Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A Trial

I start taking them on a Saturday. Take half with food in the morning. There is no wave of release, no fuzzy cloud of inner warmth, just a waiting game, a longing for a remedy.
Sunday. Anxiety. Swirling thoughts. Tears. I go for a swim, slowly, calmly, mildly motivated.
Monday. I'm very conscious. Aware of myself. My tummy feels different and makes lots of gurgling noises. It's hard to eat - which is very unusual for me. I have an awful nightmare - a huge cat shaped like a devil comes flying down to earth and no one is worried but me. I'm unsettled.
Tuesday. A thin veil seems to exist around my brain. My mean girl has quietened and when she does raise her voice my mind says No. Not today.
Wednesday. I bounce out of bed. It's hard to focus and I keep finding myself staring into space. Still no sign of my mean girl returning.
Thursday. I chat with me Mum. People ask how I am and I say - I'm okay. Without crying. It's not quite a numbness, more of a nonchalance. I'm not doing much self improvement and I drank too much last night so there are moments of anxiety but nothing too much. I scroll through my phone a lot.
Friday. Full tablet with breakfast. Later in the day I feel the swirling, in my stomach, my forehead and my heart. It's hard to focus on work. I feel calm though, not emotional about anything.
Saturday. I am anxious. I drink two coffees, which doesn't help. I go to writing group and I feel agitated. My ex girlfriend is here and even though we are supposed to still be friends I want her away from me, away from this, separate from my life. I want to leave early but I'm ashamed. I want to storm out and leave them all wondering if I'm ok? I'm also hungry.
Another girl is here. One I wish for closeness with. One who I'm in love with the idea of, her smoky voice, her clever wit, her hidden pain. No doubt my image of her will evaporate into falsehoods but I like having her as a potential potential.
I'm having a terrible time concentrating. I feel like a fraud. Here. At work. As a Mum. As myself.
Week 2 brings low concentration span and little motivation. Although I have started to stretch, morning and afternoon. It doesn't hurt as much after a few days and it's so low impact it's perfect for me. My body is fat. Has fat. It's sore in a lot of places, my neck, my lower back, my stomach. I don't know if it's normal. 
Tuesday is a disaster, lots of lolling about, screen time is overboard. I really want Wednesday to be better, for me to be better. It's also apparent that I'm the only one who can make this happen and I feel frozen in time at the prospect of change. I want it, I want to be better, to look better but the actual doing of it feels out of my control. Within reach, easily accessible but for a part of my brain that says - no, not today. Everytime. For years. 
Maybe it will help if I create a plan, throw a couple of goals together and break them down into smaller, achievable wins. The stretching is a start. Sleeping without throwing my leg across my body is the next bit. Writing, for 10-15 minutes at a time, everyday. Should be easy enough. I say now.

I tend to start things with a vengeance then peter out just as quickly. The good and the bad Clare, jostling for ownership over me. The divide that exists between the two because they are often so different.
I'll keep popping them for now. Wait for the magic to happen. Blame myself when it doesn't. Been there, done that, haven't given in yet.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Old Friends

Old Friends

There are these girls I’ve known since - well since I can remember. I think Annie was the first to start hanging out with me. I didn’t like her for a long time, I still don’t really, but she’s part of my life. She comes around some days and it’s like someone pulled the plug out of the bathtub that is me and the water that swirls through is nothing but a flood of fear.
Annie’s real name is anxiety. There are pills I can take, drop dead Fred style, that could make her disappear. But I don’t know who I am without her.

Debbie is a lot calmer and completely dependable - wherever I go I know she’ll find her way back to me. She’s a cat, a dog, she’s my shadow. I don’t know how to ask her to leave. And if she did leave I’m afraid of all the comfort I could lose that we have together. She knows me. I know her. It’s easier, at the same time as being a terrible strain. She’s like the friend who just wants to hang out, not doing much but she’s always there. She doesn’t seem to have anywhere else to go. Her full name is Depression. Most of you have probably met her, got to know her, hung out with her.

Then there’s Pamela. Weird name that doesn’t really suit her. She’s hard to engage with, hard to make sense of and fuck she thinks she knows everything. She’s very one-eyed Pamela and lately she has become a regular visitor. She’s the one who tells you the things the others won’t. She’s the one who can really get under your skin. Her other name? Paranoia.

Then there’s me. The one who holds them all together, tightly wrapped within my memories, my brain pathways. If I don’t have them - who am I left with? 

So here we are in quarantine together. Gardening, drinking beers, smoking weed, writing words. Totally Netflix and chilling together. It’s not so bad and when it is - all I can do is to name them, notice them and try not to let them boss me around too much. I don't know how to manage everyone. Their needs, wants, their ownership over me. Maybe I take the magic pills? Maybe I show them some understanding, show myself some compassion? I've tried. I’m tired.

Old friends. They know you. You know them. They remind you of people you lost, people you loved, people who brought them round to meet you. How do you unwrap the binds that tie you together? How do you let them go? Truthfully - I'm not sure I want them to go. I don’t know who I am without them. They have been here with me, for so long.

Maybe I should be thanking them for helping me become who I am.
Maybe I should be thanking them for preparing me so well for isolation.
Maybe I should be thanking them for staying in touch all these years. 
Maybe I thank them for all they have done and wish them adieu. Cut them loose. Set them free.

It's an insane world but in it there is one sanity, the loyalty of old friends.
And that's what I've got.