It’s a Sunday, and a sun day. I’ve just cooked, had breakfast, and I’m having an Ed Sheeran marathon. Currently I’m listening to his’s new album, ÷ (Divide). It’s a series of ups and downs, and that’s something I can relate to. This isn’t an Ed Sheeran review article though. To be honest, really it’s an extremely vague yet very personal review of the last 6 months.
It was a friend’s birthday at the beginning of March, and being exactly a month before my own, it hit me then that I was a month away from turning 20. The big two zero. “I’m not a 20 year old, I’m still a child!” “I don’t want to turn 20!” I’m still in denial about it. But the big day will come and go, and it will, in all honesty, probably be just another day. And what has my life been like up to this point? Back we go to Ed Sheeran.
Ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like there have been more downs than ups, especially over the past six months. There have been bitter moments, bittersweet moments, and sweet moments. And the sweetness really does overcome the bitterness. Maybe it’s just because Barcelona is sunny, but I’m seeing the sunlight pierce through the clouds now.
But there was a time when things weren’t so sunny. The clouds were thick and so dark grey they felt black, and completely suffocating. Ironically, it was the middle of summer. Without going into details, winter came that week and the beauty of autumn had been skipped like that shit track that comes on shuffle that you can’t bring yourself to delete. And it was an Arctic winter, without the beauty, but with all the loneliness. It hurts when 7 of the most important relationships of your life break at once, and one after the other. It hurts when your entire life crashes down the steepest hill you’ve ever fallen down, and you sink and start drowning under the waves of the ocean of depression. It hurts.
Mental health issues are a strange. As a sufferer, you won’t always know why you’re feeling how you’re feeling, and your coping mechanisms won’t necessarily feel like coping mechanisms, but maybe like normal reactions. You won’t know what’s happening to you, or why it’s happening to you, until you read an article and you identify with the symptoms. Until you watch a video and see yourself looking out through the screen. Until you see a friend suffering, and find that you empathise more than you sympathise. And it hurts.
And it hurts more because even when you know that there’s support out there, you can’t access it. Not because you don’t want it, but because when you’re drowning, your focus is on staying alive. That’s it. For me, to stay alive, I would stay busy. Days were either good or bad. On the bad days, I wouldn’t, couldn’t move out of bed. But I would be forced out of bed, and my days were foggy. On the good days, I’d be somewhat productive. I became obsessed with a project, and that project fell to bits. The effort I had put into it, purely to stay alive, paradoxically, almost drove me under. The snakery and the thanklessness that had come about that took my baby away from me actually did drive me under. I was drowning again. And in a vicious circle, I found something else to keep my focus. At least with my second baby there was love and family. I still have that with me. It’s a ray of sunlight that I truly appreciate.
But friendships. Friendships, I have learnt, come from the most unexpected places. They’re easily broken, and take time to rekindle. But the true ones are just that. They won’t leave you. No matter what. This isn’t a cultural thing, even though the stereotypes of women in culture have their own impact, but it’s a human thing. We crave appreciation. We crave those links. We grow up, and we change. But the one thing we feel like we need throughout it all is friendships. Which is why it almost killed me when so many of mine shattered. But even if they shatter into powder, you can still add water or glue and a whole lot of love and understanding. And while it may not be the same as it was before, you can work on it, mould it, and turn it into something just as beautiful, but still different.
Unless you know me personally, and you’ve been involved in what’s happened, you won’t have any idea about what I’m talking about. But I do hope that you’ve been able to relate to what you’ve read. Every single person in the world goes through the worst shit in their lives, but no one will necessarily ever know about it. But we all feel like we’re alone, and we feel like we’re the only person who goes through shit. It’s only when we open up and talk honestly about what’s happening do we see that, actually, we’re all going through the same shit storm. The same shit story. We’re all living the same stories, albeit with different characters, different dialogues, different outlooks. But the themes are largely the same.
I’m glad you’ve managed to bear with me to this point at least; after all, I haven’t written in over a year, so I’m rusty. There’s been no structure to this piece, but it’s raw honesty is more important to me.
“Welcome to the new show, I guess you know I’ve been away. Where I’m heading who knows? My heart will stay the same.” – Ed Sheeran, Eraser
For me, it’s a sun day today, a good day. The sun is out not just in the sky, but in life. It’s time to leave the heartache and the anger behind – new chapters are always starting. I’m actually glad I lost so much, because it’s put so much into perspective. I know can win my war against depression, even though I’ve lost so many battles that have put me back where I started. It’s a Bibia Be Ye Ye moment.
“Tomorrow’s a brand new day. Someone told me, “Always say what’s on your mind.” And I am only being honest with you, I, I get lonely and make mistakes from time to time. Se enioma enko ye, bibia be ye ye. Wo nooma, be ye ye.” (If things aren’t going well, all will be well. All things in your life will get better) – Ed Sheeran, Bibia Be Ye Ye
Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end. Here’s to happiness, recovery, and smiling much, much more.