At the moment, I am feeling that my life is definitely in a waning period. Whilst it was waxing, albeit sluggishly, enough for me to get back to work and try to be a useful citizen (and ensure I still had some money coming in to pay the mortgage!), things now don't seem to be going to any sort of plan. Or certainly not any plan of my knowledge or formulation…and as I don't believe in divine beings and so forth…
I am managing to get to work each day, this much is true [Edit: Since I first wrote the start of this, I've now been off work for a week...I managed one further day!]. And it doesn't even feel as 'skin of the teeth' as it did there for a while. But, unfortunately, with success (if you could call it that; simply the ability to hold down a 9-5) comes obstinacy from every other area of my life…it has created such difficulties with everything else. Kick-back I guess.
My house is now back to being what the intellectual might term 'minging', I am finding myself increasingly alone and, when any interaction with others is called for, this seems to be fraught with tensions. Perhaps it is time for me to just crawl back under my rock? Ok, so it offers few solutions, but at least it has a familiar scent.
("I now believe that depression is not a 'psychiatric illness'. Depression is a coping mechanism, a withdrawal within oneself when reaching out to others has become too painful, too risky. Depression is an unhappy place to be, but for the person who suffers with it, depression is the lesser of two evils." - Terry Lynch)
This once would not have been enough. Now even the basics are too much. It used to be that I (at least felt I) could valiantly take on anything that was thrown at me (sometimes literally!), and even lick the edges of the bowl. As I have travelled through the corridors of time, I seem to have misplaced one of the ingredients!
The help I have been screaming for, aloud for some six years now, silently for much longer, has been a devil…it hasn't even bothered with the disguise. Not exactly forthcoming, there was, latterly, at least some perceived light at the end of the tunnel. And even though this light was an intrusion, it was apprehensively welcomed as what can only be, long-term, a good thing, something which will, finally, allow me to flower.
I have waited a year, patiently, as instructed. I have had many difficulties, yet have remained polite. Then I was told that the year was going to slip to two, next to two and a half…somebody out there is desperate to keep me on the bottom of the pile…and I'm not even talking metaphorically. Finally, a knight (or knightress?) in shining armour, sword snicker-snacking through the undergrowth, showing me the path…and yet I find myself still waiting.
My head is just about above water, but I really don't have to squint much to make out the obstacles, snares and nasties in the murky depths below. I wave solemnly as I see various aspects of the life I want to live float past, just out of reach. I am treading water, unable to swim against the current…and I know my legs won't hold out forever.
The darkness closes in, reliably as night follows day, follows night, follows day, around me…and I find that I am still alone. The air is heavy, not enough to breathe freely, and as I gasp and splutter I wonder, sometimes, if things would just be simpler if I let myself go with the current…let it take me where it wants, let the water have my lungs.
But I am too proud…and such a good swimmer!
And the make-up is applied so meticulously, in such a practiced way, that the cracks don't even show any more. But if people can't see for themselves the dark recesses, the shadows that follow me around, or hear the creaking of the walls closing in around me, all my strength in trying to hold them up, then how do they know to help? My voice barks loudly, the meaning of what I say ignored, trampled, misunderstood.
This idea of walls is something that, in my little brain, I often return to...the best analogy that I can find is that it often feels like I'm sitting on a cold stone floor of a bare room, in which the walls are painted black. There is a rope attached to each wall, and I've got to keep my grip on all of them, or the walls will fall in around me. But I'm struggling to hold onto all of them, and even if I just let one go...kablam! I feel them slipping. Or, you know in films, like Indiana Jones, where the walls are gradually inching closer, threatening to squash you? Well, I don't have the strength to hold them back and keep them at bay.
If I could just grab the string of a passing balloon, the shiny, swollen hope it offers carrying me off to new worlds beyond the horizon; new worlds where troubles drift away and I can learn to be someone new. But even balloons are so flimsy, so vulnerable and unpredictable…
Eventually, I will sink, limp, down…coming to rest in some undiscovered underwater cave…dark and fearsome. And I will drown or grow gills before they find me! My limbs with atrophy, and what they find will not be identifiable as human…if indeed it even started out that way.
I ebb with the tide…and ebb..and ebb…
Your words, your ways…they have changed me. I have strength in that I am still here. But it is strength enough only for survival…not for life, not for union, not for joy. I was not built to be Atlas and my shoulders cannot withstand the pressure bearing down upon me.
It was supposed to be that I would be free without you…set out until the barren moorland became a blossoming meadow. But I didn't get enough light, and it stifled my growth. I don't know how to cope with the world that is not you…that is all I have learnt. The weeds have been plucked, but the roots remain, undisturbed, festering. And it grows apace, underground, undetected.
And so, surreptitiously, your punishment continues…