Saturday, 8 November 2014

{Dear Diary} That Happiness Thing?

(*Note: I wrote this 10 days ago and wasn't sure if I should post it. But putting my feelings into words helps so much and since writing this I have felt better. So if any friends read this, please don't panic, you've probably helped me already.) 

I'm in a bit of a rut. Well, actually, from down here it looks more like the grand canyon than a rut, but that's probably melodramatic. Whatever it is, I want out. But each time I think I'm at the bottom, when surely the only way is up, a little bit more of the ground beneath me crumbles away and I'm knocked flat on my back again.

2014, if I'm being completely honest, has not gone to plan. It started badly, then got considerably better for a short time, but has since spiralled into one hot mess. You wouldn't usually expect to see a reflective post so prematurely but I am so over 2014 and I can't wait for it to be forgotten.

My year began with a big break up that I recovered from swiftly enough. I was determined that 2014 would my year. Then a man walked into my life and caused me more damage than I'm prepared to admit to myself. I cut him out of my life in August and felt the loss like a missing limb. I hadn't expected the blow and I was left reeling. I thought I was better than those girls who cry over a boy. It wasn't even as if he was the love of my life, our relationship was relatively short, and yet he had gained such a hold over me. It's really shit that I still think of him every day. At first it was because I missed him, despite the bullshit, and now it's in anger and shock that I allowed him to hurt me.

I've always believed that one area of your life, be it work, family, love, money or friends, will always be shaky. If your love life is perfect your family decides to become even more dysfunctional, or if work sucks at least everything else is making up for it.

Family is always tricky - mine has more issues than Vogue, Vanity Fair and Time magazine put together. My father at last, thankfully, seems to have found some peace and is studying for the PHD and recognition he has always craved and, to be fair, deserved. Our relationship is rocky but it works because he has seen me at my worst and he did not run away. Yes, he played a part in causing me to reach that dark place, but he did not give me up to it. I can be weak before him and know that the burden will not be too much for him to bear.

My mother and I do not get on. I'm not talking about the usual arguments and bickering; from the age of 16 to 22 I did not see nor speak to my mother out of self-preservation, because she had hurt me too badly. She and my father had broken me between them, to the point where dark, scary thoughts forced me to seek counselling and pills. But where my father stood by me she ran away. Just over a year ago I built a bridge and offered forgiveness. Except I can't forgive her yet. She has not changed enough. Now our relationship is friendly and formal at best; she reaches out to me, desperate for approval and acceptance, but I find myself repulsed by the weak, pathetic woman who hurt all her children and still manages to make us bear the guilt. The worst thing is knowing that she cannot help it - like my father she is a product of her own demons, the abuse she suffered as a child. That in itself terrifies my brothers and I - will we, in turn, continue this cycle of hurt when we are parents? We can only laugh about Mum and Dad's "quirks" and promise each other that no, we will not be like them. Thank god we have each other.

A friend and I were discussing growing up; we agreed that the moment you truly leave childhood behind is when you realise your parents are not the superheroes they've appeared to be. For some this comes earlier than it should, for others it comes later, or too late.  

Recently my grandfather's health has deteriorated and my mother is clinging to him like a frightened little girl. It's painful when you ask your grandfather how he is and his response, so matter-of-fact, is simple disappointment that he woke up that morning. Seeing an old, gentle man cry because the woman he married at 19 has left him and his body is clinging stubbornly to this world, at the insistence of his children and grandchildren. It's hard for me to witness, let alone my mother.

All of this I think I could handle if another area of my life was going well. The one thing I've always had a very tight grip on is my career - it's the most important thing in my life and I've nurtured it as well as I can. But circumstances out of my control have left my job in jeopardy. I could be out of work any day now and the promotion I was promised in January now looks more like redundancy. And even though I know there was nothing I could do, I am still blaming myself, as I lie here in limbo.

What's new and scarier than all of that is that I don't want to keep my job. Worse, for the first time in my life, I don't know what I want to do. Add to these internal struggles the usual despair over money, a looming court case and the day-to-day fury at my housemate for being insufferable in every way, it's no wonder I've begun to lose my grip on life.

Despite everything that's going wrong, I have until recently kept a brave face. Or, at least, I thought I had. Apparently my poker face isn't too convincing; friends, and even a guy I hardly know, who ask, just a little too intently, "Are you ok?" or comments like "You don't seem like yourself" make me suspect that maybe I'm not. But I trusted in myself to get through it. Just keep swimming, right?

Except I have barely slept in 3 weeks now. The stress I've been keeping a tight lid on is manifesting itself through insomnia, nightmares and even some sleepwalking. I wake up tired but determined to face the day; by the evening my hands are shaking and my eyes full of tears. Food has become a minefield of guilt and dissatisfaction, of bingeing and starving. I spend my evenings at the gym, to prove to myself I'm at least good enough for that, even without him, and in the hope of exhausting myself enough to sleep through the night.

I want to leave London and start afresh somewhere I can think straight. But that feels like running away - what my mother does, what I promised myself I would never do. I have to find a way to fix the life I've made here, to make it work somehow, but I don't have anything to fix it with. I know there are many positives left in my life (my friends, London, Taylor Swift... ) and many holes deeper, darker and deadlier than mine, but I can't see out. And I'm so, so tired.

I have to believe something will go right soon because there's no safety-net waiting. No dependable family, no boyfriend, no savings. If this pit gets any deeper I will just keep falling. Please (please, please, please), can something good happen next?