I filled in the form to refer myself to somewhere called ‘Westminster IAPT’ which specialises in something called “Talking Therapies”. I’m not exactly sure what that means, other than some poor sod is sat there on a dwindling NHS salary and paid to listen to Freudian nightmares like me spew forth all their problems.
It’s the next step, I guess, on the road to recovery. True recovery.
The thing with anxiety and depression is that it creeps up on you; you can be stepping out of the tube and suddenly you’ll remember something from 15 years ago. It’ll feel like yesterday and a huge bubble of guilt will well up in me, a horrible feeling that I gave a sticker for Alasdair and not Oliver and what a shitty thing that was to do.
Now I’m under no illusions; I know that Oliver grown-up, married with a child and probably doesn’t even remember that that happened. I’ll know that I’ll have to turn my mind to more important things, to the day ahead and the busy agency work that I’m supposed to do, but I’ll stand there near-paralysed with regret at what a terrible human being I was and the wrong, wrong decisions that I made.
I know that there are patterns which I repeat and repeat. I know that due to the turbulent and rifted relationship with my father I go for hyper-masculine men who inevitably only last less than a breath; who thrill me into the high of infatuation and then plummet me down into depths of despair that have me reaching for the pills and wondering. Wondering.
No, I don’t turn to drink or drugs. Let’s just be thankful for that. I never reached blackout levels of whatever it is that you’re supposed to do when you’re far richer, far higher profile and, for whom, depression and anxiety is simply the mental heath disorder de jour.
I mean, these days, you’re nobody until you’ve had a mental health disorder. Every Kardashian has had more mental health issues than they’ve had STI’s, and that’s saying something. When you have all the wealth to do or buy everything you’ve ever wanted, up to and including your own empire, you need something to fill your day with; a way to justify your own existence.
Sadly, I don’t have bottomless wealth. I don’t have an empire and I don’t have bags of free time with which to fill with therapists and trauma.
Much as I try to walk the sensible middle line I seem to jump between agony and ecstasy. I suppose, in a way, that’s what I want to try and fix. A break from the constant spinning cycle of up and down, brilliance and failure, ability and inability, joy and despair. It’s the same feeling as when I’m so tired and upset that I want to end it (yes, as I said to the GP, I have twice considered serious self-harm). But this is the antithesis to it, the angel to the demon as it were, although the ideal of seeking help for this is surreal and terrifying, it fills me with a release.
But it also fills me with sadness that it’s even needed. Are we not meant to be strong and resilient as human beings; are we not meant to be able to weather the little things in life? I suppose that’s precisely it — it’s the “little things” that I simply can’t do. Just keeping my mouth shut and respecting a really rather useless member of the global middle management, not reading too deeply into a text, just letting the little hurts go. Those are the things which bring me down.
I do so hope that undertaking this course will set me on the path to some sort of stability (I hesitated to write ‘sanity’). Is it too wrong to just to want to be normal, whatever that is?
Otherwise, things are pretty good. Chris is moving into the house soon, which will be great fun. The work at the big agency seems to be going well, they seem to like what I’m creating and the ideas I put forward. I have hopes that they’ll keep me on. I spoke to the line manager today about how much I was enjoying working on the floor and she said she’d mention it to the HR girls. And if not, I’ve had interest for two roles on LinkedIn, with one of them being at Account Director level. The other being for a digital specialist with particular interest in gaming and entertainment. Right up my street!
More and more I think that gaming is the sector I want to go into. I just get entranced by the stories and the fantasies, the colour and the seemingly infinite possibility. The characters and the fantasy. Even mobile games and card games like Hearthstone. They tease over my brain like soft feathers. I love them. I love them for the joy that they can bring, I suppose the way that some people love movies. Yet what could be more magical than working your way through a story where you not only read or watch a character, but control it?
I only wish I got the chance to play them more. Maybe if I’m sly I can work that into being part of what my new “talking therapy” needs me to do, shut up and play games.
Perhaps that’s another reason for why I need help, forever wishing to delve away into fantasies rather than face the realities of what is in front of me.
Reality is just so much less interesting, most of the time.