This has been a very strange time in my life – there’s been heartbreak, I spent Christmas in hospital, my birthday in quarantine, and I’ve lived out of a suitcase since the start of the year. I’m kind of like a gay Paddington Bear, and, now that I’m thinking about it, with largely the same fashion sense.
Just like my internet connection, I am unstable. Like the Zoom chat yesterday when it dropped out and I got so angry I ended the call and tried to listen to “Killing in The Name” by Rage Against The Machine but couldn’t load it because, oh yeah, I don’t have any internet, I have to suck it up and live with it.
When I’m depressed it often feels like your brain has been taken over by a clueless intern who hasn’t been given the induction. I’d quite like to stick L plates to myself so people drive really slowly around me, and can’t get cross when I momentarily blank on which side of the road we drive on, decide to take a 50/50 chance, get it wrong and my examiner has to grab the wheel, causing an instant fail.
Tenuous metaphor aside and as much as I’d like Jesus to take the wheel again this time (my examiner’s name was Jesus) (ok no it wasn’t but imagine if it was), I have sadly meandered back into the pits of thinking about topping myself.
In The Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel sang, “hello darkness, my old friend”. In my brain’s cover version, there’s a verse where darkness is actually forced to take out a restraining order against me because I won’t leave it alone.
I harbour a lot of resentment towards myself which, sadly, no amount of posting thirst traps on Instagram can sort out.
I saved up and had two therapy sessions before the lockdown happened. In the last one, I got so frustrated I didn’t go back. She’s been trying to help me work on my confidence – weird because I didn’t explicitly say I don’t have any.
This happens a lot with friends too, they often say, you just need to work on your self esteem. Which is true, but after a while, it does make you wonder – is it that obvious? Long answer: yes, short answer: double yes – you’ve worn the same outfit for four weeks in a row.
I think I get up in the morning and at some point between that and shutting my front door I subconsciously douse myself in eau de l’ow self esteem and absolutely reek of it, but have no idea that that’s what other people see, too.
Mental health is invisible but in some ways it’s also really not, and I am a case study for that. I came downstairs yesterday and my sister said I look like “the poster girl for mental health”. I agree, here’s what I’ve worn for the past three weeks. The only difference is that when I’m in bed, I take my socks off.
Back in my therapist’s office, while I sat stinking up her room with self resentment, she asked me what I see in the mirror. I said, well, I don’t really give myself a chance to look. And she said, “well why’s that?” And I said, well because I’m not really letting myself think for that long. If I’m looking at myself in the mirror, I’ve got music on and I’m singing along. Or I’m watching Friends in the background, so I’m not looking there, I’m looking anywhere else but there.
She said, “well, why are you doing that?” and I said “because I’m scared”. I explained I watch the same thing over and over, I do the same things over and over, don’t let any feelings in. Because I’m scared that if I do let those in, I’m going to get back into the place I was in back in 2017 when I tried to end my life. Because if I don’t have my coping strategies in place, I’m afraid I’m going to make one bad call and my entire life is going to fall apart. I constantly feel like I’m one bad decision away from a complete and utter breakdown. She said “well, you need to let yourself feel things” and that’s when I got very angry and left the session never to return, because, duh bitch, obviously I would if I could. Also 50 quid is a lot to be told what you already know.
Sometimes it’s a toss up between whether you want to pay rent so you can live or whether you should pay for therapy so you can live with yourself. And, sadly, rent comes first.
But weirdly she’s been kind of prophetic now I’m trapped back in my family house because – jokes on her – thanks to lockdown I can’t afford either. And now and there’s nothing I can do except wallow in introspection and let those feelings in. And I HATE IT.
I would like to be emotionally numb, watch Homes Under The Hammer and let things fall apart. I’m such a deer in headlights about making decisions in my life, I’ve accepted that it’s totally fine if the car hits me, because I couldn’t possibly have seen it coming if I’ve got a podcast about Scrubs on.
Also, you know what else? Every day I spend in quarantine I think about the moment I was packing, looked at my vibrator, thought nah, this won’t be for very long, travelled all across London, and how much I fucking resent myself.
I’ve been volunteering with my family doing a food drop every week to the sick and elderly. It’s been nice to feel like I’m doing something helpful, but a lot of people don’t actually know they’re on the register for it and they’re now classified as elderly – and a lot of them are not happy to find out via me. I feel like the Grim Reaper but instead of a scythe, it’s a cardboard box full of pasta and loo roll.
I’ve also been running. My mum is a personal trainer so we have a treadmill. I texted my friend Andy to say I was on a treadmill and he asked if I was on a drugs trial, which sadly says a lot more about me than I’d like. I chalked it up to a one off but turns out this seems to be largely the collective opinion of my friends.
Basically, like Batman going to those caves in arguably the worst of the Batman trilogy, (honestly I hated it so much my left hand is balled up as I type this) I’m trying to rebuild myself again, baby. And your girl does not like it one bit.
But I reckon some of you might be using this time to do the same thing, maybe. And if so, maybe keep an eye on this blog so we can feel it together? But also, two metres apart. Fuck, even the idea of that is turning me on.
Lockdown stats before I go:
Books read: Zero
Scripts finished: One. Barely.
Number of awkward silences on Facetime when we’ve run out of things to discuss: a zillion
Number of times I think about that vibrator, sat in the cupboard under my sink, what it’s thinking about and whether it’s missing me: every goddamn fucking day.
Alright, I’ve got to go – I think darkness has blocked my number by this point, but I can’t be sure unless I call it every thirty seconds to check. But I’ll be back