A fall from grace.

I think the saddest thing is growing up. In youth, in infancy, we are blissfully unaware. We are untainted by the world and its problems. In some cases, we know that we have a parent, or parents, or someone who loves us. Who feeds us, and bathes us and kisses us goodnight. Someone who we look to for guidance, for love, for life lessons, for approval. A living template on how to live really. And we love them for it. We love them for existing, for being around.

And then we grow. And we are thrust into adulthood without really being adults. We sit and observe behaviour, trying to work out what is right and what is wrong. And when that comes to a parent, you want to think that their behaviour is right even if it’s wrong. You want to believe that they are the same figure you remember seeing through your six year old eyes. You want to believe that this person is the person who kissed you goodnight and taught you how to ride a bike. But they aren’t. Maybe they never really were, and you were just imagining it.

I’m finding it hard to look at this person and see them for what they are. I mean, I can see them in plain light, and it is so ugly, I want to push that view away. I want to remember the person that was. At least the person that lives in memory. I don’t recognise this person standing in front of me. Who are they and where did they come from?

But I can’t turn back. Time is cruel, and life is hard and everything in between. And I’ve learnt that growing is the biggest disappointment. Take me back to six years old, when a goodnight kiss was happiness.

Plenty of fish.

So it’s a common cliche. Don’t worry love, plenty of fish in the sea. Through my recent research in this field, I think it’s safe to say that all the “fish” in the sea are actually carnivorous sharks.

It’s common knowledge that I don’t have any luck with men. It’s actually a running joke in my family. I can sit here all day long and rattle off a list of things about myself that would deter the most strong-willed of males. But after having a long time to stew on this notion, and scrounging to find reasons for a little hope, I’ve decided that it is not entirely my fault.

Number 1 reason why boys stop talking to me: I tell them that no, I don’t want to sleep with them on the first date.

Number 2 reason why boys stop talking to me: I mention that I see a therapist once a week.

Like seriously guys, are these two things the worst words that I could ever say to you? These things deliver like a death sentence. Boom. Over. You’d think that I had killed someone. Which is funny because, people actually date murderers but can’t date a girl who likes a weekly vent and has a little self respect.

Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places. Maybe it’s because I’m a feminist and don’t think sexist jokes are funny. Maybe it’s because I will call you out when you’re being a prick. Or maybe boys just need to stop being so immature.

I’ve come to the realisation, that the disappointment is totally worth it in the end, because you wouldn’t want to be with one of those douche-bags anyway. Who would want to be with someone who looks at you like you’re the next piece of meat to eat? I mean, I’m trying not to sound like a whingy man hater, but finding someone that actually wants to engage in conversation with my face and not my chest once in a while would be nice.

Yes, you there.

Yes, you there, man on the street, whistling at me while I walk my dog. Man who tells me that I only look pretty with makeup on, who tells me that I belong to him like I’m his fucking iPhone, who calls me ‘babe’ because of course, that is my name.

Yes, you there, man in Government, in law enforcement, in war, who decide for me which parts of my body belong to myself. Who tell me female bodies are the only bodies on this planet which are branded with a ‘sold’ sign from the moment they are born.

Yes, you there, high school science teacher, after school driving instructor. My female body is capable of operating a vehicle without collision, and my female brain does remember the periodic table off by heart. I will excel in these ‘male’ subjects just to prove you wrong.

Yes, you there, mothers and grandmothers and aunts, your age does not excuse your ignorance.

Yes, you there, fathers and grandfathers and uncles, your age does not excuse your ignorance.

Yes, you there, boyfriend and partner and husband, no means no.

Yes, you there, high school ‘friends’ whose mouths select ‘slut’ first and foremost to describe the drunk schoolmate at the party. Yes, you there, ‘drunk, slut-shamer,’ how do your own words taste?

Yes, you there, rapist. Yes I said it. I’ve said it out loud more times than you’ve ever thought about what you did to me. How dare you.

Yes, you there, human being. Human being on the other side of my computer screen. Human being on the other side of the world. Where is your humanity?

Scar Tissue.

For the first time in a long time, I can see past tomorrow.

I can imagine myself at 40, I can see myself at my little brothers 21st birthday, and my sisters wedding. I am looking forward to watching my little brother grow. To be the big sister that was stolen from him for a while.

I think about bettering myself. I actively do things to better myself each day. I stick up for myself, no longer being a human dartboard for other people’s mental illness jokes, and I take pride in myself. I am proud to belong to an elite club of survivors.

I touch my scars. I touch them as if the silver stains on my flesh were battle scars. Because they are battle scars, and each of them comes with a medal of bravery, which I wear upon my chest.

The voices in my head have arguments. Love is winning, so I’m told.

A bad day.

It is wrong of me to get offended when someone says they’ve had a bad day? They’ve gotten a parking ticket, or gotten in trouble at school and they feel like they’ve had a shitty day. Yes, you have had a shitty day. And I’m not discounting that at all, I’m not saying that your day wasn’t shitty. But I’m also saying that you haven’t had a bad day. You’ve had a pretty good day on the goodness scale of days. I am sorry that when you say you’ve had a good day, I feel a kick in my stomach. I wish, I wish wish wish that people who have never experienced a day with mental illness could live for one.

Maybe I’m just really selfish. Because honestly, my days aren’t that bad in the spectrum of days. I’m not starving, I’m not homeless, I’m not oppressed, I’m not abused. No, I won’t admit to any of those things. But I will admit to having a ‘bad’ day.

You know, I wish that my version of a bad day was getting a parking ticket, or getting a detention, or being crapped on by a seagull. I think if I was living in their shoes and a bird shat on me, I would laugh, and I would be happy that being in a bird’s target zone was the worst thing the universe could throw at me. So I’m selfish, I am. I am a big, green eyed monster. Jealous of the meaningless things that happen to other people happier than me. And maybe that’s my problem. I don’t even know why I feel like this. I am embarassed that I am so incensed by somebody’s bad day. I am embarassed that I am even admitting to these feelings. But is it right to make me feel like living with a mental illness is better than bird poo? That what I’m going through is better on the scale of day goodness?

I’d like to say that I think before I speak. Not all the time, because I say some pretty stupid stuff. But when I say I have had a bad day, it is a loaded response. There is much more to it than bird poo. And when I have a good day, it means I have made it out of bed, and that is a really good day. Maybe that’s what I’m getting at. Think before you speak.

Numbers.

3 attempts by the time I was 19.

2 hospital admissions.

Countless visits to EPS.

5 weeks of daily therapy.

4 months of weekly psychotherapy.

1 year of taking antidepressants.

I can’t even paint my fucking nails I have such shaky hands. But if I stop taking the pills that make me shake, then who knows what might happen. This doesn’t feel like life. Having appointments every week with various doctors and therapists. Having to go to the pharmacy all the time and ask for anti-depressants. Having such a volatile and unstable mood that I can only focus on the next 10 minutes ahead of me. This isn’t life. This is premeditated and scheduled being. And it makes me angry. I’m so angry that I have to worry about what tomorrow is going to bring. I’m so so so tired of keeping my head above the water, even when there are tidal waves crashing down over me. It is exhausting. I am tired of having to make excuses for other people. I am tired of the way people look at me, and speak to me, like if they say something other than hello I might go and jump off a bridge. I am tired of hurting. Whole body hurting. My head hurting, feeling like it is about to explode. How emotional pain quickly manifests into physical pain. This isn’t life. I am sick of people telling me that disorder doesn’t exist. I am sick of trying to justify myself for their naive and happy minds. I am sad, because to many people, what I am going through is not real to them. I am sad when people tell me to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘go for a walk’. I am sad when people project their judgement onto me. When they say that I am not trying hard enough. When they say I have no reason to be sad. I can tell you how hard it is to wake up each day, but I won’t, because you won’t understand. Can you not see my shame?

If I could, I would click a button in my head and live a normal life. I would laugh every single day, and smile at stupid things. I would be able to say that I’ve had a good day and actually mean it. I would eat my favourite foods and not want to cry afterwards or be sick. I would feel alive.

This is a broken record spinning around in my ears, but I won’t say anything to you.

Coming to terms.

I am realising that maybe I am going through the motions. I am realising that the space between my ears is just that, and not a permanent home. I am realising that maybe this is all there is, this unsatisfying and unforgiving thing that is life, that ticks by in seconds and hours and days stretched in front of me and behind. I am realising that there is no meaning to it. That it just is. That you just keep going, with no incentive at the end for completion, no participation certificate. Maybe it’s just because I have nothing meaningful – or maybe I do, but it doesn’t feel right. I’ve always wondered about that cliche quote, that when your life flashes before your eyes, you should make it worth watching. I wonder if that does happens. Maybe it’s all you get. I’ve been thinking that all mine will be is an empty room. I am realising that despite what you say and what you do, people forget. They get on with their lives and do their thing, and I can’t help feeling like I’m the only one in the world whose feet are set in concrete. That I am watching people leave, people smile, people love, people move on. And I can’t. And I don’t know why. I have tried so hard to breathe these thoughts out of my lungs, and relax my shoulders and look into the sun. I have tried to talk it out, tried to work out why I feel so goddamn empty, and at other times too full. I have tried to love and tried to hate and succeeded in neither. But at the end of the day there is no fucking certificate to say well done, and I keep thinking that people die every second and I will never have known their name. And that will be me one day. Just another hole in the ground. My mother will read this and ask if I’m okay and I will say yes. I might read this aloud to my therapist and she will try to say that I think too much. I’m thinking about taking a holiday, and I imagine myself in sepia filtered photos on a beach. But this is just dreamscape baby, this isn’t real life. I know that wherever I go, I go. Words and thoughts included. I’m realising that leaving this town won’t let me leave myself. I’ve realised that I can’t live in a picture. I live in a long movie, extended version, bloopers included and I can’t delete any scenes. So maybe I’ll just keep acting.

Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about this lately. And I think part of growing up is learning how to forgive. Forgiveness for me, is catharsis. It’s soul soothing. Holding in anger and hatred and sadness will eat you up inside. And forgiveness is letting that go. I once heard a quote, I don’t know who from, that childhood is holding grudges, and being asked for forgiveness for your own sake, but that growing up is seeing it from the other persons perspective and forgiving them. I think the message in summary is being the ‘bigger person’. Sometimes, people don’t know how to forgive. You can show them how. There are things that people have said and done that I have held onto for so long. But what is the point? In doing that, you hold onto the past, and the past is something that you will never get back. So set it free.

Recovery.

It’s been hard to get my head around what recovery is. And I think that part of helping yourself is being able to identify recovery. And I think it’s different for every person. I decided to write a list on what it means to me – as a way to remind myself that yes, I am still here, and yes I have come a long way.

 

1. Recovery is asking for help. No matter how stupid you feel for doing it.

2. Recovery is realising that life is transient and ever-changing. You are too.

3. Recovery is forcing yourself to get out of bed every day and achieving something. Whether that be doing a load of washing or writing that stupid essay. Small steps.

4. Recovery is being proud of your scars. I think that mental illness is so stigmatized by fear. Be proud that you won.

5. Recovery is imagining a future. To quote the movie ‘Side Effects,’ “depression is the inability to construct a future.” Recovery is realising that you have the drive inside you to fulfill all of your dreams.