I was going to tell you in this blog post, that after a few days of a mystery bug (which made me extremely unwell) and anaemia (lack of red blood cells), I finally felt well enough to move my bedding off of the sofa and back upstairs, and decided to cook dinner for my parents to thank them for everything they have done for me and are doing for me in preparation for university. I was going to talk about the fact that we can’t afford to buy all of the things that I need for university, without even taking into account all of the textbooks, but how that doesn’t matter to me because I am so happy to be given this opportunity that nothing is going to get me down. I was going to say that I was almost (and probably temporarily) out of the current rut that I have been stuck in.
And then the floor fell out from beneath my feet.
It was like someone had taken a machine gun to my feels. That sinking feeling hit me like a freight train and the impact tore me apart. The remnants of my mind lay shredded in the dirt, and from the wounds seeped tears. I don’t cry, but I cried last night. Crying turned to sobbing, the kind of sobbing that you do as a young child – messy and noisy and undignified. I could hardly breathe I sobbed so hard. It made my heart hurt, it pulled at the wound where they implanted the little device in my chest (which, by the way, still hasn’t healed, and likes to bleed at any given opportunity) And all of a sudden, I didn’t know how to do this any more. And ‘this’ was life. I didn’t know how to carry on. I hated myself. I was so done, and I couldn’t even deal with the thought of facing today. It is so easy to snap into feelings like this, and even after the cause of them has long passed (last night there was a reason, which I will mention in a moment, but there doesn’t always have to be.) it takes a long time to drag yourself out of the downward spiral that they start you on.
If you’ve never felt like this, then firstly, you are very lucky, and secondly, you cannot possibly comprehend it. People often look at those going through these feelings, and ask what they have to be unhappy about. But these feelings are independent of happiness. This emotion is not sadness, it does not occur because you lost your house keys or your favourite sports team lost a game; it is an overwhelming, controlling, suppressing thing. Like a thick and scratchy wool blanket wrapped around your head, it blocks your view of life and replaces it with nothing; it suffocates you, and it chokes you, and you don’t know how to escape it, because it saps you of the energy that you need to overcome it. And just when you think you are out of its reach, when you think you are safely away from its clutches, with no warning, and often with no reason, it pulls you back. Or, if you’re me, somebody accidentally pushes you right into its open arms.
My friends mean the world to me. Their feelings matter far more to me than my own. I try to do right by them, I try to be considerate of their feelings, and I always put their issues before my own should they ask for my help. I give them all of me even when there is nothing left to give. I try to be there for them when I don’t know how to be there for myself. When I get news about my health, I share it with them; although if I know they are going through troubles of their own, I don’t like to add to them, so I keep quiet for a while longer and ask advice from those who know them well. I’m always so terrified that I am an awful friend. Because of my health problems and the mess inside of my mind, I often can’t be there for them when I should be, and that kills me a little inside. But when I am well, I will gladly stay up until the early hours of the morning talking about boys or family issues or anything else under the sun.
To cut a long story short, last night one of my friends sent me a message that cut me to the bone. And my entire soul seemed to bleed out of the wound that was left behind. I try my best to make all my friends feel equal, to be there for all of them, and sometimes that just isn’t possible. Inevitably, one of them felt let down. I did not value her feelings any less, yet she thought I did. I was accused of thinking things that couldn’t be further from the truth. Hearing how upset she had been as a result of this misunderstanding completely broke me, because I put everyone else before myself, and when that isn’t good enough, when my best is inadequate and there is nothing more to give, I beat myself up.
A lot of things have been happening in my life recently, and I’ve mentioned before that I am my own worst critic, and that for along time felt like a nobody. In the last few weeks I was starting to feel like somebody, everything was looking up, and even though lately the negatives have been piling up, I tried so hard to ignore them. But they all came knocking at the same time; this was the first drop of rain and it signalled the start of a flash flood of thoughts and feelings. Any other time, maybe I could have dealt with it, but until last night, I had only just been holding myself together.
Last night I wanted to throw in the towel. In a way I am living on borrowed time, and I didn’t feel that I deserved that. Why am I sharing these thoughts with you? Because I know I’m not the only person who has ever been hit by this freight train. I’m not the only person who has been smothered by that thick wool blanket. And we don’t talk about it enough, because we associate it with shame. Am I scared that you will think I’m being pathetic? Yes, because in my mind I am being exactly that. There are other, less trivial issues with my health that have been concerning me a great deal, along with family issues; but other people’s feelings matter far more to me than my own, so I can’t stand the thought of hurting anyone, whether it is intentional or not. Despite being told that I was not in the wrong, I still blame myself entirely. Once the self-hating part of me wakes up, it does not go back to sleep for quite a while. Do I expect you to understand? No, but I’m trying to overcome this stigma that we as a society seem to have raised and nurtured into a full grown monster, and show other people that they are not alone.
Am I still kicking myself? Yes. Is this post going to be entirely negative? No; because here’s the thing. Last night I didn’t know how to carry on. I couldn’t comprehend the simple act of just… being. I didn’t want to wake up. I couldn’t see how I would ever feel ok again, how things would ever improve. I’m not going to pretend that I have completely shaken off that feeling (although it is now whispering to me instead of shouting over my every thought), but I managed to carry on. I felt like that, and yet I did wake up this morning. I did face the day (I may have spent a few hours hiding beneath the covers but that is beside the point) I feel more ok, I no longer feel hopeless because of my health, I no longer feel afraid of the future, and I’m not worrying about paying for university things. All the regrets that came flooding back into my mind last night have evaporated away again.
My point is:
While that wool blanket is being held down over your face, you think that’s it. You think that is all your life will ever be, and you can’t see any way out. You battle and you fight and yet nothing improves. And you have no control over when that feeling arrives and leaves, you just have to have faith that it will go. Sometimes it takes days to fully overcome, sometimes months, sometimes years. And they will be the longest days or months of years of your life. But that period of your life will end. It does end. And you are most definitely not alone.
Did it take a lot for me to share this? Yes. It took me along time to build up the courage to post something so raw and show you such a vulnerable part of me, a part that I try to shield from view. This is, for that reason, the scariest post I’ve ever made. But I hope it helps somebody, somewhere.