Becoming a different person

Saturday, 22 July 2017

I don't recognise myself. I look in the mirror and I see myself. I look at photographs of myself and I don't see me.

Again, as I seem to be saying with everything, I'm not alone in that. Every time I mention something, somebody comes forward and says "me too!" and it's sad but kind of thrilling.

When I see photographs of myself from years ago, I see, for one, a person untouched by grief. That person's biggest problem is essays, is drama between friends, your normal, usual teenage problems. That person is an entirely different person, not just in looks (think slimmer, with different hair) but in attitude and in outlook.


When I see photographs of myself from 2015/16 I see a person whose priorities had changed. When I was pregnant I was afraid, in a way, of really changing. I was dismissive of the excitement and the happiness I felt, I didn't say the word "pregnant" for quite a while (it felt strange) and I was trying to hold onto the nonchalant, laissez-faire attitude that I had ascribed to myself. Something I very much regret as I think had I come into myself a little earlier and stopped fighting it I would have enjoyed my pregnancy more. I didn't really talk about it, about the future, about him, I suppose I didn't want to appear to have a chink in my armour. No vulnerability and no weakness. Ironic, isn't it? Even after he was born I kept onto this, keeping those moment for myself, in private.

When I see recent photographs, whether I've taken them myself or not, I very much see a person wearing a mask of sorts. A person that is still just a short shuffle over the line of normal. A person who a little gust of wind would push back into the whirlwind of grief. The happiness I feel is never just happiness anymore, as I've already covered. 

In all honesty, I am sometimes surprised by the fact that I'm still here, because I wouldn't be if I'd not been in so much shock. Had the depression not swarmed up from its depths and taken hold of me as quickly as it did, had I not self-medicated with an incredible amount of wine, had I had any motivation to do anything I'd probably have killed myself. Then, and now, this hasn't changed, I wish I had died instead, or as well. It feels at times that I was supposed to, but I just got left by the wayside, forgotten. This isn't something that comes up every now and then, it's a constant, always there.

So I had my own issues before all of this, sure, but I was never truly suicidal. I thought about dying as much as the next person, some days more than others, but I had never thought about it so intently and so thoroughly. I've thought about what I'd do if this baby died, if she was stillborn would the window at the postnatal ward be high enough, would it open wide enough? Would I be a bit vain and leave a lengthy note or would I just not bother because it would be obvious enough? I'd often read that people think those that kill themselves are selfish, because they don't think about the people they leave behind, but then aren't those left behind selfish for thinking only about their feelings? It had stopped being thoughts of what I could do should I want to and became a what I would do when the time came, because my mind would (will?) not move away from the inevitability of something happening that would make me do it.

All of this has added to changing me as a person because I now need to keep an eye on myself (nobody else is going to do it Рbut that's a whole other post). I need to keep myself away from alcohol because if I don't I'll probably drown myself in it. I need to keep myself away from cigarettes because I'll smoke so many that my throat will hurt, because, in a bit of a clich̩, I want to feel something. I want to physically feel as bad as I emotionally feel. Abstinence and all that.

So now, to come to terms with that. How do I come to terms with that? Honestly, I have no answer. I have no idea what to do about it. I grieve for my son, for the life I should be leading, the future I am supposed to have, for the person I once was, and the person I should be. I miss my mind being clearer. It was somewhat murky water at best at the get go, but now it's a swamp, thick mud I'm forced to trudge through every day to function even at the most basic of levels. I suppose that one must come up with a kind of "steps" programme, or "stages". They have them for alcoholics, for addicts, they have it for what I believe is the start grief, they even have it for labour. So why not for coming to terms with our new normal selves?



As for me? I'm not really sure where I am at this point, I'd say I'd probably be verging on number 4, but at the same time I realise there's so much that I need to do before I can really cross any of these off. 

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