Thursday, 16 August 2007

Medusa Is Alive And Well, Apparently Living In Hammersmith

Sometimes, although admittedly not often, because generally this is seen as something to sweep under the nearest available carpet, someone will say to me "What's it like?"

You can't, after all, see it, like a leg that is broken or a finger that is bandaged, and the truth is like trying to describe yellow to someone who's never seen colour.

The long version is this: a belly full of writhing snakes, a pair of legs full of rapidly-setting concrete, a head full of static and the noise the radio makes late at night when one station starts to bleed over another; floors that undulate beneath you like the breaking of a wave across the bow of a ship and incessant thoughts that convince you that this time, this will be the one, this will be the time it kills you.

The short version, however, goes something like this: Fucking Hard Work.

Accept the anxiety, is what they tell you. Accept it, allow it to float over you and its effect will diminish.

Will it bollocks.

Most days, I try and parcel it away as just one little piece of my life, but there are days, like today, where this is impossible, where the above is relentless, and those days grate at my psyche like nails down a blackboard. I hate to be negative about this. I really do. But sometimes it's inevitable.

For various reasons, I've spent the last year or so half-immersed in the disability community. (I say half-immersed, because until I got involved, this was something I'd never thought to apply to myself - I'm still not sure whether I want to or not and so my toe is still only tentatively dipped in the water.) What I've learned from that is that there are huge amounts of positivity and normality there for the taking, but also that I envy the people who've come to terms with much greater impairments than this, and carried on with life out the other side. I envy them. How sick is that? I envy them because I'm not there yet, and because I don't know what to do to get there, and because every damn fucking day I want to press the button that doesn't exist and shut all of this off. I know that envy is a pointless, destructive emotion, and that acceptance is the key, but what if you don't want to accept?

Then what?

It shames me that I can't.

Forgive me for this badly-written, worthless post; it pains me and offends my sensibilities to be writing such utter rubbish.

File under "not knowing what else to do".


An Unreliable Witness said...

That post is not badly-written or worthless.

It's honest.

Brutally honest.

And it's not often you get to read something like that on a blog.

Thank you.

bohémienne said...

Have you ever wondered whether those people who appear to have accepted and just gone on with their lives might feel as screwed up inside as you do? I suspect that you give a pretty good impression of getting by as well.

Definitely not worthless. I, too, appreciate your honesty. It makes you stand out, and shine.

Migraineur said...

Hello, dear,

I'm a stranger who found your blog on someone else's blog (and I think I've commented once or twice before). I come by every few days, because I appreciate your truthfulness.

Back when I was in my twenties and suffering from life threatening depression (very much under control now), I decided I was the world's best faker, and what I was faking was mental health. Lots of people who were less depressed than I was lost their jobs, dropped out of school, lost all their friends, screwed up their relationships, and ended up hospitalized. I flattered myself at the time that none of that had happened to me (though now I realize that I did screw up my relationship, though I managed to keep my job and most of my friends).

Me, I kept going to work almost every day, taking no more than the allotted number of sick days (which in the US is pathetically low), flattering myself that I was faking health very well. But let me tell you something - I resented every second of it. I wanted to just have the luxury to be sick, to admit what was wrong. But I couldn't afford to lose my job, and I was raised to believe that if you have a job, you keep it, and I had too much pride to ask my employer if I couldn't make some arrangement. It was a small, family-run company, and at the time they were flexible enough that it just might have worked. But I just couldn't admit that I was crazy.

This was more than a decade ago, and it still brings tears to my eyes.

So maybe bohémienne is onto something. (Gotta love a girl who knows where the accent aigu goes, too.) Maybe the people with shells of steel envy you because you don't have to pretend.

Maybe the goal is a middle ground, somewhere between lump of quivering jelly and shell of steel. Maybe a kind of hinged shell that exposes your soft parts once in a while? (Forgive the bad analogy, but perhaps it gets the point across.)

Anonymous said...

just stopping by to say hey

Anonymous said...

I don't personally share your struggle but I know there's light at the end of the tunnel. I've had two friends who share the same struggle. Keep the faith and i will send prayers and good vibes your way

Anonymous said...