So, it’s been a while since I have posted anything – sorry – busy life now! It’s easy to forget the places you’ve been in when the places you’re at are so much better, but with MH Awareness week just gone I thought I should post something.
Who would have ever thought that there would be positives to having gone through hell? I never did. It’s all about what you make of it though that depends whether you will have positives. I’ve met people who have come out the other side of depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders etc and have wanted nothing but sympathy. That’s cool. I’m not going to give them sympathy because I don’t believe in it but it can be nice to know you’re not alone and I get that. But, I’ve also met people that have come out the other side of such illnesses and grabbed life by the balls and I think this really is the most admirable and courageous thing anyone can do. To know that hell is a place and that you’ve been there and seen nothing but the dark side of the world and the people in it but still you’re living life and positive is a quality I have no words to express.
During my time at uni, I’ve met a lot of people who have had anxiety and depression, and some still have it. One particular person couldn’t walk into a lecture before, she didn’t know what she was afraid of, but she was afraid and no matter how much she tried to overcome that feeling, it just wouldn’t budge. We started uni together, on the same course and are one year apart in age. She’s a legend. If you met her you wouldn’t know that she couldn’t get out of bed at one stage. From the beginning she put herself out there and signed herself up for different student roles and we became friends. You know exactly who you are – keep being a legend.
Another person who’s pretty damn amazing I know who still deals with her anxiety. She takes her medication and occasionally gets a panic attack but she god damn slays! She overcomes her fears and does it with dignity. Sometimes she thinks the world is going to collapse onto her but other times she’s up and doing the do and building her life. Another girl I met last year was doing a medicine degree and so had chosen to do a degree at my university in one year. ONE YEAR! She struggled with depression and had serious family problems. We could relate to one another in that way and many other ways for that matter. Every day she would get up and go to her lectures, she would party hard in the evening and train hard at the gym. Another slayer.
It’s hard to be a student in a very student environment and still pretend to be a ‘normal’ person. I’m not saying that I admire these people for pretending to be ‘normal’ because they don’t pretend to be normal and that’s really what I admire them for. They know they face struggles that other people don’t face but they don’t let that take control of them. They carry on with their studies, activities or whatever else they have to do.
Of course I admire many more such people but to describe all of them would take too long.
Being an addict, I am all or nothing. I am black and white, I don’t understand ‘grey’. I was in a very dark place for a very long time not just with my addiction but with depression and bulimia but I know it can get a lot darker than where I was (it’s hard for me to imagine but I know it). When my absolute rock and best friend took her own life I realised that you can never predict the future or wish someone back and everything you wished you said, you should have said. When someone so close to you goes so suddenly it finally hits home that you’re not invincible and shit certainly does happen. You’ll meet people along your journey, some of whom will build you up and others will tear you down. Hold onto the ones who build you up. They don’t have to get where you have come from nor even say anything when you have a break down – they just have to stay with you and take you as you are.
I have realised that whilst I’ve got the capability to do some nasty and horrible things to people and myself, I also have the capability to do the exact opposite. I’m not saying I’m going to be in this mind set forever, I am saying that right now this is the mind set that I’m in and I’m not worried about forever right now. I say what I mean. No one has time to deal with hints or ‘beating around the bush’.
I often think about my friend and wish she was here to see the beauty and fulfilment that life has to offer. She could never see that she would come out the other side of her depression. When I was travelling I could see a volcano spit plumes of smoke and spit lava and I wished she had been there to see it with me. I heard lightning strike a nearby building, I felt an earthquake. I gave a lift to a hitch-hiker. I partied in the streets and saw the most wonderful colours all together like an exploded paint tube. All of these things I wished she had seen with me before she went. But she didn’t and when you realise that life can be so fulfilling, all it takes is determination and a positive attitude, you make your life fulfilling.
I realise that no one is here forever, and since the passing of my friend, many more of my friends have also exited this world. I’ve learnt lessons from all these people. I want to die happy. I want to die knowing that I’ve made the most out of my life and I haven’t let my past predict my present or my future. When you’ve been so close to death you lose the fear of it. I’m not afraid of dying and when it comes, it comes, but I’m not in a rush to speed up the process anymore. I think you’ve got to have experienced hopelessness to feel hope, shame to feel pride, guilt to feel freedom.
No one is innocent or untainted by this world. It leaves an unfavourable mark on all of us but that’s the beauty of black and white; with black comes white. I’m no longer ashamed of the scars that cover my arms and legs. They are my history and they remind me of how far I have come. Nor am I ashamed to deny alcohol or be the only one sober because it reminds me of how resilient I am. I’m not ashamed that I have spent a lot of time in institutions. Those institutions have taught me a lot. I value the lessons that life has to give. I don’t seek these lessons out nor do I learn from them first time around. I take every day as it comes. I don’t imagine problems but when they come I deal with them. My mother cried when she dropped me off at treatment, she thought she was never going to see me again. She thought that the next time she saw me I would be in a coffin. I can’t tell you the joy I experience when I see how proud of me she is. I’m now the daughter she has always wanted and she’s the best mum in the world. My mum is also someone whom I admire for her ability to have been in hell, dead in every way but the literal, cope with it and still remain positive. I have the ability to feel great things now and that’s only because I’ve seen hell. There is no such thing as heaven. As I said everything and everyone is tainted or scarred. We all have histories.
I think a lot of people who take their own lives know that those they love and care about will go through hell themselves, but it’s not enough to live for other people. I guess my message is that if you feel like giving up, don’t. Just wait. Great things are waiting. Don’t leave the world feeling hopeless and already dead. You need to be ready. Ready is not when you want to die. Ready is when you have no regrets. Ready is when you’ve done everything you wanted to do, fixed relationships you wanted to fix and still love seeing your family and friends. You need to be happy when your time comes to go. That’s ready.