Two years ago, on a drizzly Wednesday morning, I boarded a train. I had planned on making this a journey of self discovery. The events preceding this journey had been largely shaped out of my depressive illness, and I had done things and said things that I can now look back on and realise were, in a large part, due to my state of mind.
But I also discovered a lot of inner strength that I had not realised was in me before. Someone I’d considered a friend had said some really hurtful things that led me to evaluate that whole relationship, while other people had returned into my life that I’d previously parted with, through differing life experiences. I was very aware of several monumental changes happening at that time, and I hoped my trip would be a good time for me to reach a place of inner calm and acceptance.
What actually happened is I got very drunk, very stoned, and was back in my bed at home when I woke the next morning. The events of the day moved from clear to hazy to I simply cannot remember, and it was only the next morning when I got out of bed and collapsed we discovered I’d broken my ankle.
My weekend of discovery at Glastonbury didn’t happen, and I actually moved into a deeper state of depression at that time. I was unable to do simple tasks such as school runs and shop trips. I was pretty much sofa bound for several weeks. I discovered the people who thought enough of me to come round and spend time with me, and those that now I was out of action thought I was not really of benefit. I got bitter. I got angry. I was hurt. I felt like all the times I’d put myself out for others amounted to nothing as I spent hours and hours alone and lonely.
2 years have passed, and I can see that actually I was offered a far more meaningful experience and “journey” than a drunken weekend in a mud swamped field could ever have offered.
I lost several friends at that time, but regained a few, and those are golden. I may not always agree with them, I may get bloody frustrated at times, but my lonely time then and my movement in and out of depression helped me to see that we really are all going through our own issues, and no one else is really ever going to understand them. In my moments of clarity and when the depression is lifted, I can empathise and understand those cries for help from those around us. But when the depression is there and I’m seeing through a fog I won’t see the whole picture. But if I can remember this, when I am in those pits of depression, if I can cling on to the belief that people aren’t really all against me, then I won’t take those steps that alienate me and lose good friends. And good friends are the ones who treat you with respect and acceptance. The ones who do not judge you on what you wear or weigh, how you dress or talk. The ones who have faith in you that you would not betray them. I lost one friend, who accused and suspected me of sharing their secrets and our discussions with everyone in the city. The irony is, through what I have seen and heard, they accused the wrong person, but they also spoke about me and talked me down to a good number of people. So another lesson is to realise the hypocrites and avoid them!
In these last 2 years I have witnessed again and again how blessed I am to have my husband and kids in my life. Why would I need to go off and discover myself when the man of my dreams tolerates all my hocus pocus and hippy dippy antics? When my mood drops and I can’t see the sunshine, they’re there to support and bring normality in to my life.
To mark this two year journey, and two put a bit of humour and irony into what was a horrid break and a nice metal plate in my ankle, I had an anchor tattooed onto my scar. The anchor is a symbol of stability. Am I stable? Well, maybe a little bit more than I was! Ask me again in two years.