(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Day and night

So... err... I'm drinking again. You can frown at me all you like, you can remind me how rubbish I felt a fortnight ago, you can remind me why I stopped, but I don't think it will make much difference to me.

I'm also struggling. Each day I'm this public figure. I turned the pages of a cathedral organist doing a recital last night - I had people flocking to talk to me afterwards, literally. From the enthusiastic 14 year old girl wanting to know what it is like to be an organist and a young woman (erm, yes, it was a bit odd), to the 70 year old who came to talk to me about a concert I need to be involved in. Then another old man came to talk to me about remembering me as a 5 year old, and now I am famous (slight exaggeration...). And another (about how wonderful it is to have a woman on board and someone who extends the age of a committee by 45 years...). Oh, and earlier on yesterday I had an embalmer from the funeral directors flirting with me, as you all evidently do on an average Tuesday afternoon...

Anyway, each day I'm this wonderwoman. This enigma who isn't studying away from home but is still studying with enthusiasm. With the tag line "it suits me far better to study this way, it means I can be involved in many more things" to back up any questioning remarks. Who is always around certain circles of people in the community.
Each night, I'm struggling. Alcohol helps as it numbs the overwhelming feeling of being a fraud. I'm not this figure who is excellent, brilliant, talented, [continue with such words ad infinitum]... I'm the person who mucked up. Big time. Bombed out of university after bombing out of college. Who is trying to build a life which is my own. No dilly-dallying with things I can't possibly enjoy, because I've spent enough time being a misery guts.

Night times are becoming more of an issue. A really struggle. At about midnight each night  I realise that everyone else is in bed, that I'm sitting here with my body shivering, my head racing and the prospect of sleep before 2am looking more unlikely by the minute. I'd like an off switch. To turn it all off for the night and switch it all back on again at 8am. That shouldn't be too difficult to ask.
Struggling to stay safe. I'm not about to disappear from the face of the earth, that isn't an option any longer. I'm not about to need rushing to A&E either, it wouldn't be that dramatic. Just, well, urm, it's not quite as clear cut (pardon the pun) in my head. The main thing stopping me from hurting myself? I'm wearing a blue frock for a gig I'm doing on Friday and if I managed for some reason to have wound which leaked through a bandage onto the dress I would be mortified and horrified. One rule of mine is that my ability to perform can't be impinged by my ability to hurt myself. When I nearly lost the use of my thumb (note to self: stop staring at the scar and thinking what would have happened if you had not stopped when you did. And stop poking the scar so your thumb twitches, that is not helpful either) literally weeks before assessed performances, I made this rule. It sounds silly, but to have to stop performing, or give a rubbish performance due to my choice to hurt myself (for it is a choice for me I think) would be horrible. That is what is stopping me. That I can't risk it. Still doesn't mean the nightly struggle is any easier, it just is the reason I'm eventually getting through the night unscathed, for the time being. Lots of tears, to the point where the skin on my face is getting dry, but unharmed.

By day, I'm a fairly present figure. By night, I'm a crying mess. What concerns me is how long can I keep up the former whilst the latter is the case? Maybe ONLY as a result of the latter I can cope with the former?
However much I hate the word, "recovery" is difficult. When you are unable to cope with most things that is that. You don't. Or you do and then you feel worse. When you are back to standing on your own two feet again then it gets tricky. Because the reasons for putting life on hold will always be with you and you will always think of the whatifs. The hope for how life will be, that silly question asked by psychiatrists "where do you see yourself in X years time", suddenly is now back in your own hands. It's not a case of I can't do it because my head just isn't able to. It's a case of if I don't do it, it is because I haven't done the right things. I can't think of the words properly, I hope you get what I mean.

Going mad and staying mad is one thing. Going mad and trying to make a life which works is a completely different one. And really rather difficult too. *sigh*

1 comment:

  1. I can relate so much to this - "wonderwoman" by day and falling apart at night. Or whenever I'm not with clients or academics or engrossed in a job that really I'm pretty good at.

    I feel like a fraud a lot of the time, but my rational brain tells me I'm not. And I don't think you are either. You may have had to leave uni for mental health reasons, but you're doing a great job of studying through the OU and a great job in your career too by the sounds of it. Whatever "issues" you have and whatever problems those might have caused in the past, it doesn't make you any less of a success as an organist or in anything else that you do. Your results there speak for themselves.

    (Interestingly, a few freelancers I've spoken to have admitted they feel like frauds, when there's no reason for them too - promoting yourself the way you have to when you're self-employed is hard!)

    I find it so confusing yo-yoing between Residual Craziness and Research Student Me. I think it's been worth it though. Especially in my freelance work, it wouldn't be appropriate for my clients to know about my mental health history or for me to fall apart in front of them, so it can feel as though I'm putting on an act. At the end of the day, though, if my clients and yours are happy with our work, it's not an act, it's the real deal. :)

    When I figure out a way to stop falling apart privately, I'll let you know. For me, it comes and goes, and I think a lot of it comes down to taking good care of myself whether I have my professional (read: don't work *too* hard) or my mental hat on.

    Res x