My life looked different to me when I was eighteen and preparing to go off to school, I had stars in my eyes, and I was ready for anything. Throughout high school I volunteered, I created a music venue, and I made art despite the lack of resources. I was one of those supposed to be successful kids. Then mental illness hit. I don’t regret the last eight years of my life, I’ve learned a lot of lessons that most people don’t ever learn, or learn way later in life. In some ways it’s not fair, front-loading all of this pain, but I suppose if things get better for me I will be grateful for it. I tried for a while to protect my readers from what’s going on in my head, but to be honest I think all of us have these feelings, some more intense than others, some don’t survive them. I also don’t think that I wasted those years, there are many things I wish I had done differently, many paths that I wanted so badly to have not turned to. My reality is I will never get to see what those other paths could have taken me, so I might as well stay grateful for what I’ve got.
However, there are a lot of ugly parts about the hand I’ve been dealt, ones that cause people to stare briefly at my arms and look away quickly when they’ve realized I’ve noticed. Ones that wish I could have words to accurately describe what’s running through my head. Ones that wish I could explain the difference between being passively and actively suicidal so I can use the word without the panic of my peers and family. I want to live of course, sometimes that changes, that’s part of the illness. There are ugly parts that no one talks about, hygiene, lack of interest in contributing anything to society even your immediate society, melting my brain with netflix, not being able to create, ugly scars that will never disappear, and bad decisions, the list goes on.
The thing is, I always want to be stable, being happy consistently is extremely unlikely even for a neurotypical person, but stability is a dream for people like me. I think eighteen year old me would feel mixed about what I’ve become, I am not quite the driven person they knew, I am driven now for recovery, but I’m not in a spot where I am proud of the work that I’ve done outside of attempting to heal myself. This time is the worst demon I’ve fought, or rather a different demon that I’m not sure how to handle. I am glad eighteen year old me didn’t have to slay this one, because they were a dreamer, they were wide eyed to possibility and closed off to true suffering, well, teenagers always think their suffering is true, and sometimes it is, but it’s nothing compared to this monster.
I still have hope though, hope that just because this bout has been worse than any before, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be handled and managed. I have hope because it has taken an incredible amount of strength on my part to get through the past few months alive, and I’m there. I’m here. I still have a heartbeat. I can still create. I can still breathe. I have hope because the people around me are here, they are here, and when they tell me they love me I believe them.
A positive outlook will never fit me right, I wish it did, I wish I could see the good in everything, the silver lining, but I can’t. I am not that type of person. I do love fiercely, and I’d walk through hot coals for those who I love. At the moment I need some more support than usual. I need my people, and they are showing up.
As usual, be kind to each other, love each other.