It’s been a big week for me.
Today’s counselling session was enlightening, informative, but didn’t bring me much closer to closure than I was before I walked into that unmarked door, designed to ensure peoples’ privacy in a town where that concept doesn’t quite exist.
At this point, the struggle I find so hard to surmount is just how to drag myself up from the low points, or bring myself back down to earth from the high points without dragging everyone in my world along with me.
It’s the pressure of protecting others, whilst trying to hold onto yourself that makes depression and mental illness such an isolating experience.
Education is out there. Those with depression are encouraged to speak about it, and society is encouraged to try to understand it, but unless you’ve been there yourself, or are there right now, it’s impossible to understand the havoc it can wreak on a person’s life, relationships and psyche.
For me, the biggest problem I have is the feeling of being overwhelmed by confusion. Nothing specific has occurred to cause this incredibly black, soul-sucking emotion that stains every thought or feeling. It’s an instant-defeat of all plans, all ideas and all attempts at moving forward. Everything drips with that feeling of futility.
My loved ones’ mouths speak care, compassion and support, their eyes speak pain, and their voices speak exasperation because they’re not the ones trapped inside me and can never understand what it feels like to be lost inside your own mind.
Being told by your closest people that “there’s nothing wrong with you, you just think too much” is one of the hardest things you can hear because it makes me feel like I am just an annoying person who needs to somehow stop thinking.
If that is the case, if I am simply a person who feels too deeply or thinks too much, then what I need is to learn how to cope with that because the harsh reality is, if this is who I am, naturally, it is not a person I want to be for another 70 odd years. Not like this. The idea of that is exhausting and terrifying and I refuse to be this person anymore.
In just the same way that they’re not sure which Bri is going to turn up for dinner that evening, I have no idea which Bri is going to wake up that morning, or surface in the middle of washing dishes. It’s the inability to control my own emotions and the complete shutdown of normal thought processes that leaves me unpredictable even to myself.
That is why finding my way, alone, to the middle of the bottle, is the only place in which I find true peace. There is nobody else to either intrude on my solitude, or to hurt when the blackness pours out. It is most definitely not the way to medicate whatever is going on with me, but its certainly the most delicious, because halfway inside that bottle, the alcohol steps in and takes control of my decision and my personality.
The alcohol-brain doesn’t care who gets hurt. The alcohol-brain exists solely for me to be happy and have what I want in that moment. When I’m that girl, I am truly unrecognisable from the person most people know me to be.
In a world where my sober, clouded mind functions solely to please the people around me in order to gain acceptance from myself, tasting that selfishness that is locked inside a bottle is the most tantalising feeling I’ve ever had, and it’s one that I never want to end.
The poison inside me is that of worthlessness. Of not believing that I deserve the best in life. I think it is a lesson that was taught to me quite young, and one that I have since spent many years beating into myself.
For me to climb out of this permanently, I have to kill the person I am, and become someone who gives her own hopes, dreams and future just as much importance as the hopes, dreams or future of others. Who demands the best for herself, rather than for others, at the cost of herself.
I have to get selfish outside the bottle.
So how do you do that, and still hold onto your world? I’m getting a little tired of starting all over again and winding up back in the same old dark place, just with different furniture and extra wrinkles.
The title of this post is a question posed to me by a man who held my hand through my lonely Melbourne months and now is no longer here. Six years ago he asked me that question and two years ago, he ran too far for any of us to keep up.
I’m going to take my shoes off now and dig my toes into the ground.