When Ruby asked me if I’d like to contribute to Canvas I was excited. As in really excited. As in ‘I’m a bit bouncy and excited’ excited. I bounced around for a bit, being all excited and then it started to dawn on me that if I wanted to write something for Canvas I’d actually have to sit down and write something. If I’m honest I sat down to try and write something quite a few times. I’ve always been a perfectionist. And I’ve always been struck by the irony that when you’re a perfectionist there is no such thing as perfection.
It seems sensible to start with an introduction. I’m WeeGee and I’ve been blogging over at ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ for almost two years. I’m 34 years old and I have a long history of mental health difficulties, which, let’s face it, is why I’m here. “I have a long history of mental health difficulties” is something I say a lot. It’s easier than talking about the depression, and the self-harm, and the eating disorder, and the addiction, and the suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Saying that I have a long history of mental health difficulties covers a whole lot of ground in a few short words.
Things have been really bad for me a few times – Spring 1995, Summer 1998, Winter 2000, Spring 2006, and Autumn 2011 right the way through to Spring 2013. It always feels dramatic to say it out loud but when I think about where my brain has been and the things I’ve done to myself I’m lucky to be alive. When I think back to the dark times its remarkable that I’ve got myself to a point where I feel lucky to be alive.
As things stand I am as well as I know how to be. I have an underlying mental health condition but I am medicated at a ‘therapeutic level’. I’m able to function and enjoy my life and look forward to things. I’m not currently under the care of a psychiatrist and it’s more than a year since I last hurt myself on purpose. I have grey days and I have hyper days and I worry more than most humans would consider humanly possible BUT I’m well enough to be glad that I’m alive and to care enough about my life to keep myself in it.
There were times that I felt like there was no hope and that my life was over. There were times that I felt like I neither deserved nor wanted my place in the world. There were times that just getting out of bed felt as difficult as gathering up the ocean in my arms. But somehow, I got out of bed, and I hoped, and I lived my life, and I took my place in the world regardless. I gathered up the ocean in my arms.
I know that my ‘mental’ isn’t going to go away – I’m a broken person and them’s just the breaks. I also know that you can learn to live with mental, that you can get through it even though you can’t see the end. I know that tomorrow always comes. The beauty of it is that tomorrow can last for a very long time. I’m hoping that my tomorrow might last forever.
If it doesn’t? I’ll gather up the ocean again…..
Hope is important. It’s what carries your heart when it’s too heavy for you to bear.
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