This one’s for me
For the most part when I write for this blog, I do so with you (the reader) in mind. With each post I try to at least include something that people can take away from it. I don’t profess to be an expert in mental health or anything for that matter, but I do know that there’s lots to be learnt from lived experience. Having said all that, I may be wrong but I don’t think this post will have that, this one’s for me.
Last year I ended up being very poorly and a lot of the second half of the year is a big blur. Each month has sort of merged into the next and I have very few clear memories from August onwards. There is though one particular night I do remember with absolute clarity and it’s when I cracked. I was sat in my Mum’s living room and I’d just had enough. I was sick of the tears, the depression, the prospect of relapse over and over again throughout my life. I was broken and I just didn’t care anymore. I had no purpose and no hope in anything. I started screaming, hysterical, neurotic and it was so surreal – sort of out of body. My step-dad rang my nurse and she advised to make me take medication that would appease me. I yelled that I wouldn’t take it as it used to knock me out within 15 minutes and if I’m honest I couldn’t stand the thought that I’d just wake up to the same feeling hours later. Nevertheless I did end up having it and within a quarter of an hour I felt the heavy weight of sedation plough into me and I was gone. That night drove a wedge into my timeline within my head. My life was no longer a steady continuum of memories but would forever more be split into before and after that moment. I’m not sure my family even now understand the impact that evening had on me, but I genuinely thought, ‘this is it, I’m mental.’
Not long after this we went on holiday to Lanzarote. At the time I was being weaned off 2 medications simultaneously (that I had been on for a number of years) and introduced to another. I don’t know if it is this or just possible repression of this whole time that has made my memory so hazy. I don’t remember flying, eating out, getting ready, being by the pool or any other mundane holiday things that you just do. I do remember feeling guilty that I was ruining the holiday for everyone else and that I never saw more than 10 minutes sun the whole week. I’m pretty sure I lived in the room and slept 24/7.
So much in my life, health and mindset has changed since then. We’re exactly a year on and we went back to Lanzarote a few weeks ago. There’s something about going on holiday, whether it’s abroad or not, which makes us feel like we’re in some little unbreakable bubble, oblivious to the world around us and all it’s problems and complexities. However, miles cannot defy thoughts, they travel with you and niggle and remind you that reality really does exist. The English have a tendency when they hear someone is going away to say “Oooo nice change of scenery!” But it’s so true! We get so accustomed to house, work, house, shop, house and the never ending monotonous cycle of life that it really is refreshing to have a change of scenery. I really do believe that travel broadens the mind and opens our eyes to a world of opportunity, discoveries and what ifs. So although thoughts do follow us wherever we are across the globe, there are often welcome distractions to be found.
2018 has been good to me so it wasn’t that I felt I was in desperate need of a break, but I was absolutely determined to have the best time and I couldn’t have got on that plane quick enough. I was almost trying to have double the fun this year for the me of last year. Having been riding horses since I was 4, I looked up the nearest places to go hacking as what better way to see the sights. I went on a 3 hour ride up into the mountains, down again and along a private beach. I’d tentatively told the staff that I wasn’t confident galloping and they were very understanding and kind. It didn’t matter though, apparently we were galloping anyway. About 10 minutes into the ride and I was still finding my feet and working out the mechanics of my horse when the leader turned round and briskly shouted, “OK, prepare for first gallop!”
I shit it.
I gathered my reins, got into position and my horse (whose name has escaped me) launched off into a sprint faster than I can remember going before. For a minute my adrenaline fueled brain was entertaining every possible horrific scenario of falling off, breaking bones, paralysis, you name it. But I realised that this is fun. I was living, really living and I’ve not felt that alive in years.
The rest of the holiday I indulged. My diet was abandoned, read 3 books, had a massage and relished every sun kissed moment by the pool. I really was deep in the holiday bubble, aware it was time limited but loving every minute. Did it burst when I landed back in the predictably rain sodden landscape of Manchester? Yeah, a bit. But I don’t really care. I accomplished my mission of living my best life for those 6 days and this time I wasn’t going to forget it – I made a short video of my time there. It’s not particularly entertaining and it’s less than 1% of what I did, but I was also conscious that in this technological age, I didn’t want to experience my holiday through a camera. I didn’t want to walk round filming everything but live it instead.
If you want to see it have a nosy here –
It’s silly and poorly edited but most importantly, it’s mine.
Till next time x