each hour of his life!  He could so easily just carry on driving past and go straight back home, but there was a spark inside him, guiding him forward – he had to do this!

… final installment is tomorrow!

Enjoy your journey!

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