Good days and possible Nirvana.
Is it cultural appropriation or insensitive to say that? I don’t know. Really unsure. But I’m sure that I felt it. I’ll get to that.
Backtracking, since my last post it would be a lie to say that things have been going swimmingly. I had a bit of a depressive episode before Christmas but I think that this was mainly due to persistent illnesses preventing me from doing things. Thank you, muggy, damp, bacteria-encouraging British weather. I was also anticipating with trepidation the removal of my wisdom teeth, the truckload of coursework to be done, and the first Christmas with my mother since my dramatic escape.
The wisdom teeth coming out was of course horrible. The first two days were fine, of course, and then the pain crept back. And an infection. And seeing as I was making everyone’s presents, this was very unwelcome. Also unwelcome was my boyfriend’s toothache, as I was unable to take care of him while he was taking care of me, and this caused ridiculous problems that are now resolved but quite frankly I can’t be bothered to go into. It’s all good.
Christmas was relatively stress-free. My mum thus far has managed not to be horrible to me for a record year and a half, broken only by a self-righteous reaction to being given advice and a small gripe about my weight. It dampened my Christmassy joy slightly, but not completely. On my return home to my boyfriend, joy of joys, we were both poorly again, and we were exhausted. I managed to do a solid day’s work on my dissertation, reading about the history of 17th Century sexual politics, reformulating my argument using a brilliant mind-mapping software, and writing over 1,000 words. I used a lot of spoons, but I was proud of myself.
After this, my euphoria was damaged severely by an awful PTSD-style flashback/nightmare about shouting and screaming and things being thrown. The next day when my boyfriend and I were working on our van conversion (our first home, since the UK economy with regards to young people and the working class is totally fucked), I was beating myself up about everything. Never mind that I cut an almost-completely straight line with a saw by hand. It wasn’t COMPLETELY straight. Never mind that I can use a drill. I was finding it hard using it at difficult angles that anyone would find hard, let alone me, who has very little weight to put behind the drill and not much height or arm length to provide any useful leverage. I ended up bashing a wall with a hammer, prompting my boyfriend to firmly tell me “Your mum is not here. She hardly even criticises you any more anyway. The only person criticising you at the moment is you. You’re actually doing a fucking good job and your attitude is wearing me out.” Some of you may think this was harsh but it really was what I needed to hear. From then I could physically feel anxiety releasing its hold on me- my shoulders relaxed, I felt warmer, and I could think more clearly.
The day before I had to go back to uni, we had a night in. We lay in bed, put on some relaxing music, and had a smoke. (PLEASE NOTE. I am not recommending smoking any substance regularly, either for recreation or to relieve any symptoms of mental illness. I literally only do this once or twice per holiday.) That night, I don’t know why, maybe it was the smoke, or maybe it was that I’ve generally been making progress, I don’t know, but I was so completely at peace. My senses were not hypersensitive as they normally are. Nothing in my environment jarred me; everything melted together as one experience; the music, the candlelight, the warmth of my partner, the softness of the bed. I only then understood how unpleasant my everyday life was. My mind was blissfully blank. There was nothing bad in it. I can’t even put a name to it, or describe it sufficiently, but I hadn’t felt this way since I was a very young child. I felt as if I had reconnected with myself- my original self- the one that was uncorrupted by experience and understanding, the one that was only just piecing together memories, learning to talk. I felt as if, if I opened my eyes, I would be in my tiny blue dungarees picking dandelions in the garden I had not seen for seventeen years, and I would have no memory of my life as it had panned out. I felt as if I had started again.
The next morning, things almost went back to normal. I was still slightly misty, but I could see through it. But since that night, something incredible has happened. I have not had a bad day. If I have felt anxious I have come out of it so quickly. My itchy feet have returned, it seems for good. Nothing has been able to stop me; not a headache, not a news article, that once would cloud my entire day in irrevocable sadness. I got out my guitar for the first time in about a year, and played MY song. I feel in control of my feelings. I just feel like me again, after such a long time.
I’m not really religious, so I’m not sure who to thank, because I keep looking to the sky to do so. But really the thanks is to my lovely boyfriend, who’s always been there for me. To a lovely girl I met at uni, who gave me the most thoughtful birthday and Christmas cards, and made me feel like a person. To my friend Rosie, who tells me every time I see her how worthy I am of love, as she’s seen me at my worst. To anyone who knows me who is reading this, really, because if I’ve shared it with you, whether you know it or not, you have been a part of helping me get to this point in my life where I can say that I can fucking do this. This life thing. I can do it.
Peace and love to everyone. You fabulous, fabulous bastards.