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rmparrish

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February 2016

Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

salty

I’ll always remember being on the train home from university in first year listening to Hometown Glory by Adele. It used to make me nearly cry every time. How worlds apart my new life was from my little town. I was having the time of my life but I missed Saltburn. I missed my parents and my best friends. I missed recognising people every time I walked into town. Saltburn holds such wonderful memories for me. In my teenage years it seemed like all I wanted to do was escape. I wanted bigger, brighter, better.

When I go home now to Saltburn I walk around and a million memories flood back to me. The  nights we spent thinking we knew it all. The nights we spent crying on each others shoulders. The nights we spent thinking we were falling in love. The nights we laughed until it hurt. We were so sure of ourselves.

We dreamt of university and big cities. But we were happy. I didn’t realise how much I’d look back upon those school years and wish I could relive them. If only for one night. I’m sure there were times it felt like hell but it was a contained hell. We were safe. We were in a small town. And whatever happened a week later there would be something else to talk about. I miss being young and stupid. I miss every stupid mistake I made.

I miss the sea, the beach and I miss staring out at the horizon like it was going to tell me where I was going wrong and how to fix it. In my worst days at home I’d go for a walk on the beach. A walk on that beach has done more for me in simplistic,  here and now terms, than weeks of therapy. There’s something about that vast, freezing cold sea that crashes waves upon the shore that makes any problem seem insignificant.

 

 

 

 

~~~

Last night was the first time I’ve uploaded anything to do this blog in 6 months. I have still been writing; just haven’t felt it was anything I wanted to post for the world to see. Either that or I doubted the quality.

 

plath1

After reading Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I have just finished the incredible Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I can’t remember the last time I was actually moved to tears by a book but that did it for me. It wasn’t his descriptions of how brutally awful depression and anxiety can be; although they definitely reminded me of some very dark days. It was the hope that resonated at the end of the book. The reflection of progress made. The list of things he now enjoys which he thought he never would again. I’ve never read a book and had to actually pause and reread the last sentence as many times because it sounds like the words have come straight from my mouth. It’s really hard when you’re in the midst of depression to see that there will ever be an end to it. That was one of the things I found so frustrating. Never knowing when it would end or get better or even if it ever would.

I held on and stayed strong for a few reasons. A major one was the love of my family and friends. I can’t imagine how it must feel for those who don’t have an amazing support system around them. I know how soul destroying depression can feel at times. Days in bed turn into weeks. The mental pain becomes physical. I remember laying on the floor of my apartment screaming into a pillow because I just needed in some way to try and release this demon from within. When I think about that now I can’t believe just how desperate I was to stop feeling broken. There was no point planning things. I wouldn’t enjoy them anyway. I could hardly string a sentence together never mind fake a smile.

Have you ever been so sad you can’t even cry? It feels like your brain has just turned to mush, you can’t do the simplest of tasks, the only minuscule hope is to just lay there and try to sleep. Sleep to forget how it feels to be awake.
But then day by day, week by week, you start doing little things. Tiny things really. You actually have an interest in watching something on TV or you eat your favourite food and can actually taste it.

I can’t really recall the time in between being really ill and starting to feel 5% alive again. I know time past, I did things, and saw people but I struggle to remember how I felt. I guess slowly every day a tiny bit of light seems to come back into your vision. You might find yourself walking through the park in the sun and smiling or thinking of a social event and laughing as you remember something that happened.

When I was at my worst someone telling me to just hold on and that things would improve probably wouldn’t have resonated with me. But it’s true. It’s a really sad fact that you have to get through to the other side of something to see that everything is survivable. You never know if tomorrow might be that day when you start to see the tiniest glimmer of hope. I guess I cried in some ways after finishing the book because I’m so glad I held on. So glad I am still here and I can still appreciate all the beautiful things in life. When you’re depressed life is grey, miserable, blurry; there is no colour or beauty to it. But once you get through that fog colours seem brighter, beautiful scenery seems almost too good to be true, and your favourite songs seem like they were written just for you.
These are a couple of my favourite passages from Reasons to Stay Alive which I really identified with.
 

serene

Wrote on 26/12/15 at 00:43

Last Christmas doesn’t seem real now I look back upon it. It seems like it all passed me by in a blur of fake smiles, false hope and really grey days. It’s hard to believe how different December 25th has been a year on. Grief is a process, that’s what everyone says, and I agree. They  also say there are certain steps you will follow but that’s not what I say.

Grief to me is like any sort of recovery. Whilst grieving the death of my Father I have also been recovering from my own mental health crisis. Somewhere in the back of my mind I always thought (hoped) that both the grief and my personal recovery would reach a point at which I could look back and reflect upon the progress made. But there was also days I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Days in which there didn’t seem much point continuing to fight a battle I was never going to win. I don’t want to say I have won. I haven’t. I don’t believe I ever completely will. But I’ve found myself at a point where I feel content.

I hadn’t felt content for years. Just the feeling of being able to relax, being able to actually think about the future without dread, being able to really laugh until you can’t breathe. To even laugh and not  think to myself “you’re a fake, you aren’t really laughing inside”. To smile and actually feel proud of my happiness. Life is far from perfect. I have so many areas I need to work on in the next year but I have determination to do so. I want to be the very best version of myself. I’m sick of feeling I have so much more to give and not being able to do anything about it.

I miss my Dad everyday. I think of him everyday. I expect I always will. But my life didn’t end when his did. For a while it seemed like it had but now I can feel momentum again. I know he is always with me. I don’t know in what presence or whether that even matters. There is something leading me where I’m supposed to go. And it feels good. I know how it feels now to be at my very lowest and I am going to do everything in my power to fight to never be in that place again. I am also going to appreciate the happiness I do have at the present time. All I ever wanted through all of the pain and struggling was to feel I was getting a part of myself back, to recognise I was still there underneath it all. Slowly it seems like I’m coming back to myself. That’s all I could have wished for.

 

01:38

Life goes on; it sounds too simplistic but that’s exactly what it does. The fact is the clock keeps spinning, the world keeps turning, people keep falling in love, people keep falling out of love, day turns into night and the sun sets. Even when you think the world is ending and you can’t go on, you still wake up alive. Maybe not alive and well but alive. As long as you’re still alive everything else can be worked on.

The Bigger Picture.

We have to ask the really huge questions about the hugest of things. About love, life, death and the universe. We have to ask these questions and have these discussions to go below the surface. I don’t want to spend my time on this planet discussing materialistic shit. We’re all guilty of spending too much time talking about the latest fashion trend or which celebrities are sleeping together. Aren’t those items put in place to distract us from the bigger picture? I have always struggled to understand how some people seem to sail through life without questioning anything. Perhaps  it makes their journey easier. How do we come to be born? What is life? How do we know we are alive? What is death? Where do my thoughts, feelings, and soul go when my heart stops beating? What else is out there? Are they looking for us? Are they questioning our existence? Or do they have their own distractions?

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