My Metaphorical Invisibility Cloak

When I was younger I always wished that I could find a way to become invisible, to be able to hide in plain sight, just for a few moments, and sneak around right in front of people without them even knowing I was there.

So far I’ve only managed to achieve invisibility in a metaphorical sense. And it wasn’t as awesome as my childhood self thought it would be.

At the moment I look physically ill. People can see that. Their brains can understand it. They can deal with it (sort of). They offer sympathy (which does nothing other than make me cringe) and make allowances for the things that I’m not capable of doing. But they don’t see the things that I can’t deal with, the things are right in front of their eyes but out of sight. They can’t understand it. And people don’t know how to deal with that. In the case of my mum, they try and shout it away (not helpful). And other people just try and pretend that everything is alright, or avoid talking to me altogether because they don’t know what to say (which happened on Saturday at a family picnic, and inspired this post)

It’s taken me ages to write this. I had a few days where I wasn’t really in the right place to focus on a blog.

You get stuck in this viscous cycle of wanting to do something to give you a purpose, but not having the motivation… to do anything. The problem with trying to make yourself do something is that ‘yourself’ is not a good thing to be fighting against. You both have the same weaknesses, the same strengths, the same stubbornness. So you reach a stale mate and just sit there. You stop trying to swim against the tide. And sink. And nobody sees.

I basically spent the last three days watching YouTube videos (because watching other people lead awesome lives seemed to make up for the fact that I couldn’t actually get out of bed for most  o f the last three days.), listening to music (because songs are great at finding the right words for the things that my brain can’t) and cuddling a chocolate Labrador (because he loves me so much that I swear he must think the sun shines out of my butt or something, and that happens to make a person feel less invisible)

I’ve been putting off going into hospital for as long as I can, and my consultant has been trying to persuade me against that plan for even longer than that, but sometimes you just have to admit defeat. When she phoned me yesterday I gave in. I realised that things don’t have to be like this, that I’m not indestructible and no matter how much I ignore everything and hope it will all be over soon, I can’t do this by myself. This will hopefully help one small malfunctioning aspect of the physical part of me. But the point that it taught me is very relevant.

Admitting that you need help is difficult. Asking for it is even more difficult, especially when you reach out and nobody is quite within your reach. What’s harder than both of those things (added together and multiplied by a million) is accepting the help that you are offered (but the relief when you do is amazing enough to wipe out the fear). I don’t know if it’s pride or shame or embarrassment that stops us accepting that. Maybe it’s a mixture of all three. When everyone around us seems to be swimming so effortlessly against the tide, we don’t want to appear to be drowning. We don’t want to feel inferior, even though everybody is dealing with things that the people around them can’t see. We forget that other people can be just as good at hiding things as we are. We don’t look below the surface and see them struggling, we look above the waterline and envy them. And when they reach out for us we are already drowning, and can’t support their weight as well.

We don’t like to reveal our vulnerability, yet just because it is unseen doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. We suppress things until they break us and escape from the shell of who we once were. We are all flawed, we are all just a little broken, and we all feel a little misunderstood at times. But we don’t know how to communicate these feelings with each other. You spend all of your childhood wondering how great it would be to be able to make things invisible, and then when you get older you realise that you’ve been doing exactly that all along.

“Life damages us, everyone. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: we can be mended. We mend each other.” – Veronica Roth, Allegiant.

Step 5 to getting out of a rut in life is to know this:

People are going to break you, but they are also going to make you.

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