I’m struggling, guys. I’m really, really struggling.
I could think of dozens of metaphors and short poems to describe this “feeling” but none seem to fit the base need I have: the need to confide openly. And, quite frankly, I don’t have the will or motivation to think up poetic comparisons.
The last 12-15 months have been rough, even by my standards. In (almost) brief, I started, and have now left, a job that had potential to be great but caused me tremendous emotional pain, endured a rapid decline of my 3+ year relationship into emotional abuse and manipulation before ending things and suffering the fallout, I made and lost a best friend to betrayal, selfishness, and threats of violence at a time when I really needed someone on my side, and have most recently moved out of my 7 years home of Plymouth, back with my parents, miles away from the few friends I still have (had?) left.
I am so… lonely.
I am so… ashamed.
How did I let myself get here? How did I let my life erode so deeply?
How this, why that… I could ask so many questions and not find any good answers. Why did I stay in a controlling relationship for months and months after my eyes had opened to the raw truth of it? How was I so weak to let my job push me to crumbling… again? How am I supposed to get through this without a solid “support network”?
I suppose, with a more positive outlook, I could rephrase those questions and have the answers: “I did my best”, “it’s okay to step away from something causing me pain”, “I’m not a failure unless I give up”.
“Ay, there’s the rub!”: I feel, a little, like I’ve already given up. I already see myself as a failure. I already let myself be walked on, pushed down, talked over. I already gave all the love I can muster with this soul and where has that gotten me? I don’t want to answer that, you get the picture.
I’m trying, guys. I’m really, really trying. I don’t know, I guess I just need some encouragement, an outlet, and if I can’t get that solace from The Hell Butterfly then what have I spent my time keeping this up for?
I want to be okay. I’m getting so sick of crying. There’s the initial catharsis of the action, then just a deep melancholy, a loneliness, a darkness that just won’t let the cycle end.
I’ll get through it. I always get through it. I just wish I didn’t have to keep “getting through it” time and time again. I need this awful universe to cut me a break. I mean, don’t I deserve it?
I never liked Monopoly,
we used to play it all the time
when it was raining.
Steady dripping pitter-patter
of the droplets on the canvas
… it made me wonder.
In sheltered spaces of our singular worlds;
the dog, the iron, the boat
I am the hat, it suits me best.
But that’s beyond the point.
I never liked Monopoly.
We played it all the time
when we were bored and stuck inside
the flimsy canvas of our tiny world.
Rained in again, no chance to go outside
and so we play.
We play at money-making,
We take a Chance:
“Go straight to jail.
Do not collect £200.”
Our freedom dependent on
the roll of a dice.
I never liked Monopoly.
When the opposition owed me money
I told them “keep the change”.
I never cared for exact sums;
The paper rainbow of the game.
Brighter than the real thing,
it makes you want it,
makes you want the greater value;
five zero zero, dollar signs in the eyes
of the materialistic.
I used to play for the sake of playing
before I learned to hate the game.
I never liked Monopoly.
Pretending at success in round
of paying money;
to earn more money.
How like the Boy who Lived; to know
the yearning for the unattainable.
Before my eyes I see it, feel it almost
but I cannot grasp at it, slips through my fingers
like the traitor water in the font that mocks,
Outstretched fingers to an object of defiance;
never shall it surrender,
a mutiny against the hands that pray for it.
Perhaps to drink may let me…
Yet would I
if I had the chance, take hold of what destroys?
Time and time again it screams,
but do I hear it now? I cannot tell.
Whispers tearing through the throat that
Voices of another life,
another time in which I might have heard them.
And hear them yes, I did, but now…
I cannot hear it anymore.
No more do the echoes of an idol
call to me.
O, Boy who Lived, how could you make him drink?
To know it hurt, a poison to the lips
of he who taught you all you knew,
who spoke to you the only
words that you held dear.
And yet I wish for it.
To drink perchance to know,
Know how to feel again.
To feel, perchance to live.
Do I live now?
This is both my first blog post written and published on my new phone and my first post at all this month. I should be sitting here thinking about how this may look when I hit publish, if the format will come out okay, or if you my readers will accept my neglect of The Hell Butterfly. Instead, I have been thinking about how depression is like custard.
Depression is like custard. Your brain is like a swimming pool and the water it is filled with is your life. You have to learn to swim in it. As a child you cannot swim, but you have the in-built knowledge that means you already secretly know how. At first you wear the armbands of Mum and Dad. They keep you afloat until you learn to swim alone, and by then it is second nature.
Then one day you realise you’re getting tired. Your arms and legs don’t work so well anymore. Staying afloat is not so easy. You begin to drown. But then the water begins to drain, replaced from outside by a steady flow of custard. This thick, yellowy substance starts pouring down on top of you. This custard is depression. You know that you must get above it or you’ll be lost forever.
So instinct drives you to get out of the pool. The exertion that it took to lift yourself out with custard raining down on you has all but killed you and now fatigue makes you kneel, sit, lie down. You no longer have the energy to stand up. All you can do is watch the water get overwhelmed by custard. Watch your life be overwhelmed by depression. You are outside of yourself. You are there but you are disconnected from the chaos. The water is draining, draining and you can’t even get up off the floor.
And then the flow of custard stutters. The stream becomes a mere trickle, little bubbles of yellow goo growing and detaching to hit the surface every now and then. You can still see one patch of water in the far corner and you know that if you could just get to it you could turn on the pump and get the water back. You’re so tired, but this is the only way to make everything right again.
But you’re so comfortable down here. You can finally rest. You’ve been swimming so long you never knew how good it felt to just stay still. Be so quiet and so still … Maybe you don’t have to make it to the other side, you think. Maybe you can just stay here and enjoy resting until the pool has finished filling with custard. It will all be over then and you’ll never have to struggle again.
But you know you should get up. You know you have to get up. You must.
So you drag yourself up off the floor, arms shaking from fatigue. You prop one knee up, then the other, and you stand. You’ve been swimming for so long that you don’t think you remember how to walk. The complex act of swimming has replaced your knowledge of walking, the simple act of surviving. Now, with legs trembling in protest, trying desperately to hold your aching frame erect, you take a step towards the poolside. A breath and then you go.
Depression is like custard. You can walk on it so long as you keep moving. Steady steps, balancing your weight so evenly and so calmly. That is how you make it over alive. But when you stop walking, that’s when you begin to sink. Like quicksand the custard will claim your soles and down, down you’ll go. And the deeper you sink, the faster you fall. The deeper you sink, the harder it is to get out.
By standing still, you are doing nothing but falling. If you let yourself give in to the fatigue, give in to the desire to rest eternally, all that awaits you is certain death. But if you keep moving, you will make it, I assure you. You have to force yourself on, push your body and mind to the limit. You have to go on knowing if you make it you must start swimming again, must swim forever. But you must do it.
And you must do it remembering you have to learn to walk before you can swim.
As most of you will know, or will soon find out, the brilliant man Robin Williams took his life within the last 24 hours.
The passing of great actors, singers, celebrities is always a painful moment. We grow up watching them on television, listening to them on the radio, and then bam. They’re gone. You almost feel it like a physical blow. You didn’t know them in person, but you recognise that they played a role in your life to some extent. So when they pass, it hurts.
Before I go on, I want .. No, I need to say something. I did not know him personally. I do not claim to. I cannot say that “he was a great man” or anything that suggests I knew what kind of human being he was. Neither do I claim to. I wish to pay my respects to him, and to his family, but I do not wish to pretend my life has been shaken by this loss. Some people may hate me for saying it, most of you probably won’t understand why I say it. But I do only know him as an actor. I didn’t know his family. I didn’t know his life. I didn’t know his mind. I, as the rest of the world, will feel his loss in the world of the screen, and we will join in worldwide mourning, but the only people who have any claim to say they will miss him as a best friend, a husband, a soulmate, are his family and those in close proximity to his life.
For me, it hurts more that it appears he passed by his own hand. Anyone who knows me, knows how deeply the subject of suicide effects me. And while the reports are unconfirmed as yet, it still pains me to imagine this is the way he went. Again I don’t pretend to know his life, but from the news I have found out he battled depression and drinking. He checked himself into rehab to fight this. But his demons won over this time.
It is sad that anyone feels the need to take their own life. On this occasion, it was aired on international television. For anybody to reach a point where they feel suicide is the best option is heartbreaking. Just because the whole world will feel this blow, doesn’t make it any less painful at its core. I lost a school-mate last year to suicide. That hurt bad enough. I don’t think I ever spoke a word to that person and yet I felt it, because I understood it at the heart of it. I feel that darkness, I understand that pain.
Actor, school-mate, passerby, nobody. There is no difference at the core. They are all human. We are all human. We all suffer. Some suffer more than others. Some get half an inch in a local paper, some get a Breaking News headline on television sets across the globe. Some will not be recognised at all. But they all suffered, and they all fought, and some of them fell.
Robin Williams was an incredible actor. No words in the English language are sufficient to accurately portray how talented he was. I won’t say it’s a shame to lose that talent, as that makes it seem that his loss will be felt only in terms of his acting. But it can’t be denied that the place in which he sat among the greats will remain unfilled for some years to come. It will likely remain a spot which will never be filled, from lack of equal talent, and out of respect.
I will not go on about it anymore, but I do have one final thing to say.
While I know you cannot see this, the feeling behind these next words are genuine. To the friends and family of Robin Williams, to his loved ones, those grieving his loss, I send my condolences. While I sit here and know him only for Flubber, Aladdin and Good Will Hunting, you knew him as something much more than this. He held a place in your hearts that he cannot hold in mine, and for that I give you my utmost sympathy.
Farewell, Robin Williams. May you sleep, forever peaceful and content, wherever you may be.
I’m not going to waste time apologising for my absence. Frankly, I’m too tired. There are no excuses except that life got in the way. It was boring and nothing really happened, but The Hell Butterfly became suddenly unimportant.
I’m sitting here typing this at 3:07am on a (now) Wednesday morning because I have this nagging itch to go into the kitchen, find every pill in it and wash it down with the peach shnapps my best friend got my for my 21st birthday last month. For obvious reasons, I’d rather this didn’t happen. I’m stressed, I’m depressed, I’m beyond tired and I just want it to end. Funny how only a few months ago, when things in my life were rosy and well, I was telling you all the world was a wonderful place to be. Now I’m telling you the truth: it sucks. “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it”. Truer words were never spoken. My solution? Jump ship. I’m the only Captain here, and anyone still on board this soon-to-be-shipwreck is gonna get dragged down if you don’t get out soon. It’s only the Captain’s duty to go down, not the crew, and not the passengers.
But shitty ocean liner analogy aside, it’s all bleak to me. (That was a weak attempt at linguistic humour. I’ll stop now). You know that car wreck I was a few months ago? And a few months before that? And a few months before that too? Well, surprise surprise, that black cloud is back to rain on my entire fucking parade and my tissue-paper float is disintegrating. I hate it when this happens. Spend all that time making paper mache and cardboard cutouts, show up in time for the much anticipated parade and the goddamned heavens open. No prizes for best design this time.
I’m in too foul a mood to get into the nitty gritty of what’s shoved me here, but I suppose it can’t hurt to waste a few seconds stating the facts. While all was well with M24 for a while, the last month my overactive, stubborn, clingy brain collided with his nonchalant, generally male nature and thus I almost gave up. I’m not cut out for relationships, I don’t need experience to tell me that. This last couple months is proof enough. I’m shit at it, and wondering if putting in the effort is really worth it. But that’s not it. There’s uni too. Sure, I’m done now an got my second year results back. Yes, true, I passed with a 2:1 (most people would say that’s great but hey, I’m not most people). But third year is looming and right at the most crucial moment, my mind goes blank: the dissertation. I’m fucked if I know what to write 12,000 words on. I’ve never written a 40 page document in my life aside from the novel I spent several years working on, and even then I’m still re-writing it. Once again I’m seriously considering dropping out of uni. Fuck a degree, fuck a future, fuck a career, fuck success. It’s too hard. I want the easy life. Maybe if I let myself fall to rock bottom I won’t give a shit about pulling the proverbial trigger. I just want it over.
I’m a little reluctant to stop typing. Because what the fuck am I gonna do when I stop? Right now, my mind is focused on the singular task of writing about my shitty feelings. But when I’m done, and the rant is over, life’s gonna deal me a huge steaming pile of reality. I don’t wanna think. I don’t wanna cry again. I want to brainstorm for my dissertation, and pigs want to occupy international air space. The only outcome I foresee in ending this post is a bout of stress crying while I brood to Evanescence, a rummage through the medicine drawer for a stock take, and a sleepless night.
But fuck it. All things have to end somewhere, right? Guess this is the end of the line. Time to let this puppy sink. Let the drowning commence.
I failed miserably at NaPoWriMo. I got to day 5 and found I couldn’t write anymore. Unfortunately, with my creative failure came a sense of general worthlessness in the writing sense. I therefore stopped blogging for a while. For this I apologise.
I am now back from my Easter break. This is a double edged sword. Experience has taught me I don’t blog well at home, so being back here should help me to write more. On the other hand, I have deadlines. I just finished writing my first ever play for coursework #1. I’m actually quite pleased with this. However although I did have a post about the plot and planning of it, I have had to remove it in case the assessment board people do a search and find it. Although I know it is my own work and all my original ideas, they won’t. For this reason it’s gone. It will return though with the actual play at a (much) later date.
Coursework #’s 2 and 3 are yet to be started. #2 is Shakespeare, due on May 2nd. #3 is Victorian due May 7th. This is the final day of my second year. Until that day I’m going to be working my arse off to get it all done (and hopefully to a good standard). Until then I regret to say that The Hell Butterfly is going to be on a form of hiatus.
I have had the idea of ‘Music May’ in which I introduce you lovelies to the world of Nightcore. I have been making Youtube videos in which I make edits of songs. Some are traditional Nightcore, and some are male versions of female songs, known in some circles as Negative Nightcore. It’s been quite fun doing this and it will allow me to post something every day whilst introducing you to something I find interesting. It also means I can get on with my work without feeling bad about neglecting you and The Hell Butterfly family.
For now, I must bid you adieu. I am off to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream for coursework #2. Wish me luck.
Au reviour, mes amis.