For the best part of twenty years, I’ve been trying to escape the gravity of a particular insult. Most of the time I manage to succeed, but occasionally comes the point when, after a flashpoint or a particularly stressful situation, that derogatory term is wheeled out. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked for it to stop, but people have short memories and often find it easier to wheel out the nuclear option early on in a ‘discussion’ when they know it’ll end the debate and reduce you to mush.
Trying to explain to people what depression does to you is fucking hard work when you’re stuck in the dark. In those moments when all you hope for is a light and a friendly hand to help pull you though, often comes the realisation that yet again, there is no magic cure. Nope, still not getting better here, but managing everything far better than I have at any point in my life. I spend far less time stuck and disorientated, because now I can sit and write out the words I’m unable to vocalise under pressure.
Yes, anxiety is a pig. No, I don’t like being like this. Yes, I am trying to not get angry. No, shouting at you because that’s how I learnt to deal with this as a child is not the solution either. Really, truthfully, all this makes sense, even with approximately zero hours sleep. It is roughly akin to knowing the pieces you have in a puzzle make a picture, but you don’t have a visual guide on what that finished ‘thing’ looks like. There is the ability to pick out notable features and find the other bits to make a portion of a completed puzzle, but the lack of comprehension to work out how each feature in that whole is connected.
What makes it worse is that I’ve learnt to live without the need for completion. Closure is not going to suddenly make me happy. It won’t ‘cure’ me overnight. Management is the key now, I realise: if you really think that makes me less spontaneous, I’m sorry. This is the most adventurous and confident I’ve been for years. I’d not be pursuing the Patreon and trying to make sense of it all either. There would be no forward momentum. All I do now is forward, and I refuse point blank to go back. I know every mistake left in my wake. Honestly, you don’t need to remind me of any of them.
I am the problem here. That is an understanding that can exhaust me on the days when everything else is impossible. Trying to function as ‘average’ is an ambition on days like today, and guess what? I’m doing it. This is real, tangible progress. It might not look that way but trust me on this, if this was my last day on Earth I could say that yes, things were great, despite all of the turmoil that exists inside me. Sure I’d like to be happier, but sometimes, to make it up to the next level of your adventure, something needs to be left behind to lighten the load.
Writing makes me happy. Being able to speak without fear, and not to care that no-one could listen. That’s not the point any more: for so many years my voice did not matter and was irrelevant. I was never heard, truly, for what I was. Now I have a chance to change that and it will take a force of nature to separate me from this joy, for that is what it is. It is why I am happier than I have ever been, even on the days when surrounded in darkness. Finally, I am free to be what I have always been.
This is my true voice.