It’s been a while people, a long while. Far too long, but sadly I’ve been unwell. I must learn to take my own advice & talk about my feelings a little more, or at least to reach out to people when I need them.
Life is very very difficult at times, which is why it’s crucial that we develop ourselves a strong support network, however that may be. Surround yourself with positivity & people who really care about you. Be careful not to shy away from them despite the niggling feeling that you get with depression which causes you to do just that. I’ve realised that I need to talk about how I feel, or to talk to people & find some company again. You see, I’m a lonely guy. I’m not your average 19 year old bloke, I do some of the things that a stereotypical 19 year old guy does, but apart from the fact there’s not really such a thing as an average person, I am just… well… I’m just different. I’m trying to learn to embrace that, or at least accept it. I’m incredibly anxious, I have been for a while now, but I don’t know how it came about. Loneliness is a critical part of my feelings, I am a social person, with so much love & affection for people generally, it’s just, most of my friends are people I know from online.
Why is that a problem? It’s not a problem to know people from online, but it’s partly why I’m lonely ironically. I would love to have more friends who live near to me, who I can see everyday & just be like the majority of people are, have a friendship group where I can just talk about random things & when I need come to people for help, but also to just have a hug now & again. Life’s about striking a balance, & that equilibrium is difficult to find or achieve, or even both. For me, it’s going to have to be a case of opening my eyes to my feelings again, not just falling deeper into a pit of despair where I cannot see the wood from the trees. When I can understand, comprehend & simply see what is troubling me it frustrates me unless I can at least think of ways to get through it, because I’m not the type of person to want to mull things over & just feel down. It’s almost impossible to describe this in words, but I’m going to give it a go.
There’s a way you know you’re on the cusp of getting better, or that you are in a better place than you used to be. What is it? Well, for me, it’s when I realise that I need to do x, y & z to improve my mood, when I can somehow see the positive, happy things again, even if they are fleeting thoughts, passing ships in a vast ocean of emotions. Tonight, I realised that I need company, I need to seek out support, I need to ask for help when I need it, & I need to keep myself occupied with random little things, silly conversation, as well as serious conversation. I remembered that I need to try to relax again, regardless of how difficult it is, I need to try. It was only tonight that this happened, & I think, it was thanks to just talking to someone who was willing to support me if I needed it, but doesn’t know much about my situation. Somewhat ironically, someone whom I am envious of for the time they get to spend with people, their friendship group, their relationships. Someone who I’ve only ever found to be a really good guy, who is not that dissimilar to me in some ways I think. I was able to clear my mind of the fog, suddenly the gloomy skies became clearer again, allowing the sun to come out tentatively to enable me to see what I could do to help myself. Maybe the skies will turn gloomy again, but if that is to be, they do so with my knowledge that it will not be forever again. Again. Again, because it seems like forever, but it’s not & it never will be. So long as you hold on to hope.
Journies. I frequently travel around the country to either see people, or to watch football. They make me appreciate the world a little more, I get out of a rut, out of my house where I do myself no good, & into the beauty that is nature & sometimes also man made beauty. Man made beauty in the form of buildings which have much culture, a meaning & the meaning that is within them expresses the serenity that I so long for.
Yesterday I was in Bristol, the day before I was seeing my friend a little further north of London, & in the future I will travel further. Despite a large number of things not going to plan, & it being a horrible day, there were a few bright lights helping me through the day. A group of 5 friends were busking in the city centre near Temple Meads, & I was rooted to the spot listening to two of them sing either together or solo. Nothing so spontaneous, or rather, faux spontaneous (Covent Garden) has ever caused me to just sit & watch/listen, until now. They were brilliant, not because they were perfect, but because they were giving it a go, singing with emotion & with the intention to make people happy whilst earning a rather small amount of money via donations. I walked up & put some money into their guitar case, something I’ve never done before. As they began to pack up, I walked over & told them that they had made my day a hell of a lot better. The day would later be fraught with frustration & anxiety, but they made it all the more bearable.
For me, it goes to show that simple things can make a difference to us. People make a difference, music makes a difference. Neither of those are really simple, but when put into context they can be. It’s not about making a name for yourself, or fame or whatever the media strongly implies it is. For me, life is about finding small things, little things like luck, friendship & love that make you happy. Find these things, search for them & give something back to people, & you’ll find things at least that tiny bit better.
So I say to you again, hold on. When you’re going through hell, when you think there is no hope, nothing, that’s when you most need to hold on for the brighter days, better days, happier days… or even just the days where you don’t feel like you don’t want to be here anymore. Whenever you’re down, whenever you feel like you can’t take anymore, whenever you’re stressed, whenever you just need someone to listen to you, remember that it’s ok, & that there are people out there who are more than happy to listen to you & to talk to you.
There’s a song I stumbled upon whilst going through old messages & it’s one that I absolutely love but haven’t heard in a while.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRD51qEJ8t4 (James – Sit Down)
Someone wrote of this song: “Tim Booth once said that “this is a song about absolute misery, feeling entirely alone, it’s about being awake at 4am and having no one to talk to” It’s meant to be comforting for people in this situation, saying that they’re not alone, and they’ll get through it.”
It is, for me, at least, a song which has a great meaning behind it, but a song that reminds me we don’t have to do it alone. There’s someone out there who will be willing to talk to you at 4am, even if they’re absolutely shattered, I know, because I’m one of them for my friends if they need me.
To end, I have to talk about my closest friend. This is the friend I’ve been asking questions about on twitter, about how to help her through a very very tough time. Without her, I wouldn’t be writing this, I would probably have given up on trying to support people through letting them know how important it is to talk about your feelings when you are ready. I might well have given up on any hope of getting rid of this returning darkness that refuses to let me escape it’s sometimes incessant mutterings, this pain, self loathing & self doubt. Someone who feels better for helping me, something which I only remembered when I went through some old messages tonight. My friend, she’s just that, a friend. ‘Just’ that, someone who is so central to my continue recovery. I love you, I hope you don’t get tired of hearing that, because I really do care about you so much, & appreciate everything you’ve done for me, just as you appreciate what I do for you.
Spanish proverb: ‘It’s always darkest before the dawn.’ Hold on, it gets better. I promise.
I actually wrote this on my personal blog, which I oughta try and resurrect, but it is a good piece that I wrote and it needs to be shared.
So, I feel rough and raw but I am 19 and in theory, in the prime of my life.
This isn’t really going to be about me, per-se but about “it” and not suffering alone because it’s ok to talk, and how do I know that for sure tonight (this was in february) when so many times I question it? I know that because there’s a girl (young woman) on twitter* who has set up an account to let adolescents/teenagers realise that it is ok to talk about depression and just feelings in general.
Why is it ok? It’s more than ok, it’s good to talk about how you feel. We have this thing as humans that stops us from opening up to people for fear of their reactions, but if they react negatively then it’s not our loss, it just means they don’t understand properly and therefore cannot be sympathetic in any way. We must take from this, and learn things. What must we learn? Well, we don’t have to learn anything, but it’d be great if we could see that it’s not the fact that we’re talking about it that is the problem, but the fact that some people just aren’t prepared to listen or to understand.
I talk as though it is an inevitability, which it really is not. I speak about it on here, and show it to my friends. Recently, I came back from Wales following an incredible experience. I watched my team, Crystal Palace in a cup semi-final, and despite losing (on penalties) I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A friend from a site I joined to help me with my feelings and self harm, kindly let me stay the night at hers, and I enjoyed her company greatly, however I was struck hard by a wave of overwhelming sadness and general emotion on my way home. My body and mind could not cope, and all that was left was to search out for someone to understand. In a desperate attempt for someone to come and hug me and just make me feel better, I tweeted “Really worried about my mood, like seriously, if you love me let me know”. A couple of people came back to me, including one from someone who I really care about saying “love you @MattWoosie, stay strong”** and then a couple more inquisitive but supportive ones. I responded truthfully, and as the conversation developed more people became involved and wished me the best etc.
What does that anecdote tell you? Well, hopefully it tells you that not all your experiences are going to be negative, in fact, most will probably be at least neutral if not positive. You have nothing to lose by sharing your feelings because there is ALWAYS someone out there for you, even if you don’t see it or realise.
Talking about my feelings made me better to put it simply. I sought out counselling because I opened up to someone who all I had in common with was the support of a football club. Gradually I began to realise how much I could gain from being open and talking, and I went to see a professional. I never gave up and although I’m not bursting with happiness, i’m stable and recovering.
I leave you with these lyrics that a friend liked and shared with me. The song’s a bit rubbish but the meaning behind the lyrics is one which we should all look at.
It will take courage, my love, to walk through this life; to cut paths through the bastards who’ll strain to devise nefarious methods to strip you of your hope. It takes courage to not let go. And then as your family fractures and your friends disappear, or, out of self-preservation, chain you to their fears…as their fictions and addictions drain the last of your will, it takes courage to love them still. It will take courage, my love, to refuse to heed the cramped imaginations of those who would lead. And though you can barely see past their consuming fires, it’s your courage that is required. To wrap your fists around what you’ve found to ward off their lies, to manoeuvre past hearses and to curse at the night. To pick up a tape off the floor of the van. To sing with it as loud as you can. Oh dearest, I know, you can’t see a light. But dearest, don’t you know, you have one inside. And now obstacles tower without and within; disease angles closer, your words lost within. But as its muscular wings rip the skin from your bones, oh, my love, you are not alone. Because it takes courage, my love, to assess what you are; to see what surrounds you and to be humbled and small…and to still find the strength to fight for these slivers of truth. So I take courage, my love, from you. I take courage, my love, from you.
It does take courage, it takes great courage to talk about ourselves and our feelings. Everytime someone talks about their feelings to me, it makes me feel a little better inside because I can use what I have learned through talking to help them. Now you don’t have to do that, but I want you to realise that if you talk to me (us) or someone else about your feelings then it is a good thing. It’s ok if you feel unable to at times, or don’t want to, but if you do then it’s great and will be beneficial for you and for me.
It takes courage, my love… so i take courage, my love, from you. I take courage, my love, from you.
The thing is, talking about mental health can lead you into a friendship. A friendship that doesn’t have to consist of “I feel shit” or similar phrases, but a friendship with mutual support, that branches out into a friendship whereby you feel confident to chat about less intense, everyday things, that is when it turns into a really great friendship, because you have that level of understanding, you know each others’ barriers and you know when to probe and press, and when to sit back and give some space. You learn a lot through talking about things.
*You can follow her @itsokcampaign she was the inspiration behind my decision to create this account with my wonderful friend, Steph and we are both thriving on it, so thank you May, thank you very much 🙂
**Yes, that is my personal twitter, you can send me a follow request if you so wish and you’ll probably get accepted.