Today I went back to university halls – to a room filled with just half the stuff that once lived in it, to the four walls between which I felt I belonged for the first time since I don’t know when. My photo collage posters were still stuck on the walls, my noticeboard was still a collage of memories, and after last night all I wanted was to once again curl into the brightly coloured bedcovers and just hide from the world, as I had done so many times. The floor beneath my feet had caught me when I’d collapsed through illness, my friends had stood by the door and watched many times as I, stupidly ill, threw stuff into a bag to take to hospital with me (or pleaded with me to throw some stuff in a bag and actually go to a hospital)…
I started packing up my stuff, and just a few hours later, with the car piled so high I could barely fit my legs into the footwell and we couldn’t see out of any of the back windows of the car, we left the room looking exactly how the past 24 hours made me feel… Emptied out.
“You’ve been here two weeks and I’m already sick of you” She stood at the end of her bed last night and said in exasperation. And I know I said I wouldn’t, but I couldn’t help but view myself through her eyes, because I love her more than life itself, because she made me, because I’ve destroyed her. She doesn’t mean it. I told myself, you know she doesn’t mean it, just let her vent, she’s right. Just maybe a little over the top. She always says she didn’t mean it, she’ll tell you that you twisted what she said so for goodness sake record the thing so you don’t feel like you’ve lost your mind. Don’t read this and feel sorry for me – I deserved every word. And yet, I was angry instead of crushed (FINALLY). Because I won’t take it any more. I won’t take being shouted at like a child, and made to feel awful about myself because she’s tired – and so I didn’t. I let the hurt slide out of my thoughts like water off a duck’s back, and I went downstairs to give her (and because for the first time I needed it, myself) space to cool off.
And here follows the most disjointed, pathetic, potentially triggering for some (I feel it’s common decency to warn you) rambling and far too long expanse of text that I have ever written.
I couldn’t shed a tear in front of her and yet all I wanted to do was cry; because suddenly, the hurt stopped sliding off and it wormed its way in. And I fought back tears as the familiar tune of “She’s right you know, all you do is screw up over and over and tear people apart without even trying. You’re never going to please them. Maybe you’re better off dead? Think about it, you know it’s true…” But I wasn’t holding back tears because of an emotion that fuelled these thoughts – I was doing so because I was sick of them, because I had done such a good job of shaking them off and she has no idea how instantly and effectively her words not only bring them back but multiply them. I was on the verge of crying because I didn’t want to be dead, I wanted to be happy… And free – free from the environment that makes me feel like this, because even though she claims to understand that I struggle with depression at times (especially when my physical health is bad, although somehow not lately… I thought) she still says stuff to trigger it severely… I wanted to cry because I was frustrated beyond belief.
She feeds the monster of my depression when I have starved it to near death. And so, stood in my kitchen, I freaked out as the monster feasted on her words, I hated that she’d thrown him some scraps when he’d been forbidden from feeding. I know what I thought, because in the notes section of my phone this morning were the words I wrote through a film of tears that I never allowed to fall: One day death will hold me tight and take me away from her explosive temper and selfish insensitivity, and I will be free. One day I will give in to the overwhelming suicidal urges she plants in my soul (DON’T PANIC, I really don’t want to do that, read on a few more sentences). Even then she will not understand what she is doing to me, she will roll her eyes and get annoyed and call me selfish and go on about how she has feelings too and she can’t deal with my health and ME any more.
But instead of being a mountain that I spent days or even weeks overcoming, this time these thoughts were short lived, and they were overwhelmed and replaced by the immense frustration that was born in reaction to them. I wanted to hate her but I love her too intensely to ever do that. I realised instead that I hated the way she had made me feel, hated the way that she seemed to think it was acceptable, and refused to acknowledge the impact of her behaviour, writing it off and sighing and tutting and ranting about her own emotional responses to me instead (justified, deserved, but it should be a two way street, I just want her to see, to stop making me so… y’know… and not to start arguments all the time as I always seem to manage when I attempt to be all “there’s no self esteem left for you to crush, you’re in negative figures and i know you love me and you don’t mean it and you think this a ridiculous response but please stop. Deal with me like an adult. Like someone you respect. Respect too, is a two way street”). I was angry. So, so angry that she then had the nerve to be pissed off when I walked back into the room a while later, because I’d “been gone too long”. So I kept my mouth shut (she seemed irritated by this), waited for the silence to settle around us, and then I walked away again, not in a tantrum, but because I felt it was the only way for either of us not to explode and say something hurtful that the other person didn’t deserve.
I wanted to get out of this house. I wanted to move out. There and then. But instead, I wrapped the blankets over my head, gulped back the sobs that I wouldn’t let leave me, and went to sleep, eventually, with tears still drying on my cheeks (which hasn’t happened for a long time). And she was still ‘frustrated, not angry’ because this morning she woke up in as much of a mood as she had been in the night before. When we got to my university campus, she was more chilled. And then she almost broke me physically too.
I walked from my room to the campus shop because she got annoyed and told me it wasn’t far when I said I didn’t want to walk too much (she has no idea how little my body can deal with at the moment). By the time we got back to my (ex-)flat, I was dizzy, and she eventually got irritated at the rather loud (and INVOLUNTARY) wheeze I had developed (now that I’m not on diuretics, it returns with much greater ease than before).
“Well you were fine before we walked.” She sounded genuinely irritated. Yes. That’s why I don’t walk that far. I thought, but didn’t say. It was easier to stay silent. I need to get away, I can’t live in that house all summer. I thought. On the way there she’d sounded almost “frustrated” at me for being so unwell at the moment, because she says I won’t be able to go back to university in this state. When we got back to this house, she said something about the subject again, followed by “I don’t think I could cope with you for a year.” Ditto. I thought, annoyed that my thoughts had become so rude and bitter. But she won’t drive the covertly defiant version of me to the grim reaper’s doorstep. She can multiply those thoughts all she likes because they do far less harm to me than the ones she used to help fuel occasionally.
Eventually, after her going on at me all day, flicking between views of me that I can only describe as ‘this is pleasant’ and ‘you are the most annoying, selfish thing on the planet’, I decided I am done. I am done with this health stuff. I have no choice but to live it, but I don’t want to talk about it for a while. I don’t want to acknowledge it or think about it. I don’t want to sit in rooms with doctors and talk about it. I don’t want it to tear my family apart any more or do any more damage. I am a human, and yet I feel like barbed wire.
She got angry at me when, as a result of doing too much activity at university under her encouragement, I collapsed on my bed this evening, and she found me shortly after I came round. She was angry. And then, when I had to sit down at the bottom of the stairs because I felt like I was going to pass out, she sighed angrily and, in exasperation, was all
“You haven’t even done anything!” I HATE IT TOO, DO YOU THINK I LIKE THIS? DO YOU NOT THINK IT MAKES MY HEART SINK WITH SHAME? Did you really need to add to it? Do you not think it’s hard enough already? No. Because I never let you see, because I love you to the moon and back. Why are you acting like I am doing something wrong? Please stop. Please. Stop. Please, please. I love you. Please act like you do too because I know underneath this you do but I am beginning to become convinced that you hate me. I’m sorry. Is that what you want me to be? I’m always sorry. Always. Please. Stop.
And that was it. So this is me doing what I have to do to carry on. I’m not going to stop taking my medications, and I’m not going to stop carrying them around with me (before anyone freaks out). I’m just turning back into an ostrich and a roadrunner all at the same time (see yesterday’s post if you’re wondering what on earth I’m talking about). I need a break. Not for them, for myself. Things have become a little toxic, and the only way to avoid the adverse effects of the toxicity is to change something.
I mostly realised this earlier today, when I was looking for a quote to post as a comment on an awesome blog I follow
“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing” – Richard P. Feynman
It’s still extremely hard for me to think of myself as anywhere other than below everyone else on the planet, but the desperate frustration generated within me (which is what drove me to tears last night – which frustrated me even more because I. Hate. To let myself. Cry) has driven my brain to (temporarily, very briefly) place itself as an equal in this household, and as someone who should matter within it.
I arrived back from uni today to two parcels: A photobook I created of my first year of university (spooky that it arrived on the day I moved out and ended that chapter of my life!) and another, two bracelets, which I bought online during my most recent admission to the CCU, am wearing as I type this, and which display words that mean a lot to me right now:
And yet I know, it is my failing, not their mistake. (And that is why I didn’t have the heart to mention her relation to me, or her name… But you already know who it is right?)