Man in the Middle - Part 4

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Here’s the final part of my story about Brad. It is a semi-autobiographical piece of work. I hope by sharing as part of Mental Health Week, it will benefit others who may be struggling alone. If that is you, then please ask for help, you will be so very glad you did. If you’ve missed the three earlier instalments, then please follow these links;

Man-in-the-middle-Part 1 Man-in-the-middle-Part 2 Man-in-the-middle-Part 3

Man In The Middle - Part 4

Brad parked the car opposite the building, which looked very unassuming and at first impressions, looked shut. He turned the engine off and just sat there looking, waiting, trying to see who was around. It was quiet, a few people rushing home from work, oblivious to Brad sitting in his car, terrified of getting out and walking straight past the building without a second glance as to what it represented. Suddenly, the full height industrial door to the right of the building shot up and a guy walked out on to the pathway, looked up and down the street and then walked back in.

Brad nervously looked at his watch and saw it was close to 6.25pm. The moment had arrived, it was now or never – was he going to bottle it now at the eleventh hour? Still, nobody had entered the building and Brad suddenly thought he’d got the wrong night or time and scratched around desperately on the passenger seat, items flying in the air, until he found the ‘Holy Grail’ for tonight – the email invitation! Brad read it again frantically looking for the information to verify his very being there and then suddenly – 'Panic Over’, there it was – first group session Tuesday 26th February at 6.30pm.

Ironically, Brad had mixed emotions! On the one hand this confirmed he was in the right place at the right time, but on the other, did he want to be there! Could he muster the courage to take this step! Nervously, he opened the car door and got out, and as he walked towards the building he automatically pressed the car alarm blip and jumped suddenly at the noise it made, which seemed so audible in the street. Brad stopped in his tracks as if to check his surroundings; was anyone looking at him, had anyone now noticed he was there – at this time in this place! Brad didn’t wait to find out, he ran forwards and entered the building through the open door - ‘Oh my God, I’m in, I’m here!’

Brad stopped still as the noise of his clumsy, exaggerated, elephant footsteps echoed in to the building and he took a few moments to take stock of his surroundings. On the left there was a reception area with a number of offices stretching all the way to the back of the building with stairs leading up to what appeared more office space on the first floor. Brad then turned his gaze to the right-hand side of the building, which was open plan and had ornate paving leading to a large glass fronted meeting room at the back with partially closed venetian blinds. This side of the building was tastefully decorated with a few plants scattered around the place. Numerous posters and information pamphlets filled the wall spaces which took away the harshness of the industrial unit’s internal space. There was no-one around and this, combined with the subdued lighting, gave the building a bit of a conflicting feel – warm, but slightly eerie!

The room Brad needed to be in was the large one at the back, he knew that because light filtered through the half-opened blinds and his nerves spiked as he suddenly saw movement from within the room. He slowly walked towards the light, part terrified and part excited about what he would find. As he approached the meeting room’s door he caught sight of a sign on the door detailing the session details, which confirmed he was in the right place! He became aware of the low voices of people talking and he immediately had a sudden urge to once again run. It would be so easy and they wouldn’t even realise he’d been there, but the same spark overcame Brad and at that moment he knew he was where he was meant to be.

Brad’s journey was beginning and no matter how difficult or confronting this was going to be, deep down he knew he had to walk through that door if he was ever going to get his life on track. Brad hoped it was a place where he would find answers and a place where he would fit in and whilst it wasn’t going to be easy, he had to know, so he cautiously opened the door and with the major emotions of the past few months still fresh in his mind, he walked in to the light ……...

Not ‘The End’, but a New Beginning!

‘Man in the Middle’, is a very personal and I believe, very powerful story! The underlying message is to face and fight the inner demons of anxiety and depression, the symptoms of which, many of us will experience in varying degrees, at some point in our lives.

As Brad goes in to the light, you know he’s nervous, scared and unsure of the future. However, he’s mustered up the courage to find answers and he’s taking the necessary action to move forward, and is following through with his intentions. Whilst there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty for him, you get a feeling that he needs to do what he needs to do on his journey, that he’s made the right decision, is in the right place and it will all work out for him.

There’s no looking back, only forward and that is the same for everyone! By pushing through the self-doubt and the paralysis that comes from a lack of confidence and self-belief, you can start to slowly move forward in life, despite facing what can be perceived as insurmountable  barriers.

Enjoy your journey!

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