I am fighting with the feeling that I have been forgotten, wrestling with the urge to get on a train to anywhere as long as that somewhere is not familiar. I have had enough of familiarity. I’ve had enough of the familiarity of the feeling I experienced yesterday, the feeling that precedes ambulance journeys and laying in resus while people I barely know watch on as doctors pull me out of a medical emergency, I’ve had enough of the familiarity of hopelessness, of loneliness in the busiest of places… I’m done with the familiarity of the shame I attach to my emotions. Because sometimes, things are allowed to be too much. Sometimes we crumble and we break, and sometimes that feeling is far too familiar.
The Imagine Dragons concert yesterday was great. I had been looking forward to it since I was given the tickets for my birthday. But I wasn’t there. Exactly sixteen years to the day since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was laying in resus, burdening people. And I’m not in the right frame of mind to talk about that now so that can wait.
I’m just about holding myself together. And I’m holding myself together for the people around me, for the people who will be hurt by the shards of the broken person I will become if I allow myself to fall apart… And holding myself together and holding in tears takes so much energy that I am exhausted. I want to melt down but to who? Because although this feeling is familiar, so too is the sound of the brief crack in my mum’s voice, the worry in her words, the furrow in her brow, the frustration at her inability to fix the situation which she unintentionally directs at me. Equally familiar is the awkward silence while my friends’ brains search frantically for an appropriate response and eventually fill the void with a look of helplessness that I induced, or with the spoken words of their misunderstanding…
And yet if I fell back I know someone would catch me, if I gave myself a break from hanging on and let myself fall, there would be a safety net… I would not get hurt. But I feel like a burden. I feel like the safety net is overused and near breaking point. I feel like it isn’t fair on anybody else for me to turn around and ask for help. I feel awful watching the impact of things that happen in my life on those who live it with me. Because I’m breaking and I don’t want to break them too. I’m hurting and I don’t want to hurt them too. I’m worried and I don’t want to worry them too. What good would it do?
Life threw a curveball that caught me off guard. It hit me hard and it hurt. But I can handle it. Life goes on an I will carry on – not because I’m strong or brave, but because right now that is the only option. Each time something goes wrong I am humbled. I am incredibly lucky and incredibly grateful.
So I grit my teeth, not with determination but with something altogether more desperate, and I wait for life to get back on track, for my body to decide that it will function sufficiently for the cannulas to be removed and for me to be discharged from a building that so many people are not lucky enough to leave. And I keep apologising to all the people I am bothering, people who say the only thing bothering them is my apology because there is no need for it… But it feels so necessary. The kindness I have experienced should not go unrewarded, the sacrifices people have made and the time they have spent with me should not go uncompensated. I feel awful that I cannot find a way to express my thanks to the healthcare professionals who have saved my life yet another time, that I can’t apologise enough to the two people who stayed with me for ruining whatever they were planning to do with the rest of their day, for dragging four paramedics onto campus, for causing so much bother.
I looked out at London lit up before my eyes and wanted to run out into the view and fade away. And then I realised I already had. I am out of sight and out of mind. Or rather, in plain sight and out of mind. Maybe that isn’t the case, but as a science undergrad I make hypotheses based on evidence… I know that people are aware of what happened, but they don’t know how much I need them because they just don’t understand. I think about my friends a lot but feel too guilty to text them for fear that I will bother them. My flat mates don’t seem to have even noticed my absence (either that or they simply don’t care, but not noticing sounds better), when I didn’t meet kiss friend before this morning’s lecture as usual, there was no message asking where I was. There was nothing. From anyone. This was a delicious, high calorie meal for my feeling of insignificance, and it feasted until it was so swollen it took up most of my brain.
I felt invisible, forgotten.
We’ve all been there. And the thing is, I’m sure we were all wrong.
Because I was. When I eventually sent a text there was someone there at the other end who didn’t mind being bothered. Feelings are not fact, they simply shout louder than truth.
I still feel forgotten, I feel like nobody would care if anything happened to me, but in reality that isn’t the case. It’s much easier to write that than it is for my brain to comprehend it. But that is just emotion smothering my voice of reason. There will be a tomorrow. And a day after that. And everything will be ok… I just need to convince my brain to accept that