I have not been writing, I apologise. I’m currently in hospital. There is a lot to say, but I’m not able just yet. I’m increasing my medication, starting yesterday. Migraines, naseau, dizziness, blurred vision, tremors, muscle spasms, hot and cold sweats, (more) sleep disturbances. I’m exhausted already, and this is just the beginning.
I will write more when I can.
I hate writing this. I’m not good at all at facing up to myself when I’m not okay. My psychologist’s secretary called me three times yesterday, trying to reschedule appointments around so that I could see her – all of which I declined. “I’ll be at university all day tomorrow, sorry”. I have no classes on Thursdays. The day was spent lying in bed, trying to will myself to get up and brush my teeth. It hasn’t yet happened.
Death is everywhere, my head keeps spinning. My eyes stare through whatever I should be focusing on. I’m losing time again in ways I thought I’d surpassed. I should go to my lectures. I should find a doctor. I should make an appointment, and attend. All these things feel more than impossible. I should get back on medication – but even if I do, the next (at least) three months won’t show any effect. Three months is a long time when I’m feeling like this. Completely empty, punctuated by desperate moments of the sensation that I need to rip myself out of my body.
The fog has settled. I try to be all about empowerment and hopefulness, but the words are blurring on my laptop screen. Piece by piece the world, my body and mind move further out of my grasp. Right now, I just want to disappear.
So, tomorrow is the big day. 24 hours from now I will be touching down in Bangkok to spend the night at the airport before flying on to Ho Chi Minh City at ridiculous-o’clock on Wednesday morning. I’m excited and nervous and terrified and EXCITED. This is big. It’s one of the things I’ve constantly been told that I’ll never be able to do – that I’ll always be too sick to travel, to be alone, to be independent. But I’m going to do it anyway. And it’s going to be amazing.
I’ve got a travel blog to keep friends and family back home up to date with where I’m at and what’s going on, which you can read here. Bring on the next twelve weeks!
I feel as though I am in a very strange place. In five days I will be leaving to travel for three months. Nine months ago, I booked these plane tickets with the intention of disappearing into some unknown hostel somewhere in Europe and killing myself. But so much has happened since then. I’m no longer planning on following through with that – which I’m infinitely grateful for.
This year has been strange – there has been so much death, pain, relapse and darkness. Yet at the same time I feel as though I have grown so much. For the first time to this date, the darkness and light have begun to even one another out – and it’s with this strange realisation that I’ve come to recognise that it’s not just me: the whole world exists in dichotomy. No dark without light. Two opposites, constantly vying with each other to take hold.
Tomorrow marks one year since I was last discharged from hospital (other than emergency, which I’m not counting) – the longest break between admissions since I was fourteen. ‘Between admissions’ isn’t entirely adequate there, because I have no intention of ever being shut in one of those rooms again in my lifetime. A year out of hospital isn’t much of an achievement in the eyes of many people, but for me it’s pretty huge. It’s about independence, manageability and freedom. But somehow I still feel stuck.
I’m hoping that as I travel, somehow layers will strip away. That the scales which are tentatively see-sawing back and forth will find their balance. I’m not sure that I’m ready to get to the depths of what is within me – but I want enough simplicity that I feel more in touch with my values, needs and capacities. The last month has been riddled with re-emerging anxieties: around people, places, food, sleep. Afraid to sleep, but afraid to leave my bedroom. Can’t eat, showering upwards of fifteen times a day, bleeding hands from being washed too often. It feels something like being sixteen again. Nightmares – sleeping and waking, overwhelming everything I attempt to do. Lists upon lists: I get nervous, so I write a list of things that make me happy, a list of things that make me sad, a list of things I want to do, a list of music that calms me, a list of places to go, a list of people I love – and still I feel nervous.
I realise there are textbook reasons for this happening now. I’m about to take a huge step in travelling the world solo. I’m constantly worrying about what I want to do with my life and what I need to do to get there – and freaking out that I can’t just make everything okay, right now. I’m stressed about friends and their circumstances, and that while travelling I won’t be a text or a short walk away. And the single most terrifying thing I’m thinking about at the moment is that I’ve tentatively decided that when I return from overseas I will begin trauma processing. I’m not entirely sure what that process will involve, but I’m certain that it will stretch me to my absolute limits. I haven’t spoken the ‘r’ word aloud for over two years. I can’t write about it without losing time, and I continue to sleep in half hour intervals to avoid dreaming. It will be difficult, that’s for sure.
I feel in between so many extremes, unsure of which way the balance will (should?) tip. Maybe it’s incredibly naive of me, but I’m hoping that I can leave all this. That the moment I step onto that first plane, all of this ‘stuff’ will remain behind. That I can balance holding on, and letting go.
Crazy days. Things are not great. A week from tomorrow I go overseas, which will be interesting.