Time has a way of moving on even if we cannot, or perhaps don’t want to, keep up. These past few months, not to mention the last ten years, but for now I’m focusing on the past few months, have washed over and around me as does the rising and ebbing tide. Only the depth of the water changes, like the depth of dust on the window sills, or the depth of the dead and dying leaves ripped from their tree-homes by wind and rain and storm, until finally, they lay, unyielding still, upon the ground, fodder for my ever hungry outdoor vac and my need for neatness, cleanliness and spaces that are pleasing to my eye. I am my own worst enemy, even while trying to be my best friend.
There are times I wonder what happened in my childhood to shape me into this person who must prepare for even the worst of possibilities. True, many times this sense of self preservation has been of significant, often great, benefit to me. There have been times when my preparations have saved me, and others, from injury and worse. Perhaps it is the being prepared that alters the shape of the situation, changing an outcome from what it could have been to a better or less injurious one. I do not know.
My dreams have become troublesome, fraught with horrors that leave me waking with headaches and a weariness that remains throughout the day and into the next night. Day after day, night after night, I am weary of the never-ending loop. It leaves me with a lethargy too hard to shake. A grinding hopelessness is ever present.
I might remember when I first felt that sense of despairing hopelessness, that feeling that no matter what one does, time will remove all knowledge of you and your achievements from existence.
That day happened in grade five when we read Ozymandias, the poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. I guess my sense of loss was exacerbated by the death, only a few months earlier, of my beloved grandfather. I can sometimes still feel his loss like a physical pain. I still mourn the loss of him from my life. Sadly, I do not mourn the loss of my own father from my life in similar fashion. I wish I did, I wish I could. It may be that I mourned the loss of him while he was still living.
But too many things happened. Too much was left unspoken. Too many lies were told. Too many secrets kept. Too much pain, too much heartache. Too much abuse allowed to go undeterred, physical and mental when he could have done or said something to help. So much loss that far too often it is too hard to find a tiny piece of myself to call my own.
There have been times when, like the child I was, I thought at my parents, ‘you’ll be sorry when I’m dead and gone’, repeating in my mind, the phrase mother used to say to me as I left to catch the bus to school. I was the one chosen to carry her burden, the others did not know this, or if they did, they did not care. During a rare shopping visit to Nambour in my seventh year of life, my older sister who hated my very presence in her life, left me to fend for myself as we walked the streets from shop to shop, her moving faster and faster, further and further ahead of me. It was then I decided to end it for good, thinking, as I said, like the child I was, that they would miss me when I was gone. And somehow, that knowledge would be of comfort to the dead little girl I would have been. Of course, I know now that is a massive untruth, they didn’t like me alive, they certainly would not miss me, nor mourn me when I was dead.
Crossing the road that day, I decided to let an oncoming car hit me and kill me, so I stopped walking and stood in the roadway where the car had to travel. All the while watching the driver and willing him to hit me. I stopped there too soon though, for the driver had time to come to a halt, albeit a little more swiftly than he would otherwise have done. I learned a valuable lesson from that experience, one I have never forgotten and have woven into my daily life ever since. The driver got out of his car, and standing behind his door called out to me.
He did not berate me, he seemed to understand exactly what I meant to do. Instead, he said, ‘Did you think about how I would feel if I had hit you and killed you?” I can’t even remember the colour or make of the car, but I can remember the gist of his words, if not the actual words themselves. Those words altered the course of my life, causing me to be ever mindful of the perceptions, feelings and impacts actions might have on others, for I had not thought of the impact the action I had undertaken might have on the innocent driver I randomly chose to collide with me.
Time passed, things happened, life moved on, and in that time I have tried to be happy and achieve the goals I’m supposed to in life, but I can’t seem to crack the not being depressed part of things. I’ve befriended my ever watchful black dog of depression in the hope it will somehow be easier to control, or modify or perhaps manage, but so far that’s not gained me the traction I want to move forward. Too many people suggest I’m not trying hard enough, or being non-compliant, or recalcitrant to change and betterment. When there is no point to anything other than what it means to ones self, and CBT is only reinforcing the lies we’re told to keep us compliant, where does one turn to find support and guidance.
I’ve done all the things one is supposed to do to find happiness, in many cases, those achievements only brought more sadness and deeper depression. It’s a lose lose situation. I don’t know why I’m still trying to find answers.