2017- It’s good to be me.

Why did I stop writing? I suppose I stopped feeling desperate. I no longer needed the analogous umbilical cord that writing provided me with- a way to keep me alive when I had nearly stepped over the precipice of depression. Somehow I clawed my way back from that terrible, terrible place. These days I try my best not to think about it. I get frightened that- like Victor Frankenstein’s monster- I might accidentally bring the past back to life.. hating the feeling of my breath for reminding me that I am alive, imagining my soul as a withered and lacerated decaying lump, and feeling each agonising second like it was a stake being driven through my body.

I know that medication has helped to make a significant difference. A combination of antidepressants and mood stabilisers has definitely changed the way my brain functions. I don’t live in a house of mirrors anymore, seeing everything as scary and contorted. They have given me a new pair of glasses with which to see the world- not quite the flashy Tom Ford designer specs I’d have hoped for, but good enough to give me more clarity than I have ever previously had, which is a blessing.

I think back on my first and devastating break down, back in 2011, and I realise that my obsession with perfection had a huge part to play in it. Other personal and familial factors were also to blame, but it would take me a whole book to explain them so I will leave them, for now. Back then, I could not face up to my imperfections, to the extent that I saw parts of my appearance as evil and deformed. My self-hatred knew no bounds. This dominated my life for nearly five years, and in the end I had to make a choice between my quest for perfection and being alive. Perfection is an elusive concept, one which will always be unattainable and a cause of deep dissatisfaction with oneself and the world. However, because of my state of mind I also thought that meant that I was unacceptable and needed to die.

I escaped the jaws of self-destruction however, thanks to an amazing mother, grandparents, and in particular, a devoted father, who sacrificed so much in order to dedicate themselves to keeping me going and, eventually, after a whole decade of woe, into a process of recovery. Although I am never going to be ‘fixed’, since everything I have experienced is still a part of who I am at present, I am indeed feeling somewhat.. normal.

My limits are still smaller than I would wish. Each week that goes by is very much like every other. Familiarity, routine and control give me a comfortable foundation on which I can begin to build my life. But these are trade-offs I can deal with and on work on letting go. Maybe one day I will be ready to travel the world and live spontaneously. The important thing is that I am still here and want to be here.

My difficulty now that the tormented waters have at last become calm, comes from the sudden realisation that I really am alive, and that one day that also means I won’t be. Life once seemed agonisingly and needlessly stretched out in both directions. I resented that I was ever born and chained to the earth against my will. I longed for death which seemed so achingly far away. I always had one foot firmly in the past, destroying myself with rumination, scared to commit to the present which seemed empty and gaping. Like stepping over the event horizon of a black hole, time became a metaphysical horror and nearly tore me apart. Now however, life appears to me as small as a photon of light in an infinite and immeasurable galaxy. Knowing this, I wish I could live ‘Carpe Diem’. But the reality is I rarely even leave Winchester, except to go to university, and even after a few hours away from home I crave getting back to a place where I have full control.

So on the one hand (and perhaps prematurely) I feel the sand timer running down, and on the other, I feel frustrated and trapped by my mental self-limitations. I accept that life isn’t perfect. It’s fragile, temporary and full of mysteries we can never solve. So in 2017, I resolve to just be glad to have a chance at being me. I’m trying to do my absolute best at it.

With that said:

I am not what I used to be
I’m a new edition of me
I’ve got a shiny new set
of hairs on my head
I used to like winter
Now I prefer summer instead.

I’m still me you see
Just not as I used to be
Like the ocean is never waning
But the waves are a’changing
I’m exactly what I was
But also what I was not
and I know what I know
as well as what I’ve forgot.

It’s very good to be me
I hope you’ll agree
For there is only one
And without me
All that I am is gone
There will never be another
That could ever be the same
I don’t know where I’m going
But it’s good that I came.

So Hooray! Don’t delay
You have one more chance at today
And you can live it any which way
Grab a pen
Make a plan
And do what you can
Sing a song, blink your eyes
see a friend, watch the skies
Don’t agonise, be mesmerised
And sympathise, don’t criticise-
Oh I do enjoy to rhapsodise!
If there’s a limit
Then outwit it
For there’s no end
You can’t transcend
I’m telling you, my friend:

Although I am not what I used to be
It’s a miracle just to be guaranteed
As a certified a somebody
In a world so strange
and full of change
I am most pleased
To always be
A most miraculous
marvellous me.



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