Hello, lovely reader. I hope you’re having a beautiful weekend.
I had a wonderful evening yesterday with some of my favourite people on the planet, which I then went and ruined by drinking far too much and behaving like a prat. I am now deep in the throes of PASH (Post-Alcohol Self-Hatred) and I woke up fairly convinced that everyone hates me and that I have utterly destroyed my own life.
Being the incredible and lovely human being that she is, my best friend gave me a massive cuddle as soon as I was properly awake and said all sorts of nice things that I definitely didn’t deserve to hear. Our other friend was similarly lovely, and on the way home we had a very interesting conversation which I’d like to share with you.
When that whole “time to talk” thing came up a few months ago, I paid lip service to it. So many friends of mine had the courage and dignity to speak about their mental health issues, and I was (and still am) incredibly proud of them. I did not follow suit. I should have, but I didn’t. I was a wuss about it.
Mental health is a very tricky thing, because in so many people’s eyes (including your own, sometimes), it defines an enormous part of your identity. It’s so easy to look at yourself in a purely one-dimensional fashion, and to focus on one big, bad thing about yourself. Odds are that nobody else sees you that way, and that you are a lot less crazy in the eyes of your loved ones than you are in your own.
Ok, so here we go: I have manic depression. It’s why I tend to overreact to stupid stuff and obsess over trivia. It’s why I say dumbass things when I’m drunk (and also why I get drunk in the first place), and letting out the crazy when I’ve had a few glasses of wine means that I don’t have to remember it the next day. That’s not an excuse, by the way: no one forces me to get drunk or behave like an eejit. I make that (dreadful) decision entirely on my own.
Assuming I manage to sort my self out and stop making terrible choices, will I automatically like myself more? I don’t really know. On the way home my friend Vince and I were talking about how difficult it is to like yourself, and wondering whether it’s something that you can change. Some people seem to be born assured, mature and self-aware, while others (i.e. me and some of my friends) spend a lot of time worrying about who we are and what on earth we think we’re doing. Emotionally speaking, we are three million years into deep space and we’ve woken up with a traffic cone.
Essentially, it would be lovely to be emotionally self-sufficient and be able to comfort myself when I’m feeling low, but I’m not sure how to do that. In the meantime, I’ve got an amazing group of friends who forgive me when I’m badly behaved, and cuddle me when I’m feeling guilty/hungover/completely lost. I also have the Red Dwarf box set, which is a godsend on days like this.
I am very proud of my friends and loved ones who are open about their mental health issues, and I hope that they can forgive me for having been a coward about it. If you live with metal health difficulties or love someone who does, then you are a wonderful human being who deserves first dibs on all the Quality Street tins from here to eternity.
Sorry this post was a bit more serious than t’others; I promise tomorrow’s will be full of whimsy. Have a fantastic rest of your weekend.