Today is one of those days, and it has been one of those days. Honestly. I’m sat on the stairs at home. Between the ground floor and the first floor. I got in and dropped my shopping in the kitchen. My jacket in the front room on the table. I rush upstairs because I’m going to wet myself.
I grab my iPad and my book. On my way back downstairs to write this, I sit on the stairs. I never have before. There are fairy lights wrapped around the balustrade, the entirety of the way down the stairs. Patterned tiles spread across the floor. The lights are a warm white. I’m comfortable. I don’t even know why I’ve never just sat here, but I get the impression I need (and/or) want to stay here. I’m comfortable.
When I woke up today, the usual first-things-to-do-in-the-morning things happened. While I had a look on Twitter I saw something about #WorldMentalHealthDay. Well, a lot of things. Weird.
As with anything that has a period of time dedicated to it, it doesn’t feel enough. I’m having a breakdown not one day per year, right? Anyone suffering, is not suffering for one day a year. They don’t wake up tomorrow feeling like God. Can God have mental health struggles?
One person, said that they have seen far more recently about people talking about their struggles. Not that they think there has been a rise (though I think there probably has been) but because people are more honest with it now. I guess. That makes sense. I am one of those people that have only recently been honest. Years in darkness, I was silent. Only partners knew. Only over the past year did it become blindingly obvious. Before, I ignored it and swept it under. In 2013 the girl I was with, told me I needed to get help for the good of us both. I failed to even seek help. That’s typical.
For years, I’ve wondered why I am here. Genuinely, it’s left me feeling lost just trying to understand why I want to know, let alone understanding why. It’s a task. Joshua Atienza said,
Living is an exhausting responsibility. 37.2 trillion cells in our body, but a part of me is still missing – my purpose to live.
Thank you, Joshua.
How can I sit playing a game on my phone how I do – looking mindless and numb – but inside I’m spinning. My mind is doing battle with my mind. What? Itself. Trying to understand how on Earth I got here. See, the Science always impressed me most in school. Especially Physics. Having even the basic understanding of how our Universe came to be, left me feeling elated. Building on that knowledge, I longed to know how everything came to be. It’s strenuous.
Out of all potential life in the Universe, here I am. Me. Hendrix Osiris Merlin Nash. In my 20s, constantly fearing the worst. Dying for any insight into why I am even supposed to be here. Dying, trying to know. Dying.
Walking to the shops. Going to the gym. Running on the treadmill. Hours of songs pass through my headphones but they all dissipate inside my skull against the overpowering thoughts of the Self. Strangers pass by. Strangers nod in approval. Or is it just a formality? What do they approve? They nod, anyway. Some seem to look right at me. But, through me.
I’m stuck, still, worrying this is The Hendrix Show. Everyone is an actor that can’t watch me for too long in case I notice. Fleeting glares and failed stares, I just want some focus.
Today, though, I touched on a lot of thoughts.
A conversation about the necessity to write reminded me of something an old form tutor told me. I was only 11, I think. Maybe 12. The lady taught Mathematics. Gripping, honestly. A bit nuts. She once kicked a window that was outside the form room. Entertainment at its finest as her thick Scottish accent blurted out a swear-word or ten.
Anyway, she told me something once that has resonated within me since. I can only paraphrase,
There’s a fine line between being a genius and being insane.
She told me, as an 11 or 12 year old, that I was dancing along that line. Cheers, Kate.
I now find that I’m far from a genius. I’ve tipped toward the side of insanity as I too regularly torture myself with the information that I was never good enough to tip toward the side of genius.
I’m on my break and I don’t quite know what has just hit me. I finished my food and rested Sartre’s Nausea on the table. The clock is staring at me as it dawns on me that I need to be back in 10 minutes.
I fixate on the clock. The realisation hits me that when I (maybe we, too) pay attention, time near enough slows to a complete stop. A snail’s pace. The clock is swallowing me as every second feels like an eternity and one rotation around the face feels infinite. The voices surrounding me merge into a single monotonous groan. Low in pitch. Absorbent. Failing to make out a single word, I notice it’s just noise. The clock is static.
I’m drifting, looking at the floor. Only a few minutes have passed but I’ve been noticed. My manager’s manager approaches me. Something like;
Are you okay?
I just nod, tell her I’m resting. Trying hard to focus and not slur my words.
Thoughts rush through me, but somehow I made it up the two escalators to the area I work in. The sound of Jessie Ware wakes me up and I am back.
The Moon lingers above the clouds. It’s early.. we’re approaching the short days I dislike the most. I peep outside; the small hole in the frosted glass overlay provides the slightest insight to the outside – though from within we can hear the weather, the extent of the damage is often unknown. An entire world has been opened up.
The clouds provide an evident contrast against the (relatively) clear blue skies. The Sun is still lighting up all buildings in sight. But, I can see the Moon.
I don’t remember the last time I saw the Moon and the Sun share the Sky so well.
I’ve not long finished work. Needing some shopping – you know, essentials – I’ve headed to Aldi. All I need, exactly where I know it is. No hassle. No having to ask where the eggs are. No asking.
I got what I need. Rice, eggs, vegetables and some juice. Apparently my rushing was too evident. The cashier has served me a lot over the past 13 months. They’re always friendly in here; talkative every time. But, I’m rushing? Or something.
You always look like you’re having a bad day.
I wanted to sink. Suddenly the broccoli wouldn’t fit into the empty carrier bag. The queues are always long but I feel like everyone has joined the queue behind me to marvel at me during my struggle. The lady immediately behind me is staring directly into my Soul as it spills out into my open wallet.
I swiftly gather the words on my tongue and remind the cashier that not every day can be good. I think she understood: normal conversation – formalities – resumed.
Walking home, I passed the same guy I always do. I think he’s homeless. Through, and near, the Lace Market area, you’ll see regulars. The guy with crutches that walks comfortably (looks that way). That guy with the big beard. The lady with the large ankles. Spilling out of her shoes, she pauses every 10 steps or so to rest. I feel like a multiple-lane crossing will be the death of Her.
It’s just peculiar. Today is sour.
Too easily can I (and we) walk by. Personally, though, I’m too wrapped up in this existential quarter-life crisis. I struggle, without a doubt. My mind is racing, again. Full of anger, sorrow, regret. All of it. These faces I pass are just that – faces.
Another guy I passed just looked vacant. A static body; empty. He stared straight through me as I ponder what is on his mind. Got me wondering if the occasional eye-contact with strangers is just accidental.
If just for a moment we would look beneath the surface, we’d see with more clarity. I’ve stopped and sat near the fountain. The lights shine through the water, switching from one colour to another. Mental whiplash takes me back to Turkey in 2010.
A boat-trip to Içmeler has a couple of stops for ocean swimming and snorkelling. I dive off the boat after having a generous helping of all-inclusive alcohol. The water was refreshing. These times I could catch a tan in the shade. Any rest was welcome. Any escape.
Treading water on the surface, the depths are hard to make out. My eyes ache as I look across the water, the Sun shining, with all it’s might, off of everything in sight. Looking at the water I’m left feeling like the pedestrians, passing by 20 Fenchurch, would feel 3 years in the future. Blinded.
I had to dive under for any clarity. Rich in life, the depths were full of it. As deep as I could see, as deep as the Sun shone, I could see fish. I long for more.
Then, before my depression was blindingly obvious, I still longed for the depths. I’d never before been surrounded by such a vastness. Nowhere to go. I was comfortable and I’ve been searching for that same clarity every day since.