So young. Sat on a bench, her short legs just hanging there listlessly, unable to reach the ground. But without engergy enough to swing. Her scuffed shoes just there.
All encompassing, pervading every facet of my being. Darker than the blackest black. The stuff emo kids can only dream off. So thick it’s a relative forcefield around me. Ironically the one thing keeping me together was the same thing that was destroying me.
Not the kind that a text from a friend, or a smile from a stranger can help stave off. But the kind where you know you’ll never be free of it. The type where you’re surrounded by people, quite literally, but no one can reach you and, most crucially, you can’t reach any one.
It’s only now, in my stronger self, with my new learnt techniques and medication, that I can look back on my darker times and start pinpointing what the emotions I had were. I can identify fear well now, that was an emotion I only really felt in my mid to late teens, other periods of my life seem to be conspicuous in the absence of fear. Sadness, I was never sad, I was always…..melancholy. Sad implies a cause and therefore a solution. Acceptance, not from people, or even myself, but acceptance of the way I was/am (interchangeable at times). Etcetera…I felt happy at times…like on journeys with my step dad to watch the football, or getting a good mark on a piece of work I’d really worked on, or when I completed prose that I felt told the story….
I’m painting the picture of a very unhappy child, but I wasn’t. I was certainly grumpy or crabby or mardy. Now it’s pretty obvious that actually it could have all been avoided pretty easily.
No, I wasn’t unhappy. That darkness I was speaking of? That’s loneliness.
It is only with time and hindsight I have learnt that. It’s still something I battle with now. Which is tedious given the fact from the minute I wake til the minute I sleep I’m with people. And even when asleep, I’m not alone. I’ve got the good old night mares to keep me company.
We all know my back story, I’m 27, had 5 different psychiatrists, 6 different counsellors, 3 psychologists, 2 overdoses, 5 different anti-depressants, 2 anti-anxiety drugs, and now a lovely cocktail of happy pills and none crazy pills, 4 diagnosis’ (Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, Chronic Anxiety and now Borderline Personality disorder with an addition of dissociative and schizophrenia behaviours thrown in for good measure).
So what does that have to do with the price of fish?
Simple really. As a child, I couldn’t name my emotions. I didn’t understand them. Even now as an adult, I have to focus to see what the cause behind the emotion is. I mean, happiness is easy to determine, as is melancholy. But anything beyond those two, well thats harder. I feel anger, immense anger. But only temporarily, very fleetingly. The only emotions that seem to take hold and stay are loneliness and melancholy.
But admitting to that, isn’t allowed. How can I be lonely when I’m married and surrounded by friends?
Well I’ve figured it out now.
How can you not be lonely, when you don’t like being alone?
Which sounds absurd, because I love alone time. But never silence. I can’t sit in silence. Which is difficult, because too much noise overstimulates me and makes me cranky. But when I’m alone, I have to have music. Always music. It acts as a dampener to my thoughts. I can’t think too much when I’m concentrating on lyrics can I?
I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Loads of people can identify with the feeling of being alone when at a party.
My problem is, I can’t take being alone for what it is.
I have to over analyse. I have to over think. The ball of neuroris that is my brain can’t tolerate too long without input from other sources. Otherwise it takes off at a tangent and colours everything green.
Remember, everything has a taste, colour or sound. Thursdays taste of bacon, my teeth itch, lonliness is green.
Back to that kid. That young girl on the bench in her playground. She was eight. Eight. One year younger than my eldest is now. I still remember it. Clearly. As if it was frozen in time, an image I get to replay every day. That young kid. She wanted it all to stop. All to go away. Her heart hurt, her brain hurt. All she wanted was for it to stop. To stop and end for ever ever.
See, I’ve been battling this for longer than I can’t remember.
I’m okay now. But acutely aware of the fact I’m still in this war of attrition. Knowing that I’m only okay because my medication stop me being anything else. Knowing that too long without the tablets and it all comes back. Knowing that I still don’t have the energy to fight it again. Not yet. I don’t think I ever will.
I don’t have the energy to fight and still be a good mother. To fight and still be a good friend. A good wife. A good person.
But that’s fine. At least I’m honest about my crutch. I’m honest that I need the pills. I’m all talked out. All lessons learnt. All opposing thoughts done. I’ve done the years of therapy, and psychiatry. Time served. I’ve spent over half my life in therapy. Therapy can’t change who I am.
And I am that neurotic mess who hides behind a face of makeup, hard walls, sarcasm and apathy. I am that person who will say something cutting just because she can. I am that person who will always be there for my friends. I am that person who will burst into tears because her hot bread has been toasted too much. I am that person who will learn, learn and learn some more. I will set myself unachievable targets and hate myself for failing. I will always be my harshest critic. I will always be battling my own brain.
Because I have no choice. I can’t be anything but who I am. I can’t be that happy, easy going person I want to be. I can’t wake up in a good mood when I’m coming round from a drug induced sleep. I can’t be that person who always has a kind word. I can’t be that person that other people gravitate to, because she makes them feel good.
I’ll forever be that person, that makes most people feel slightly uncomfortable, despite them not even knowing why. I’ll forever be that person who’s more spikey than cuddly. I’ll always be that person, who people think is joking because no one can be that mean.
But, I’ll also always be that person, who is the first to help. The first to offer solace and comfort. The first to empathise. The first, and last, to stop caring.
Me and my resting bitch face, may be unapproachable. We may make people feel uncomfortable.
But, something I’ve learnt over the years? That’s usually because in me, they see parts of themselves they don’t like. They see in me, the chance of the battle they will have to face. And no one likes that. No one wants to admit that mental health illness can, and will, attack anyone. They want to think its only the weak. It’s only the lazy.
And in me, they see that unfortunately, its indiscriminate. It will take anyone it desires. It will render even the strongest, warmest, move loving of people. And turn them into a shell. It will make them feel that lonliness I live with. It will make them feel like no one around them wants them or needs them. It will twist your own brain so much you can’t trust it. So by extension, you don’t trust anyone.
Oh. And I’m a total bitch…..