Fireworks

cn: mental illness, depression, guilt, hurting others, confusion, being drunk

This is a note on my phone that I wrote on Fireworks’ night 2016. I had just met depression and was only just starting to learn how confusing, contradictory and insidious it is.

I went on a lot of late night walks by myself in the dark during that time, feeling reckless but still at the same time, like the thrill of doing something I probably shouldn’t be was bubbling just under the surface of my skin, and the memory of it is so lonely and so horrible.

However, for whatever reason, I’ve found myself reading this note back quite a few times over the past 3 years. It’s not a poem; I just opened my phone and it all poured out, but I think I keep coming back to it because it sounds quite nice, and I remember feeling all these things so loudly and overwhelmingly that night – I think it’s a very honest, direct slice of what I was going through. I feel really sad for the girl who wrote this, but also proud that she still had such a good command of grammar even when her head was such a mess (all the apostrophes were in the right place), and that she still loved writing and managed to do it moderately well, even though she thought that she couldn’t do anything then. She was doing so much! And she would continue to do so much more when there was worse to come, and one day she’s finally ready to share this with whoever cares to read it.

I’m losing my mind
I know it this time
I’m not even drunk and I feel the worst that I can remember
I’ve pretty much been crying for five hours.
I thought it was gone
I felt so so normal last week at home
My parents wouldn’t stop talking about depression
I thought I was making a fool of myself
Making everyone worry when I knew it was nothing.
But I was still waiting
Not wanting as much as I used to
But waiting to feel terrible.
I felt myself slipping
I was spacing out
But I popped right back
The breakdown didn’t come
I didn’t will it on as much as I used to
I had the nurse yesterday and felt stupid and dramatic for taking up her time
I only spoke for half an hour but she’d booked me an hour
I felt happy
I wanted to be happy
It was the first time in so so so long that I haven’t wanted or even expected to feel bad that day.
I thought my mind had clicked
Then in the land supervision of all places
I realised I didn’t know anything
I realised I don’t understand anything
None of the law I’ve done in the past two weeks has made any sense
I feel like I’m trying to grasp it but it’s slipping away
Everything is slipping away.
I thought I knew two things about myself:
Studying is the only thing I’m good at, and I’m a positive person
Now I can’t do either
The person who I wanted to be and I thought I was so close to being is slipping away.
I keep making plans and cancelling
I thought telling my friends would stop me pushing them away
But I feel so alone.
They’re slipping away too
I’m skating on life and the weeks are passing and I’m not even noticing
Halloween and fireworks night have gone and I’m wasting my life
I really want to have a good time and do fun things
But I’m wasting all my windows.
And the worst part
Is what I’m doing to X
I thought I was trying to get better
Just for him.
But today
I couldn’t talk to him
He was busy and I let him go
Then my insides crumbled and crumbled
They’re falling away into a hole in my shell
I felt like my mind had fallen too
So I went for a walk
In the dark and the cold
I went to the hill and tried to act casual with a lady as we laughed about not being able to see the fireworks
I listened to Biffy and breathed.
Too many people kept coming up and I was ruining their dates
I walked down and cried
I walked and walked past shops and the river and sleepy swans
And I walked to the funfair because it looked sparkly and fun
The sounds and the lights crashed on my head when I got in there
X was worried about me
He’d got scared that I had hurt myself and had run over to my building
I told him I was fine
He said he wasn’t sure he was
A huge rock in my insides fell away into the hole.
I’m so selfish.
How can I make him worry so much
How was I not running back to tell him it was ok
How could I not force out any tears for him in the park when I knew how bad I was making him feel
Why do I waste all my tears on myself.
I’m home.
In my uni room
I messaged him begging for him not to worry or be angry and let me talk to him
I begged for five minutes
He said he was going to sleep.
I’m so scared he won’t deal with this anymore
He shouldn’t
But I know he will
And I feel so guilty
But I’m terrified at the thought we could not be together
I love him so much.
It might be the only thing I know these days
That I love him and Y and Z and my parents and my sister
But I’m scared I’m letting them slip away
Or I’m slipping away from them.
Songs make me cry
Dodie’s new song made me burst into tears at the lyrics:
Am I the only one who’s wishing life away
A month ago when I was drunk and feeling like this
I said it felt like all the strings in my head had been cut
Now it feels like they’re just hanging there
Disconnected and fraying away
I don’t know why I’m being so ‘poetic’
Just trying to be that romantic troubled depressed girl.
Still
I don’t know if I want this anymore
I really really don’t know
I hope that I don’t

I worry that this could be a romanticisation of mental illness, I worry it’s something beautiful written by some airy fairy tumblr girl who suddenly feels deeply insightful, which will make other people want to feel this way, which is why I started and ended this post with a bit of perspective from three years later. My justification for taking the risk of romanticisation by publishing this at all was that I wanted to give a little insight into the whirl of one particular depressed mind, as honest as it could be, with no filters or tempering for easier reading.

I’m so grateful that it’s easy for me to put a positive spin on this now – because I don’t feel all those things anymore. Even if you feel like you’re slipping or crashing or fraying forever, things can change. It’s not that I can’t relate to the version of me who wrote this at all – I remember feeling all those things intensely, and to be honest, I’m still very confused about this whole concept of ‘wanting’ to feel happy or depressed or whatever, but I think that’s just how my particular relationship with mental illness works, and that’s alright – I’ve still got a lot to figure out.

I do know, however, that however I was feeling was not my fault, not something to feel guilty or selfish over. I know that so much of what I wrote and thought was so flawed, and the way I was approaching mental health then scares me now – the idea of my whole life and my recovery being all about other people, how I didn’t give myself a single thought, was so unhealthy and I’m horrified as to how extreme I was in this. This post definitely is not the whole story – I have so much more to explain about everything wrong with the way I was thinking, and how I’ve moved on since then.

I missed fireworks’ night again this year, but this time because I knew I needed to let myself rest. As loud and as bright and as dramatic as fireworks are, once they’re over, there are still other nights that are just as good, if not as explosive. There’s no such thing as ‘everything’ or ‘all’ or ‘only’ – one thing feeling wrong or ending doesn’t mean the end of the world or the end of you, and there’s so much more to you than the things you feel you’re losing.


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