Even the most depressed person knows what it is like to feel alive. That’s the problem. It seems beyond reach, unimaginable that life will return. If we had never known joy, we would not know its absence.
My mental health issues crafted a fear of even the slightest glimmer of joy, desire or hope. Year on year, I felt little emotion and little connection towards anything. The future seemed to hold nothing but a re-battering by the knowledge life had once been different, had once promised something different.
On the odd occasion throughout the past decade, I’ve had moments when life has flooded me, sometimes only for an instant or a minute, other times for a day or a week. In recent years, I’ve felt relatively “normal” for months on end. However, even these good months have been dry of desire and life breathing emotion. Rather, they have been “good” due to the absence of the consistent and inexplicable panic that has otherwise characterised my illness.
When those positive, joy filled moments have snuck their way around the landmines and under the trip wires of my mind, I’ve wanted to avoid them.
The first few times were different, I tried to grasp onto till my knuckles turned white and then purple – inevitably, they would be gone, and I’d be left grasping nothing, wondering how they had ever arrived and why they had slipped back into the dark. They were a tease, an unspeakable cruelty.
Emotions are not always attached to fact – for me, they are ever unpredictable. I have learnt, or rather, I’m learning not to cling to good times. Also, not to fear them. Rather, I’m learning to approach emotions and thoughts like a river, ever flowing and changing. I’m learning to let the good times be good and the low times be low. None are permanent. Despite how much they sometimes appear to be.
Your life may not be what you expected. It may never be anything like what you imagined, nothing like that of your brother’s, sister’s or your friend’s. That does not mean there isn’t life to be found amongst the chaos. Sometimes, life can be found in the process of learning to manage your own life just a little better.