I Wished For You, Too

The years have been hard,
A dullness, a dark room without any light.

Hands always stretching out ahead, chasing,
Everything always just out of reach.

I thought of you when I needed some colour in the darkness,
A flash of hope, of what I might one day find.

I always had you in the back of my mind, a faceless silhouette,
An imaginary hand to hold, someone to have my back.

Always a hope, an imaginary person who could never exist,
A mind broken and unrepairable, always wanting the impossible.

A decade later and I found ways to light up my own self,
Ways to heal my own soul.

My imaginary person no longer a hope to be held onto,
A dream lost, acceptance and independence taking its place.

A few more years come to pass,
A complete loss of hope, of self.

A change of scenery,
A new found freedom, new beginnings.

A new person,
Appearing out of nowhere, a shock to the system.

Like a breath of fresh air, a sudden cold shower,
Life was no longer just a dim light, colours were returning.

So many words, positive and freeing,
Butterflies and rainbows and everything else in between.

Nights spent talking, sharing,
Happiness no longer seemingly out of reach.

Fate always finds a way,
Destiny, it seems, cannot be avoided.

I Survived

“I wake up every morning, get dressed and carry on with the day. Even when I don’t feel like it, it’s just what you do.” – Grandad

I was raised strong. I was always a child that held fire in her eyes and I loved it. I challenged people. I questioned life. You get up in the morning and you start anew, you continue on and work through each day.

I have had panic disorder, anxiety, agoraphobia, depression and PTSD but I ALWAYS got up in a morning – even if that was all I did. I had moments of not eating, months of being mute, years of being bullied and belittled. That fire within me dimmed significantly, but it still existed. I still kept hold of that strength, it got me through. Every day was a new day.

I lost my mind somewhere around 2004, so many weeks and months that I have no recollection of. But I got myself out of bed. Always. Made sure to look after my body, if not my mind. Sleep. Eat. Wash. Dress. Read. Repeat.

Never in my life have I been broken.

Until 12:30pm on January 11th 2018. It was a Thursday.

Everything stopped.

There was no more getting out of bed. Eating was something I held zero interest in doing. In bed, I stayed, for 4 days.

But then, Monday came around and I was expected in University. So, up I got and off I went.

I survived. Unwillingly.

I went from stiff upper lip, ‘I’ve never cried in public’ to “Oh, I’m crying on the bus.”

Falling apart in public became a frequent occurrence. Crying in public bathrooms, on buses, in the street and in the shop was no longer something within my control. It just happened.

I survived.

Unintentionally.

d19b964fae0f4e83a864f21cbfe42616( http://notsomommy.com/?utm_content=buffer56cf5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_campaign=buffer )

Sheila Jackson

Screen-Shot-2018-03-15-at-3.55.51-PM
Maggie O’Neill – Sheila Jackson
( http://www.kiwireport.com/cast-shameless-uk-like-now/ )

In (approximately) 2006 a friend came to me, “Have you seen Shameless? It’s brilliant. I love it. There’s someone in it who is agoraphobic, like you!” They leant me the DVD’s – I watched a couple of episodes…

“This is not agoraphobia.”
“Is this meant to be how agoraphobia is? Am I even doing this wrong?”
“What is this?”
“I don’t want to ever see this again.”

I never watched it again. It made me feel sick. I was so angry and so depressed. I should have very clearly been able to relate to this.

My friends are watching this. Is this what they think my life is now?

Even now, googling “Shelia Jackson UK agoraphobia” comes up with nothing but references to the character’s sexual ‘deviances’.

 

 

joan-cusack-shameless-tv-2011-photo-GC
Joan Cusack – Sheila Jackson
( http://www.snakkle.com/galleries/before-they-were-famous-stars-happy-birthday-actress-joan-cusack-snakkle-looks-back-on-her-career-in-photos-then-and-now/joan-cusack-shameless-tv-2011-photo-gc/ )

I have Netflix – Netflix provides me with the knowledge that Shameless was turned into an American show…

“Holy shit!”
“Oh.”
“I don’t know if I can watch this.”
“This is it! This is what it was! This was me!”

Never in my life have I been so pleased to find a show that represents me. There is humour, there is sex but the moments of this character’s struggle are so brutally honest that I sometimes cannot look. It is amazing.

I am also aware as I consider this, that each person will have their own experiences with such illnesses. I am aware that the UK Shameless had a large following and was adored.

American shows sometimes get the reputation in England of being overly dramatic, leading to me being unsure as to whether to tune in, to begin with. I had expected it to be extremely over the top and while it may be the case in later episodes (I’m not there yet), this character portrayed by Joan Cusack is a breath of fresh air.

It can be so difficult to find someone within TV/film who you see yourself in when you’re an unboxed member of society.

I am thankful that I found this, my 15-year-old self rejoices. Loudly.

Breathe

Moving does not solve all problems – I was aware of this. I had reminded myself of this everytime I saw a film where the protagonist’s past followed them into their present.

Moving felt like breathing. Almost like for the first time in my whole goddamn life, I could breathe easy. No more elephants sitting on my chest, no more gasping and no more struggle.

And then…

I visited. I went back, albeit briefly. The journey was no problem, it was very straightforward, however, walking back into my mum’s house felt like walking into someone else’s house. It no longer felt like mine, my room no longer felt familiar.

By the second day, I felt it. Sadness.

There was a shadow. I instinctively thought it was my cat, my boy. My cat that is no longer physically here. My boy, the life that ended because of my decision, because of my love for him. My heart not being able to live with the knowledge he was hurting, dying. He no longer waits for me at that doorway, it was not him.

Sadness.

3 days of hiding, of “Quick, cross the road. Cross the road. Quick.” to avoid not having to see people, of not wanting to socialise.

And then back again, home. The journey delayed by an hour did not phase me, my iPod dying did not phase me, I was numb.

And then finally

Breathe. Again.

I Don’t Know What This Is

Grief or Depression?

Symptoms of Grief:                                                           Symptoms of Depression:

Tiredness                                                                             Tiredness
Restlessness                                                                        Restlessness
Aches and pains                                                                Aches and pains
Anxiety                                                                                Feeling empty/numb
Difficulty breathing                                                          Difficulty speaking
Loss of appetite                                                                  Loss of appetite
Comfort eating                                                                   Eating too much
Trouble sleeping/too much sleep                                  Trouble sleeping/too much sleep
Lack of concentration                                                     Difficulty remembering things

( https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/support/bereaved-family-friends/coping-grief-teenager/physical-symptoms-grief )
( https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/symptoms/#signs )

I have been depressed. This feeling, right now, is different. I don’t know how, or why – it just is.

I have met grief, several times. This feeling, right now, is different. I don’t know what this is.

 

What Does Depression Feel Like?

It feels like silence
It is smiling and laughing
It is acting,
Pretending.

It feels like white noise
It is emptiness and self-doubt
It is living.

There are dishes to be washed,
The wash basket is overflowing,
The bed is unmade because
I have not yet left it.

It is realising time is moving on
The day has gone but,
you have not.

~ JustMe ~

Reaching

You came to me as a bairn
I reared you with such joy
You forgave me my mistakes
and loved me through my journey.

By my side, you stayed,
My shadow, gracious and true.

A content gent, you grew to be
As the years came to calm me,
so they calmed you, too.

Bursting to the brim with love,
with despair
My soul carries on reaching
Constantly searching
Hoping reality was not
That you are not really gone;
Just temporarily absent.