I woke up earlier than I had to today in order to go and have some sense talked into my brain by one of my uni-parents. I’ve been freaking out about a hospital appointment that I (think I) have tomorrow (should really probably check that, but denial is my way of dealing at the moment). In true uni-parent fashion some words were poured into my ear that made my brain calm down. Just like that. In fact, they actually made me laugh a little when I had been trying so hard for so long to hold in tears. I figured out my feelings pretty quickly once presented with an analogy about Lego people that simplified things hugely, and felt like a significant amount of the dirt I am buried under had been removed. Now if only I could replicate this effect without having to seek the company of a uni-parent, that would be great. Unfortunately, my university mum and dad remain the only people I can talk to openly about everything at the moment, on account of their scientific knowledge, life experience, and complete lack of an emotional response (scientists, it would appear, are not the best with people skills, but that’s what makes it so easy for me to talk)
I left for my first lecture feeling much better about things. And then an hour and a half later I suddenly found myself sat in my room crying for… no apparent reason (the reasons are very apparent, I just don’t want to acknowledge them. Like I said, denial is my current way of dealing, and yes I know it isn’t working well). The current situation is just a little bit tougher than I am at the moment… For quite a long moment, actually. Maybe for an entire chain of moments… Ok, I’ll stop with that one. But anyway, it turned out I was not as ok with everything as I’d told us both I was. And I didn’t know how to say that to anyone. I tried to persuade my body to need a little less intervention, to pull me out of the situation that is the root cause of at least 80% of the problems that are currently proving… problematic. But I didn’t feel well, so I gave up pleading with my body (which was technically just my healthy body pleading with the malfunctioning parts…) and had an involuntary nap so that I would actually be able to make it through my next lecture.
I went to the next lecture. I smiled. I ate pineapple (because why not?). I drank two litres of drink (and regretted it as soon as I remembered that there were no bathroom breaks). I made notes. I did that whole thing that ducks do where on the surface they look totally chilled out, whilst beneath the waterline they are paddling like mad to achieve that state.
Again, shortly after that lecture finished, I found myself in my kitchen pretty close to tears. I had been considering returning to Hyde Park, given that today is the first day where I stepped out of the front door and didn’t instantly regret not wearing fifteen more jumpers and a small bear. Unfortunately, my body disagreed. I had been awake for my designated hour and a half, and it was time to sleep, whether I liked it or not. So I did. I rested my head on the (possibly just about clean) kitchen table, and let my body grab hold of the sleep it had so desperately been reaching for.
I realised when I phoned my mum that I was not in a people mood. Not because I was in a bad mood, but because people don’t know how to react to me at the moment, they don’t know how to break through the wall I’ve put up (with an obvious exception) and I don’t know how to tear it down. I’m dealing with some pretty big issues at the moment and they are eating all my thoughts. My friends don’t understand and I hope they are never in a situation where they can, because my heart would break for them in a way I refuse to let it do so for myself (everybody else comes first, they always have done and always will). I am in a flat full of people (who are mostly ignorant of my presence, so maybe that’s a bad example); I’m in a campus full of people, and I’m in a city populated by millions (seriously, there are more people in London than there are in the whole of Scotland apparently… Don’t hold me to that one though.) But emotionally I am on the moon – isolated, watching the world turn without moving with it.
People get bored of knowing someone who isn’t well. They stop looking at the moon and focus back at the ground beneath their own feet, for obvious reasons. They walk away. And at the same time as they walk away, I push them to protect them. I am pushing everyone – instinctively, defensively, protectively. Because I care about them. But mostly, because I don’t have a clue what to do, because I’ve given up on them, because I’m scared to rely on people and feel too guilty to burden them.
There is no right way to react to this situation, but people will hunt for one. There is no need to act differently but people will tread a little carefully in the shadow that these issues cast because even I am trying to run through the shadows that these issues cast. I will be judged.
Or worse, I will be expected to show enthusiasm about everyday things… And I just don’t care at the moment. I don’t care if that bookshop has a stock of the book you’ve wanted for ages, or that your cousin’s friend’s boyfriend’s pug had puppies (ok maybe I care a little bit about that one because puppies), but no matter how hard I try to ignore the thoughts that I keep replaying over and over, I can’t force them aside long enough to do anything other than feign interest. And it sounds awful, it makes me sound like a complete arse, because I care about everyone so, so much… I just… You’re so clueless, so wrapped up in yourself and I… I can’t pretend to be ok with that any more.
This, I have decided, is why I now crave the company of my dog. Because he can’t talk, he won’t judge, he’s not self obsessed… He just loves, unconditionally, without once stopping to consider what I did to deserve such devotion (which is good, because he would realise it was misplaced). He knows how I feel just by looking at me. And so far in the ten years he’s been alive, he seems to be the only thing that hasn’t let me down.
Humans live in a society that encourages competition and individual achievement, and wolves (so basically dogs…) live in packs that cast out that kind of behaviour. I don’t want to be by myself right now. I would quite happily move to Cornwall and live among a giant family of dogs instead. Because even though I’m not alone, I am alone in this.