(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

I fought

I fought so hard to get out of the revolving door of psych ward admissions. It was a fight, it was a damned difficult one.

Right now, I can’t quite remember why I did it. Why I felt that I should change into a less desperate human. With responsibilities, with purpose and all. 

Now, externally, I’m probably just your average common garden madwoman. Clearly not “normal” by any extents or purposes, but quirky and bubbly and smiley and harmless. As someone said, when I divulged a history of depression – “but Hannah, you are the most happy chirpy person I know”. From how my life is, I’ve clearly got some background with something, but to those around me I’m this happy Hannah. Who doesn’t want to offend, so when trying to criticise ends up using weird metaphors and sound effects rather than just saying the bloody comment. (Last week, whilst conducting I ended up saying something about carrots growing, and if we let their tops grow too quickly it is a straggly mess. Basically, I wanted to tell the group to enjoy the end of this piece instead of ignoring my arm movements and just speeding up and up until it collapsed onto the last note.)


Inside I’m not coping. I’m utterly conscious of the world and of myself. Church this morning smelt powerful, the words reverberated around my skull, deflecting off the voices and the noises that fill it. I noticed for the first time ever the tiny little flowers in the fabric on one of the side altars – I’ve been into this church most weeks since I was 2 days old, I’m employed by this church for goodness’ sake, that altar hanging hasn’t changed in my lifetime, yet I noticed the little 5 petalled flowers today as I was kneeling to receive communion. I still went to church, I needed to go to church for a bit of stability.

Being conscious of everything is overwhelming. Being conscious of the fact my grandmother died 8 years ago on Saturday. Being conscious of the fact the first time I injured myself for the reason of injuring myself was 7 years ago today. Being conscious that the world stinks. That I’m not fixed. All those hospital admissions to just keep me safe, all those therapy sessions in which I fought the case for Hitler being a far better person that I and the psychologist tried to make me see the alternative point of view, all those scars, all those tears, all that hurt. Whether I was broken or whether I broke as a result of catalysts, who knows. Hannah version 2 is painfully aware she is different to Hannah version 1. The version that had this wonferdul grandmother who was opinionated, hugely intelligent, kind and accepting, hilarious and most of all was here. I can’t hear her voice anymore, my brain has forgotten it. I could get out an old video cassette of some event when I was a child, maybe the fairly self-explanatory “Hannah is 5” video which has dodgy cam-corder recording of my 5th birthday party and listen, but I’m not sure I can deal with the inevitable sobbing which would result. It feels like my ribcage is about to collapse as it is, huge proper crying won’t help that. The crying now is enough as it is.

Words aren’t my comfortable medium at the moment. Music isn’t either, from what it seems. Maths is hard, but is being done so I don’t flunk my degree.  

The beauty of being mad is I see the world in different ways. I’m hearing the birds in the trees, the fact that the grey branches on the bare trees are going brown and red.  It might be grey and foggy and cold, but little things are making the difference. I just wish sometimes that it wasn’t so hard to see the world in my way. It doesn’t feel very much like the place I used to feel comfortable in, and I don’t know why.

I can’t remember why I fought to become me. The reasons, whatever they were, have been lost in my head over the last few days. Me, with grand plans for the world, with grand plans for me. But the overwhelming urge is just to ask “Why?” and I can’t answer that today. I couldn’t yesterday either.  Or the day before, as I sat in my grandfather’s house helping him with putting photos in frames (The most recent photograph of me is of me aged 11 – this podgy face with octagonal rimmed glasses smiling at the school photographer as if I smiled he would let me go back to class. Should probably find him a more up-to-date one at some point.)

I fought and I fought and I fought. And as I can’t remember why, it feels fairly futile to have done so. Why did I think I had got over it? Why did I think that changing into who I am now would make the difference? Why did I think it was worth the effort?
Today, I don’t know. And that is both petrifying and horribly depressing.

Apologies for the incredibly dark outlook. All should be more normal by St David’s day. One small week and I should be on the way back up. Or rather, just getting better at plodding through this without feeling so desperate.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it was just about realising that you were worth the fight?....and maybe you just need reminding of that now. Of course that doesn't mean that the fight doesn't go on...because it does and this new life that you've fought hard for isn't enough to silence the voices or keep the darkness away BUT it is a sign that you realised that you are worth fighting for.

    You say yourself that you were hospitalised for your own safety, maybe somewhere inside you knew that you had to start fighting as to not to would have been far too dangerous. Maybe that's the biggest incentive for you to continue to fight. Not necessarily because you always see the point in the life you have created, or because you think you will ever get to a point where there is life totally without the darkness, but maybe it's more about recognising that the life you had before was damaging and dangerous to you - maybe that's more of an incentive than all of the positives?

    I know that when you are feeling this low and everything seems futile it's difficult to hear positive things about yourself but try to cling to this. You have done an awful lot to be immensely proud of. The fact that you got out of the revolving door is huge. You did that on your own. That was your battle and you did it, and you built this new life. There may be times in the future when you still need that same level of psych assistance, but the difference now is that you know you can do it. You know that you have the strength to fight, constantly exhausting as it is - you did it.

    By the way, your comments re not being able to give criticism....lots of people find this so difficult. The thing is people will expect it of you when you are conducting. Try to think of it more as conducting and inspiring them and offering them direction rather than criticising them.

    Keep treading water. You are nearly half way through the week already. Keep noticing the little things like the flowers, keep seeing the world in your way and noticing beauty where others may miss it. Keep wearing stripy socks and baking brownies. Fall back on every coping mechanism that you can think of and continue to fight - because you have to and because you are worth it.

    Take care