Twenty Nine

I posted this on my Instagram today:

For a long time, I took pride in being someone who was independent and strong, someone who had their shit together. But in the last several months, I’ve experienced again the wounds that pain and loneliness leave, had my emotions betray me and slip through the grasp of my control. I’ve cried in cafes, on public transport, at work. 

There were days where being ‘normal’ was exhausting and I was constantly running on empty, rolling through the motions of life but never feeling like I was actually living them. Not everyday was like this but when I wasn’t living in this bleakness, I was terrified and in anticipation of when it would hit again. For the first time in my life, I lost my appetite. I had no interest in food and felt nauseas constantly. 

I guess my experience goes to show that even if you’re not someone who identifies as having anxiety or depression, you can still feel anxious and depressed. No one is above mental health.

Today is the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week but I hope that our awareness extends beyond seven days in a year. We are all on our own mental health journey and we need to support each other in this. I can’t stress enough how important good communities are. Mine has helped me see that the future can be my friend again, that one day I will feel safe enough to go back to being recklessly optimistic and hopeful. They have made all the difference. We all have the ability to be that difference in our communities. Let’s be people who walk with each other and carry each other through everything that life throws at us.

Before pressing the “Post” button, I went back and forth, back and forth in my head about whether or not to go ahead with it. On the one hand, I wanted to normalise talking about mental health and open up that conversation but at the same time, I was scared of what people would think when they saw what I had written. Would they think I was just being a drama queen? Would they worry about my mental state and change the way they interact with me? I’ve never made myself so publicly vulnerable before.

In the end, I decided to post it because dialogue is so tantamount to a mentally healthier future. If we want to see our country’s suicide rates come down, and for society to be a safer place for people to open up about mental health, then we need to cultivate that now, in our own communities.

I’m not the poster girl for overcoming mental health issues, even though I talk about it in the past tense in my post. I’m not sure I’ll ever overcome mental health issues, or if it’s even possible for anyone to do that. I’m starting to see and understand mental health as a tunnel – sometimes you’re closer to the light and other times you’re in the pitch black. We’re all together, though, somewhere in the tunnel. That’s why we need to join forces, so that those of us closer to the light can lead the ones in the dark, out of it. And just because you might be in the dark, it doesn’t mean that the light has gone. It’s still there, it will always be there, waiting for you.

Twenty Six

It’s Thursday and the weekend is tomorrow. Once again I feel that dread of not having plans that make me feel like I’m making the most of my twenties. I feel like I should be doing more, having more fun, experiencing more things. Where does this pressure come from? The urgency and weight of expectations that I heave on my weekends actually detracts from my ability to enjoy them. In thinking that my weekend isn’t up to standard, I create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Who even sets these standards anyway? I do stuff. Sometimes I go out, sometimes I stay in, why is one better than the other?

Maybe I’m more affected by social media than I thought. Maybe I’ve internalised what a good weekend should look like through what is shown on Instagram and Facebook. But no one ever posts about a quiet night in snuggled up on the couch, watching a movie and eating takeaways with friends. No one ever posts about just spending time with yourself, reading in bed with a cup of tea.

We are so obsessed with being seen as doing something that we forget to just be. This is so cliché (and I kind of hate that I’m saying this but also secretly love it as well) but – we are human beings, not human doings. We should celebrate what it means to just be. We can’t always be doing stuff because that is fucking exhausting. We (I) need to learn to become more comfortable in sitting in the quiet times and just being – either with other people or alone. I think there are many of us who are scared to be by ourselves. But maybe for those of us who are scared, it’s more important to practice this?

I think we all need to practice the art of being to some extent – some more than others. I definitely do. The trouble is, I don’t know what being looks like. I only know what doing looks like. Being is this vague intangible concept – what does it mean to just be?

Seventeen

I’ve never really been an anxious person. And then I met him.

When we first started dating, I was always so excited to see him that I would have to go to the bathroom multiple times beforehand. Nervous shits.

Now I feel nauseas when I think about him, want to throw up on an empty stomach. My heart contracts to the point of pain and my fingertips feel tingly as my vision blurs.

I hate that I’ve been reduced to this, hate that I’m not stronger to overcome my feelings with logic.

I haven’t cried since the day I saw them together, and I think that’s because I’m not sad about us anymore. I just feel rejected and betrayed. Betrayed by what his actions lead me to believe, betrayed by what I thought I knew about him, betrayed by what I thought I read from the situation. In some ways, rejection and betrayal are easier to overcome than heartbreak because their solution isn’t specific to that person. For that I’m glad.

I was thinking the other day that because of my limited dating experience, I don’t have a lot of “near-misses”. And by that, I mean people that you are compatible with in lots of ways but for some reason, it doesn’t work out – the almost-theres, but not quite. Because of this, the loss of this almost-there relationship feels so much heavier and more poignant than it probably does for other people. In reality, the majority of us will likely have a lot of almost-theres in our history before we find our there person.

Today I’ve been wondering how many exes he keeps in loose contact with, just to keep that option open. Fuck that. I’m no one’s back up. I’m either your first choice or none at all. He couldn’t make that call so I’ll make it – I never want to see him again.

It’s freeing, to come to the realisation that I don’t want him back. Even though that’s not completely how I feel yet, I know this for certain in my head and it’s just a matter of time before my emotions catch up. This means that I can start dating again, and not hold back for him. Progress.