See, I’m holding my finger to my temple, which means this is all about the *mind*, yeh?
I have to get this down, quickly.
I’m having a ‘feel normal’ episode. Feel good, even. It’s in these moments that I truly appreciate that I *am* mentally ill, as I am able to look at Me-Most-Of-The-Time, and the correct response is ‘Oh….’. It’s a realisation moment. This, right now, feels ‘normal’; I’m stable, calm, feel quite chipper (without being manic), and I CAN DO THINGS. I think ‘I should really answer that email Mum sent me last week’ and I’m totally up for it. It’s no big deal. It’s immensely doable. I almost laugh with relief. It’s in stark contrast to Ill Me – but I can only appreciate that, when I’m *not* Ill Me. Because, when I am, I’m too lost in a stream of grey smoke made up of ‘I should really answer…. I’m not doing it… Why am I not doing it…. I don’t want to…. But who cares if you don’t want to, you need to…. Yes. Clearly I’m crap…. Well, you’re certainly crap now, you’re just winding down a rabbit hole of guilt instead of DOING SOMETHING FUCKING USEFUL YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT I HATE YOU.’
Looking back from out here, I can see, clearly, that darkness that surrounds me. I see that I truly am trying, as I see just how incredibly difficult such a simple task as writing that email is, when I’m There. I see that I do try, even though I don’t achieve it. I do achieve other things, and they’re in different places on your average scale of ‘Can I be arsed?’ – such as ‘working on my budget’, all the way through to ‘get out of bed’ – so it’s not just the generically easy stuff I do when I’m There, thankfully, but it shows me I *do* try. Erin, you DO try. Come back and read this, when you’re There and you’re convinced you’re the most worthless, lazy, privileged, doesn’t-know-she’s-born, why-can’t-you-just-pull-yourself-together,-for-fuck’s-sake, and remember that you wrote this. Please. And please read this bit too – you really are ill. It seems laughable, right now, that you doubt that, most of the time, that you just think you’re not pushing hard enough, or you just need to start work, and then you’ll feel better, or one of those other key sentences you trot out, just to really help the situation. I stand Here, and you There… and I can barely see you, for the swirling grey fog that surrounds you, choking you, weighing you down. It’s real, ok?
The one bad thing about being Here, is something else clicks into focus – you realise how much hard work being your friend must be, at times. This is *not* an excuse to beat yourself up, Erin, keep reading. You suspect that you’re a complete drag, and a drain, and blah blah blah, when you’re There; of course you are, at times, everyone is. You aren’t as bad as you think you are, though, and that’s mostly because when you’re There, you’re so busy being self-obsessed, you forget everyone else is, too. You lose sight of this because of the fog, ok? And I know you’re fighting the fog, all the time, so that’s ok that you lose sight.
The important thing is to, whilst Here, acknowledge that you are hard work, to those that do the work, and tell them that you love them, that you appreciate every single moment of their time and energy, that you get it, that you’re sorry – not in a guilty, shameful way, because that’s not helpful, to you, or them, but just sorry, that you have a place called There, and sometimes you can’t get out of it – and that they help, just by breathing, by moving around, being people.
Oh man. The relief of being Here. I’m filled with gratitude for my life, and the people in it, and for ice cream, and cushions, and Jon Stewart and jigsaws and good conversation *and* all the stuff at the not-remotely-in-a-Julie-Andrews-song end of the scale, because that makes up life, too.
I feel jubilant. I feel scared. I feel how I imagine my grandmother felt, when, after an hour or so of talking to me as if I was her teenage best friend, her eyes momentarily cleared and she saw me, and said my name and half-smiled, the realisation of me suddenly being in front of her bringing along with it the realisation that she must have been unaware of me for some time. She must have been gone.
Thank you, guys. I get it. I love you. You’re awesome. I’m sorry I’m There a lot, and selfish, and can’t see you for the smoke. Don’t give up on me just yet. Cos sometimes, I’m Here.
(I still think everything I write or produce is shit, don’t worry)