Relapse

I’ve lost it again. I made the mistake of suppressing my emotions and forcing myself to be happy for others and as a result I have imploded. I don’t really know how it happened, or when it started but I know that I had to sleep all day yesterday and dreamt of awful things.

My partner couldn’t handle me so he left me in the house alone while he drank beer with his dad. I needed him and he left me… typical. So I slept. My body was worn out and I slept. I didn’t make him tea, or breakfast, or picked up his socks, scrubbed his kitchen floor or ironed his shirts. I slept. It was the best thing I could do for him, his alternative would be to not have me in his life at all to do any of these things.

He can’t seem to fend for himself anymore, he becomes a hopeless child eating dry crackers or nothing at all. Resenting me for not taking care of him when I need to be taken care of.

I’ve not felt so terrible in months, long before we got engaged, I was losing my grip on life and felt unwanted, as an unmarried spinster with no value at all to anybody. No decent wage to pay my way, a pathetic leech on his funds, I was ready to go and take my failure life with me to make his life better. I still feel a failure but at least I feel like a wanted failure with my solitaire diamond sparkling back at me from the third finger of my aging hand. He keeps me here now. I live for him now.

I can’t seem to clear my mind of the thoughts of what could’ve been, my silly hopes for my future that evaporated when I realised that I was incapable of achieving them, I was my own barrier to my success and I stood firmly planted in the ground, feet buried in cement when it was time to move forward. I failed myself and I make him suffer also. 

They should have told me that I’d never make it, that I wouldn’t survive but they just kept telling me I could conquer the world, but the realities burned up in the acid in my stomach along with my medicine and with any hope of getting better.

I imagine my wedding day, I see run mascara and an ugly bride walking down the aisle to a make believe life in a pure white dress made of newspaper, as worthless as the the woman wearing it. She doesn’t make it to the altar, she gets swallowed by the black cloud that has followed her for 20 years.

Dead End

I’m alone too often with my own thoughts, which isn’t good for me. 

I’m paid staff in a charity shop, with volunteers who don’t turn up half the time. So all I do is deal with people alone who treat me like the scum of the earth for a little bit of money.

I’m told I should be grateful, that I should feel like I’m doing something good, but I’m not and I don’t. I hate every second of it. Serving the general public is the most thankless aspect of my job and I hate being treated like I’m nothing.

This place reminds me of my life’s failures every day. How stupid I was for thinking I would one day be worth something.

I completed a 12 month training course last week at an attempt to prove to people that I had a brain and that it still worked, but again it only reminded me of what I don’t have. A goal or aim in life, a path to follow. I see no paths anymore, I think I used to, I can’t remember. There are no more routes to take, I stand on a square in the middle of the ocean waiting to be rescued but nobody’s coming and I can’t swim.

Not Again

I’m having a difficult time getting out of bed today. Watching movie after movie, I don’t want any of them to end but they do. The more movies end the closer and faster I get to returning to work after my mid-week two day break from my own personal hell.

Extraordinary lives fill my screen and flicker lights across the white walls. It’s like a cell not a bedroom, with a few dots of colour scattered, but mostly white, clinical. Imprisoned in it and left to watch subliminal messages telling me that my life is not good enough, forcing me to sob into the echoing emptiness. 

I wait for someone to report me to my doctor, tell them I’m sick again, keep me away from the place that breaks me down. There’s no one here to observe me. I live with the busiest man alive who doesn’t have a moment in his day to take in my deteriorating health and the distance I’m creating from him. I’m blank. Cooking and cleaning and reading books then falling asleep on the spot where I was frantically flicking through pages in search of answers that I will never find. He bowls through the door exhausted from working after midnight and thinks I’m asleep. This is our life. 

I can’t go to anyone and burden them with my sickness, they have worries of their own. I can’t even go out, I don’t get paid enough to afford the recreational activity of shopping or buying a hot meal. I can spend money when I need to and often I need to before the end of month. I’m sitting with my back pain recapping the agony of the first two days of the beginning of the week. Trying to see the end of a dramatic job that has no grand finale, it cycles around and around like a fairground ride until I’m sick and dizzy and can no longer stand let alone walk straight. Or see a straight line to the next ride, if I truly believe there is one.

Which I don’t.

I don’t believe there is an end to this anymore, that I’ll ever be happy again no matter what I do. I miss baths. They ended my days peacefully, I used to sit in them for hours, relaxing, crying, whatever I wanted to do in those moments of solitude, soothing my ageing muscles. Showers aren’t the same, they’re too quickly over, I can’t stand and calm myself down in a claustrophobic cubicle like I can in a tub, focusing my senses into a mindful state. We’ve lived here a year now, and in a year I’ve had no peace like that. It feels like a decade.

I’ve decided I’m leaving the house anyway. I’ll pay the consequences for it later.

Hungry

I need to feel alive again. I need to do something that makes me worth while. I’m just wondering from room to room around my cold empty house, waiting for the time to move faster so I can start cooking lunch. I don’t want to do housework, or read, or watch TV, I’ve been doing all of that for days and it’s not working. I want to stand on top of a hill and stare down at little buildings and tiny people going about their lives. I want breathe in the scent of trees and run through fields to feel my heart beating my body back to life.
I can’t stay here, confined in this little space, alone and left to play house while my partner goes to win his bread. I hate him for it, I hate depending on him for my own survival.

I loathe my pathetic life. I want to be at that peaceful stage where I’m grateful for oxygen but I only feel hatred for it, the more air I breathe the less air someone more worthy is denied. I feel guilty for being here, on this planet occupying space when smart, talented, more deserving people who were born into this world were wrongfully taken from it . When children die from starvation and I scoff bread and guzzle water like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t deserve to be here, nobody can say that I do, a snivelling wreck planted in middle class Europe to complain of the privilege. Except I am here. No drought or famine has killed me off, no disease epidemic or storm has taken me down, so shouldn’t I be doing something with the certainty of seeing in the next day?

Well I’m not and therein lies the reason for all of this. My precious time is not spent well, my fresh food and safe water are not savoured, my life is filled by making money for luxuries that I use to induce some sort of vague happiness from the pointlessness of the lifelong endeavour to get more from everything, to all but bleed rocks to feed the greed in human nature.

I look at my memories and the only ones of significance are the ones when I feel insignificant. When I’m standing on a mountain chewing a piece of ham and swigging water from a spring, proud of reaching the peak with only minor injuries that will take a few days to recover from, if that. 

I don’t believe we were made to conquer this world as we have, but only to enjoy it and help each other survive it and I think we’ve forgotten that. No one helps anyone, and if it came down to it I know we’d all sacrifice each other to get more, time, money, whatever… I’d be the first to go. I sometimes feel like the only one living, and everybody else are robots, programmed to group together and get along and I just want to sit in my garden and feed the sparrows.

Endings

It makes me sad when things end, in real life and fiction. The ultimate end being death, I mourn for characters in books as I mourn in real life. I’m not sure whether that is a trait of my condition or not.

I finish a book, a life ends, a movie trilogy airs the final part of the story, relationships cease and all leave a mark on me. I relate so much to the stories in books and film that they plant a seed in my mind that uproots all other memories exposing them, projecting them high in the sky with all associated feelings laid out like stars in the darkness. I feel only pain and self pity and wanting only for peace I lock myself away.

Losing friends and relationships dug up from where I buried them deep to forget them, suddenly, like a headache they interfere with my day to day activities and I find everything sad, I cry all over again, the same pain I cried out for in that first instance, and it’s all because of one ending. 

An ending so final, one with death or one without any hope of happiness, but also the ones that do end happily, with sunlight and life and a future. These things I never imagined for myself during my suicidal youth. I never saw hope. These stories invoke a powerful envy, something that I desired more than anything, which I buried first just before my life fell apart, covered in concrete, cast in iron, never to return, somehow manages to surface, it’s glow filling my life with the wanting of a perfectly happy ending that I only imagined as a child before people and the miseries of this world tainted my pure mind. 

That was all before the deaths, the assaults, the failed relationships, the opportunities lost, the medical conditions, the medications, the stress, the depression, the suicide attempts, back to my pure state I saw only love. My parents loved me, I loved them and the sunshine and the world around me. I saw one day loving someone, having children of my own, and them having children. A simple life of hope that chipped piece after piece of me away until this ugly chunk of rubble remains, glowing with envy of a fictional fairy tale of everything somehow working itself out in the end. That somehow, something will build me back up to remake something that resembles what I once was. Then everybody sits in the sunlight smiling at each other across a field of wildflowers, at peace in the knowledge that the worst things that can happen are over.

My hope needs more tears for it to grow, more endings have to push me to my limit before I can fight for my life inside my own mind. I’m holding my own battle and that too must end someday, and I don’t know how I’ll manage to survive that one if a good bye in the final chapter of a book rips me to pieces with the thought, empathy or memory. I come back to the conclusion that I always did when I was young, this illness will defeat me and take full control or kill me, either way I won’t win.

A Sad Day

Most girls see their Dads as their lifelong knight in shining armour, the indestructible trainer in your corner ready and waiting to step in and bare fist box his way through your troubles. Well, mine was anyway. Stranded in the city, call Dad. Car breaks down, call Dad. Boyfriend dumps you, rely on Dad to tell you that you deserved better and secretly wish he’d go beat him up to make you feel better.

My Dad stayed awake to make sure our dummies didn’t break as we slept in our cribs. The ever protective presence throughout child hood, but into my twenties my fathers protective shield around us began to crumble and fall down. He’s not there to change my punctured tyre anymore, or rescue me when I’m stranded in the snow, instead he got stranded in a place where we couldn’t get to him.

A few years ago, a container at his workplace arrived at the factory with an uneven load. The doors opened and before anyone knew what was happening, the blood from his head injury was staining the floor, air ambulance called, morphine administered. He had fallen six foot from the top of the ladder which was holding back the rest of the load of hundreds of one ton in weight palette trucks, the first of which knocked him over. He crushed his shoulder as he fell, suffered a concussion, hip and other wounds. He lay there until they lifted him into the air, listening half conscious to his co-workers debate on whether he was dead or not.

Long story short, he had to leave his job because of his injuries, has constantly been attending hospital appointments and having key hole surgeries since that day, has emphysema, diabetes and two walking sticks. My child hood hero is an old man, battered and broken, who I truly saw for the first time last night. 

I was driving to pick him up from the hospital, feeling anxious about being able to find a parking space, as usual, not knowing what to expect, I walked in to find a man sitting hunched on a bed, red stained gown, covered in dressings, arm supported with a sling. My heart sunk but I covered it well with jokes and smiles. I had to dress him to get him ready to go home, he couldn’t do it himself with one numb arm and the other hand covered in cannulas. 

I thought nothing at the time, just adopted the nurses way “come on then, hold your arm while I detach the sling, one foot first, now the next”, I could tell he hated it but I just got on with it as if I were the parent and he the child. Only after I had got him home and sat talking to him for an hour or so did I feel the sadness from having to dress my own father. I thought of my old uncles and my grandfather having to endure being taken care of by their children, my mother and cousins, before they passed away and I saw the future briefly as he said to me on the threshold “you shouldn’t have to do that but thank you”. 

I walked to my car all smiles and waves and in the dark I empathised his shame, turned the keys and drove home in a silent car.

I think that each birthday that I resent getting older is not because I feel sorry for myself ageing, it’s that the older I get, the older he does and my mother the same. I don’t want to imagine the inevitable future without my parents and as time moves seemingly faster in that direction, I become more and more reluctant to see each year through.

A Small Dose Of Oppression

My Grandfather executed his right as the man of the house to have full and ultimate control of the TV remote. We watched black and white western movies and the 1939 adaptation of Wuthering Heights until our eyes bled, we didn’t understand the plot even a little or the ‘greatness’ of Lawrence Olivier, how could we? We could barely make out his face on that tiny screen.

I just flicked to Film4 where Kirk Douglas and John Wayne are safe cracking and riding horseback through what was left of the American wilderness in 1967. I’m watching it and thinking of him, at first happy reminiscing, then it turned into… why did he want control of everything? 

Of course it wasn’t just the TV, it was the words out of our mouths, our stance, our clothes, everything that ‘pretty little girls should be’, what we ate and when we ate it as if we were privates on his Naval destroyer in 1943, except we’d be wearing frilly frocks and ribbons in our hair as we obeyed and saluted. All this time spent correcting us to what we should be and how we should behave while the boys played with worms in the garden and got mud all over their clothes to my Grandmothers dismay, but he didn’t discipline them for causing her work while she was in the middle of making dozens of sandwiches in prep for our 12:30pm – on the dot – lunchtime, and laying the parlour table with the gingham tablecloth, knives and forks laid perfectly apart. 

He would say she knew her place. A lady – an actual lady – from an extremely wealthy aristocratic family somehow got tangled with a Navy man, who would treat her like she was nothing until his death 60 years later, married with 4 children and disowned by her parents, he refused to buy her flowers for keeping his home and raising his children. His inferiority complex pushed her into his servitude and we were made to follow suit. Raised to be devoted to men who will treat us like nothing too, but we didn’t realise at the time what he was training us for.

We loved him don’t get me wrong, he was not a violent man, he had a sense of humour, let us comb his fluffy grey hair into a point while he watched football, and he reasoned with us, rather than commanded, as to why it would be beneficial to be this way, and that it would find us good husbands and we would have smart children. We believed he knew everything and therefore believed that this was how it was meant to be. 

He was from a different time when women weren’t much more than housekeepers and mothers, but in his class it was acceptable and necessary for them to stay home and cook and clean, he believed that if a woman needed to be sent to the stately homes to work as a maid that her husband had failed her. A woman was trained to find a man to look after, who would give her children and a house, this was ‘the right way’.

He wouldn’t have known the damage he’d done to our lives, as the times changed, the old fashioned values remained in the back of our minds, marriage, homes, babies. Except, we didn’t find anyone who wanted to marry us young as he had charged us to do, we got too busy working to focus all our energy on the ‘ultimate goal’. 

His life lessons failed and it left us feeling hopelessly inadequate that need not have been so if it weren’t for that strict upbringing that left us with nothing. My sister found a husband eventually and remains unhappily wed with a toddler and a part time job that she adores and a full time, permanent job of cleaning up after a careless man. I found a man who keeps me down in my inferior job, excluding me from any major decisions that involve both of us, and will not marry me after six years, there are no children in sight and I’m getting too old to have any. I can imagine from my grandfathers perspective that I could be considered a failure and I live with this alongside my university drop out and my current terrible job.

I can’t help but think that if my Grandfather had not created this idea in our heads, that the only way we could hope to live our lives successfully was bowing at the foot of another man, we may not suffer mentally as we do now. Perhaps his influence held us back from persuing a life that we wanted instead of a life we were told we wanted, and that the reason for our failures is because we were meant for something else but were too scared to stray from the path to find it for ourselves. We could be in very different places now.