I knew to expect it. The feeling. It is often courteous enough to let me know of its impending presence.
A slow decline of enthusiasm and readiness to tackle and problem solve your way through the difficult bits becomes the dense, dimly lit box of comfort and safety that you enter with no objection.
The problem is that this box exists to exclude the life that continues to go on outside, the life that indeed repels such a box, blows open the top and reaches its imperishable hand grabbing you by the scruff of the neck to toss you into its abyss.
And here is where I am right now, writhing in pain from my fall, my body desperately rejecting the exposure I simply cannot curl up tight enough to ignore. My senses are too distorted, thoughts too treacherous to be out here they cripple my ability to cope finding their way into unguarded gaps of my being; borderless and impressionable. No matter how much I urge I stay in my box, the grim tug on my neck fails to cease. Why won’t it understand that I need to do this to get better… to be better, I’ve grown to hate it so, regardless of knowing it contains the things so dear, so precious, Loves that cannot survive in my box as much as I try to make them, they suffocate.
I dare say they become less the things I love and more unwanted affirmations of this damned mind.
My insides feel detached…swimming around in a sea of uncertainty overcome and drowning in masses and masses of free-flowing uncontrollable emotion so much so it leaks, spilling out of me, I try my best to shut it off but the determined things keep coming seeping out of the tiniest of gaps, I try to catch what I can desperately smearing the fuckers into my skin hoping that what I salvaged can be reabsorbed but in the end, all I can do is watch as it carries bits of my heart to soil my clothes lost forever, never to be repaired.
You want a dreamer, that, I am not. I used to be…and this is something that will kill us, and then kill me.
In the beginning
Looking in the mirror everyday I am faced with the disappointment of what could have or should have been. I grew up quite humbly in a two bedroom house sharing one room with my 2 siblings. Far from rich but we had cable TV and ate decently everyday regardless of both my brother and sister’s later found detest for tuna pasta!
Whatever my circumstances, my future looked promising, leaving my secondary school at 14 to join a performing arts school, I was and Art and Performing Arts major. It seemed at the time both my parents had high expectations of me admittedly I was a talented and creative child… I had high expectations for myself.
Within the ages of 12 to 16 there are elements that I remember quite fondly, I was never allowed to do what much friends did at that age, like taking trips to the local town centre and hanging out regularly at each others houses. At times I did feel lonely and was always a bit of a nerd but looking back I would always prefer it that way after all it seems the only time i was indefinitely worth anything. My parents mum in particular, had a thing for music and although we never had a television in our room (something I value in raising my children) we always had something to play our music on, and we were never deterred from enjoying it at Its full capacity. I used to dance a lot, to everything, and it sparked my extremely eclectic taste in music, from my Dad’s Heatwave album dancing the length of the long living room, to Mum’s latin tunes of which the Vacuum played my partner (chores were compulsory…always). If I wasn’t dancing I was most definitely drawing, this eventually lead to much focused on collection of wedding dress designs and a hand drawn card range entitled ‘Special Cards for Special People’ of which I used to sell for £1 to neighbours and friends.
I was big toothed, short-sighted and gangly, still heavily led by my imagination whilst my peers were into boys and mobiles. Outside of home I was a nobody, but inside, I was everything I wanted to be.
Then the dynamic in the household shifted, along came the name calling, the heavy-handedness and the harsh dismissal of any opinion or feeling I had as a teenage girl. My mother grew an unrelenting dislike for my father often using me as a replacement target of her frustrations and unhappiness whilst he was in his haven at work.
Christmases were the worst, my mum had built a fort around her and her children, confining our movements to the upper part of the house, protecting us from the helpless work driven man who slept on the floor of the living room curled up in a ball with the curtains closed. “How dare he not pay attention do his children! He barely even knows you!” …drummed into us whilst we sneakily passed him bits of our christmas dinner pretending we were fetching something from the kitchen.
The 2 bedroom terraced home that once held fond memories for me eventually became pungent and over filled with the most bitter atmosphere. But eventually as mum had found a new focus in her new prospect, her grip on my life became loose, I had suddenly gained a new-found freedom to do things like escape the madness that was my life, some things not as productive as others. Young and confused and emotionally abandoned by both parents it started take its toll on my school work and as hard as the teachers fought for me to find the determination to stay, I never could admit the full extent of my troubles at home. That is minus one slip up I made in which my English teacher noticed the cuts on my arms and threatened to tell my parents but heeded my plight that it would make things worse, experience told me that it would just result in my dad screaming and threatening to take me to see a psychiatrist as if the shame would deter me from harming myself again (little does he know he was so close to helping my future)
I walked out on difficult times at the age of 17.
I suppose from there it all went wrong, my parens had split leaving my mother free to join the man who became my step father in bonnie Scotland taking my siblings with her. Which left me with my father (you would think). Obviously suffering from depression; which was likely triggered by the final goodbye in which his two youngest children clung on to him for dear life, adamant of their refusal to start a new life in the North. My Father went underground, popping up on the rare occasion to see if I was still alive.
Nevertheless, leaving me to eventually make my way permanently to my grandmothers after sharing the beds of various friends…sometimes through force.
So in going back to the standing in front of the mirror and being disappointed with what I saw, I can reflect and pinpoint the moment the seed of self scrutiny and hatred for myself started.And compared to some, it may not seem like much, but is suppose it doesn’t take a lot…
Something about my star sign states that I am ‘on the cusp of sensitivity’ being born on 19th of February I’m classed both as an Aquarius and a Pieces. Characteristic traits being that I shy away from the real world in favour of my own where I feel safe.
This I suppose could be the reason for my reluctance to integrate in the real world with real people. My struggle lies with feeling confident enough in myself about making a mark having an opinion having to prove your worth. Rejection gets in the way, or more accurately fear of it.
I’m left feeling invalidated as a person, missing the parents that told me I was doing a good job or that they were proud… but did I really give them a reason to? That is if they were even around.
Getting older and trying to find my way equipped with bagfuls of doubt and fear as opposed to confidence and determination I got on with life the best way I knew how. Then like a much-needed helping hand after a trip and fall I looked into the eyes of another and I found a reason to try to be something they deserved, something I thought they wanted.
Being truthful in my admissions is the whole point of me writing this, and to start I will say that from the moment I found the opportunity to feel loved and cared for, I became willingly distracted from the mess in my head. I started to build a character meant to keep another person happy, and in return gaining some form of self validation even though this SELF was far from the truth.
Love & unwanted extra’s
It would be considered as being a tad too young to be immersed in full-blown relationship. Constantly around someone as though you were husband and wife. Food shopping together left to your own devices with no one to tell you what to do. By this time I had abandoned my grandmother, I had found the love I was looking for and no longer wanted her christian input about going to hell for harming gods temple and more importantly, she was the last link to my real self that remained and this was something I was desperately trying to bury.
We lived a fast and passionate life with no responsibility except each other. Immersed in the infatuation lead circumstances of how we met as though in a past life catching each others eye at my Aunts wedding reception me aged 15, then a year or two later on the bus when he finally asked for my number.
At 18 I was rescued by this knight in shining armour we were always meant to be and he was also going to save me from myself. So I proceeded with life in this way, living this ideology and eventually found myself expecting the first of our two boys together, something he told me he liked the idea of.
[Cue the baby crying and the pressure of being responsible. ]
I had always felt at ease with children having younger siblings and babysitting often, but this was one I couldn’t give back and one that had a profound effect on the ignorant fairytale I was living previously.
Watching the person that I was used to spending all of my time with have to leave for work and form relationships without me, whilst I became secluded at home with the baby, started to unearth the already planted seed of destruction loitering in the depths of my mind.
Anticipation of rejection and paranoia filled me, and I became more and more distant from the world but obsessed with the world of another, and eventually my suspicions were confirmed and continued to be confirmed.
The arguing started, when I became so angry and enraged with hate and desperation I would pack his clothes in which he would oblige me and then straightaway beg him to come back.
In the days that he was back I would try to be that something he wanted but felt as though I never was, how could I be? A paranoid reclusive self harming maniac? What young man wants that in his life.
I had invested my every being in him, my happiness was dependant on him. How I felt about myself was determined by him. I had given him every last unhealthy piece of me and I needed him constantly to live and when he wasn’t I could die, and this is as far from any sort of romantic notion that could be assumed of that last line. I was so desperately unhappy and ashamed and disappointed in myself that I needed someone else to validate that my life was worth living and I didn’t need to open the file that contained my suicide letter, not this time.
I lived a lie desperately trying to cover up how hopeless and tired and miserable I was, forging a character of aspiration and confidence and independence knowing full well of the falseness that was ripping me inside.
On reflection I admit how childish this all seems but I suppose I was a child and young people commit suicide based on the perils of their life far too often. I was alone as I have felt the majority of my life, and I was depressed as I have been for the majority of my life…
If I go on any longer about what cannot be undone this will turn into a woeful biography that I am not intending to write. so I will return to the statement,
You want a dreamer, that, I am not. I used to be…and this is something that will kill us, and then kill me.
My name is Le-Ann, I have depression and an anxiety disorder, I probably have things are not diagnosed as yet but here is what I know… I know that I have been unhappy for what feels like longer than I have lived. I try my hardest to please others even though I have no idea or no hope rather of pleasing myself. Sure I know what makes me smile I know that my kids have inspired a love that is undeniable but if I was asked how I felt about life I would say I cry far too much and worry far too obsessively to be ‘happy’ in it.
I am leading a double life, one half being a mother and companion wearing an outfit of everything these elements require you to be… a shell of a human.
I had dreams, maybe I still have them, however most retain the ability to turn these dreams into aspirations eventually making them reality. This is where I know I differ, I dare not dabble in such dirty thoughts. My anxiety levels are far to high for me to deliberately think about what may be. I cannot be sure that I even see a future and most days I will admit I don’t know if I want one…
My problem stems from the disappointment I feel of myself, for the things that I thought I would achieve but haven’t. From the fractured relationship I had with both my parents in not being able to process their break up, not being able to deal with the bitterness and anger that was between them. The feeling of disapproval I felt from my mother, but the sadness I failed to help subside for her. From the rejection I feel from my father still today, as he continually fails to recognise how important his presence means. The disgust of the amount of males I was intimate with, even searching for myself in the ones that hurt me physically. The distance between my siblings and I, never being there as they grew up. The rotten parts of me that I exposed to my grandmother, anger and frustration misdirected. And the guilt I feel for my children, as they find out that they don’t make a difference to how feel about this life. The companion I have spent a lifetime loving but never could and never will be the dreamer he needs or deserves and that is what will eventually kill us, and then kill me.
This time of year has me thinking, where the christmas carols are playing in every supermarket and the constant toy adverts haunt every programme on the telly. Amidst all the expectations to be in a joyous ‘christmassey’ mood there still remains what always is. The rest of the world ups the ante on the pressure to be beaming from ear to ear whilst children make aware their desires for the year. Don’t forget what a perfect time this would be to propose with a stone that matches the cut of the very snowflakes that fall from the sky. Must we really go and have dinner with those people whom we rarely care for during the rest of the year exchanging disjointed proclamations of our successes.
The pressure doesn’t seem worth it, especially as you’ve already been suffering, and this is only bound to make everything so much worse.
I would like you to know that from human to fellow human, we cannot ponder to the expectations of others not even those we care for. We must first and foremost look after ourselves, make ourselves happy, because even for our loved ones that is what’s best for everybody.
We are not born together and we certainly don’t have company on our way out, so this maybe is an indication of the way we must truly value our being, in order to add or be a light in someone else’s.
We are equal no matter the difference between our legs. We are all capable of feeling a failure, feeling incapable and out of control, some of us may not know this, so it will be helpful to be aware of it when entering into the temptation of the silent but provoking competition between others.
Truth within ourselves, being aware of the changes within our mood and taking a time to step back and respect that this is having an effect on the way we view ourselves and our lives. Acknowledging it as something worth speaking up about because it is the illness that makes you weak and incapable.
This is strength. Being aware of our own, practising the necessity to be in tune and listening to yourself before we try to adhere to the wants and needs of others.
Saying no, admitting something cannot be done without unnecessary strain that never makes you feel good inside, just adds to the pain of keeping your secret… that you are human, not super… and that should be, and is good enough.
*Remember this time of year is meant to be humble and a time for gratitude, not for stress or strain regardless of what the ideology portrays… leave that to Santa.
So we are thinking about being completely honest about our mental state, after all the truth is freeing. But will such a sense of freedom and truth come at a price. Allowing ourselves to just be, without the added pressure and effort of trying to be a character more easy to digest by the people around us.
To become completely vulnerable and painfully honest about the challenges you face and probably will face for the rest of your life. For some of us, we may have no choice but to be honest having any relationship demands us to be truthful because our mental illness is an obvious part of our lives. The everyday triggers and constant medication consumption, the mood changes, the personality differences, however official or unofficial our problems are, they will never fail to rear their ugly heads.
‘What’s going on with you? it’s like you’re two different people’… oh how it makes me shudder, a question I have never failed not to hear.
On the floor collapsed in despair, desperate and clinging to the ankles of a loved one pleading with them not to leave me, all the while the dark cloud descends on my thoughts as to how stupidly I am exposing myself in this moment, showing them the real effects of my way of thinking.
In the position where I felt I could only blame myself for The Person’s infidelity because of the way I behave, my lack of confidence my constant anxiety about the more sane competition lurking out there, waiting to look like treasure in the eyes of the person I love because I’m just tainted and broken.
What happens when you get the odd looks from the neighbours or in my case a knock on the door, them checking to see whether everything is okay, stretching their necks to scan your environment for anything not conducive to living a normal life. Exposed again.
Seems the more honest I am the more isolated I become…the more my flaws give me reason to hide.
Oh my, I can’t comment, I can only just say that I appreciate this post, so impactful it has to be reblogged.
Thank – you for sharing.
Lots of love, hugs and perseverance x
“You see the giant and the shepherd in the valley and Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with the sword and shield and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepherd, who has more strength and purpose than we can ever imagine.”
I survived a suicide attempt, spent years in rehab centers, jails, psych hospitals. Now I have worked as a supervisor at these type of facilities.
However my friend, he did not. This is what suicide looks like. This is him after hanging himself, right before he died.
The difference is nothing. He grew up in a dysfunctional home, where the norm was drug use, and physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. They didn’t have money, we did. He went to jail, he stayed. I went to jail, I got bailed out…
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